First, there was the mother who threw a fit because she thought her child’s primary school teacher had texted her rudely.
Then, it was the driver whose car got kicked by another driver, following an argument between the two over the nuances of proper road etiquette.
The accounts of both incidents were subsequently uploaded on social media – in a series of screenshots and a dashcam video respectively – by the supposed victims, presumably as a way to embarrass the individuals who they felt had wronged them.
And like clockwork, as the two social media posts garnered traction online, Singapore netizens came out in force to do what they do best: blame the government and pass judgement on the transgressors in both incidents.
Except, this time, netizens largely reserved their criticisms for the “victims” instead.
But, in order to understand why there was scant pity for the “victims”, let us take a closer look at the two incidents.
Rude awakening for self-entitled mother
The case of the allegedly rude teacher began when a mother texted her son’s school teacher to ask what her son needed to bring for show-and-tell.
The teacher replied that she had posted a message on Class Dojo (an application for teachers to post announcements to students and parents) which said that “pupils can bring the item they want to show or a photograph”.
While the reply may seem innocuous to you and me, it seemed to trigger the mother, who deemed it “rude” and “irrelevant”.
Perhaps it was how business-like the teacher’s reply was – there were no honorifics, no exclamation marks, no smiley emojis. In this day and age, that is probably the equivalent of telling someone you would rather stay in Yishun than be neighbours with them on Sentosa Cove.
The mother then went on a rant, before randomly digressing into the subject of time, philosophically musing about how little of it there is for both teachers and parents.
To the teacher’s credit, she maintained a professional tone in her subsequent replies to the mother as she tried to explain what she meant in her earlier message.
That, however, was not enough to appease the mother, who went on to reiterate, like a broken record, how rude she thought the teacher had been.
The mother went on to express her desire to meet the teacher and the head-of-department personally, before taking screenshots of the entire conversation and posting it on her Instagram account.
Her caption for the screenshots? Well, we can’t show you what it is as it contained vulgarities disparaging both the school and the teacher, ironically making THAT the rudest part of the whole episode.
Netizens on the forum Hardwarezone, where the mother’s Instagram post was subsequently uploaded onto, naturally disagreed with the mother, as they mercilessly slammed her for being overly-sensitive, for having a self-entitled attitude, and for an overall lack of basic manners.
The mother tried defending her actions by providing more context to the situation – she claims her son could not know what to bring for show-and-tell without a script, which she said was with the teacher – but then promptly went on to undo any possible goodwill she may have generated by launching personal attacks on several of those who had the audacity to comment on the incident.
How very rude indeed.
The furious and the furious
On the surface, the next incident seems rather straightforward – Driver A gets angry with Driver B, jumps out of his car, channels his inner Vin Diesel and flying kicks Driver B’s car. Surely, the fault must lie with Driver A, right?
Well, yes. We at The Pride do not condone violence of any form, and what Driver A did was inexcusable, even if he might have a good reason for being angry.
And make no mistake about it, there was a valid reason for Driver A’s anger.
The trouble began when Driver A was unable to enter the Sing See Soon Nursery and Florist at Punggol East Road due to a fault with the IU reader at the gantry.
With Driver B – who was with a female passenger and his 6-month-old son – waiting in the car behind him, Driver A decided to reverse out so as not to hold up traffic.
The only problem? There wasn’t enough space for him to reverse completely, as Driver B was too close to him. Despite being aware of Driver A’s need for space – courtesy of some hand signals – Driver B steadfastly refused to back up his car far enough for Driver A.
Driver B, who uploaded the dashcam video of the entire incident online, reasoned in his post that he was afraid of reversing too far out onto the main road as any oncoming lorry might barrel into them from behind, completely ignoring the fact that a) he could always check that traffic is clear before reversing, and b) lorry drivers generally have functioning eyes.
Thoroughly frustrated by the lack of progress, Driver A got out of his car to confront Driver B, resulting in an angry back-and-forth between the two which featured colourful language and unsavoury hand signs.
With Driver B still refusing to reverse any further – his female passenger even specifically said “I don’t want to move leh…you wait for me, I wait for you lor” – Driver A had no choice but to try, yet again, to get himself out of the tight spot he found himself in.
Quite possibly pumped with adrenaline, Driver A finally managed to navigate his car onto the next lane leading to the main road. However, instead of driving off, he stopped his car, jumped out and flew in with a kick on Driver B’s vehicle – an act that, according to Driver B, greatly traumatised his son.
This time, it was Driver B and his female passenger who, having finally overcome their crippling fear of errant truck drivers, alighted to confront Driver A in his car as they tried, in vain, to prevent him from leaving.
Driver B went on to publicise the incident by posting the videos onto Roads.sg in an attempt to garner sympathy and support for himself while also shaming Driver A.
His decision to do so, however, backfired spectacularly, as netizens rightfully pointed out that all he needed to do in the situation was to reverse a bit more so that Driver A would have the space he needed.
It wasn’t hard to do so, and there was certainly no need to get antagonistic about the whole situation. Alternatively, he could have gone down to see if he could help Driver A with the gantry. With a little more kindness and patience from both parties, this ugly situation could have been avoided.
But, maybe, as the two incidents above show us, we are living in a world that is becoming more and more self-entitled.
The fact that both the mother and Driver B felt they could post their respective encounters online, without realising that they, too, could have been at fault, is perhaps symptomatic of how little we stop to reflect on our own actions.
The world does not revolve around any of us, so let’s stop behaving like it does. Before posting your grievances on social media, look at the situation from all angles.
More importantly, take a look at yourself in the mirror to see how you could have done better, been kinder, and been more than just a mediocre citizen.