by Marilyn Peh on

Up until a week ago, I had no idea who Deanie Ip was, but I’m now convinced that the 71-year-old Hong Kong actress has uncovered the key to stamping out bad behaviour on public transport.

A viral clip of Ip confronting inconsiderate commuters in Hong Kong as part of an etiquette campaign has recently been making its rounds on social media.

A lady having high tea on the train? Smartphone zombies oblivious to the needs of others? Yoga enthusiast using the grab poles to stretch her legs?

Like a stern motherly figure, Ip chides them in a dangerously calm manner that reminds me of my mother when she’s warning telling me that my messy room does not spark her any joy.

That piercing glare is the distinctive one employed by Angry Tiger Mums™, a harbinger of the trouble to come if you dare keep up your recalcitrant ways.

Compare that to Hush-Hush Hannah and her smiley, genial demeanor, and Tiger Mum, as demonstrated by Ip, emerges as the perfect candidate to achieve what years of commuting etiquette campaigns have failed to do – reduce the incidence of Candy Crush music-induced headaches.

Are you a long-suffering victim of bad habits onboard public transport in Singapore? Here’s how she may be able to come to your rescue.

Keep your germs to yourself

In countries like Japan and South Korea, you can’t walk more than 50 metres without passing someone wearing a surgical mask.

I don’t have the cultural insight into whether it’s borne of civic-mindedness, or a tactic to protect oneself from others’ lack of consideration. But it’s clear that if donning a surgical mask becomes more normalised in Singapore, there won’t be a mass migration to another train cabin every time we run into folks like this:

Image Source: Facebook / Lion City Feed

Given her obsession with cleanliness and stringent standards for personal hygiene, Tiger Mum is the savior we need the next time flu season comes around.

Emerging from clouds of disinfectant mist, she’ll brandish a pack of surgical masks as she says: “If you’re sick, just wear a mask lah. Very difficult, meh?”

Public Displays of Affection

Singaporeans don’t make enough babies. So, love is always a wonderful thing to celebrate and encourage.

I think it’s cute to see couples holding hands or sneaking a peck on their partner’s cheek, but what’s not so cute is a full-blown public show inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey.

All I wanted was to get from Pasir Ris to Jurong with my eyeballs and appetite intact, is that too much to ask?

It’s a question I posed to Tiger Mum, and she agreed that excessive PDA is indeed a threat to public health and safety. So, in the presence of couples getting overly frisky, she would holler from across the bus: “Government say do it in small spaces, you can’t follow instruction is it?”

In her opinion, when common sense doesn’t work, tough love is saying it to your face even if it’s in public. It’s too bad if you’re embarrassed as a result, but at least that lesson won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Volume control

While drifting off as you try to catch forty winks on your morning commute, you almost get a heart attack when the uncle next to you suddenly exclaims: “Hello, Ah Seng ah?”

Ah Seng, as you find out, is his good friend who works at a handphone shop, has two kids and a pet luo han fish, and loves watching Taiwanese serial dramas. A wonderful man by all accounts, but the truth is, you really, really couldn’t care less.

Whether it’s listening to music, playing mobile games on blast, or having loud conversations over the phone and in person, some people just don’t know when they’re grating on others’ nerves.

This is where Tiger Mum comes in. An excellent disciplinarian, her sensitive ears are also well-primed to pick up any noise that strays above the socially acceptable level.

And just as she’s able to hush misbehaving children with a single death stare, Tiger Mum will put her formidable gaze to good use, while declaring in her passive-aggressive best: “You scared the whole world cannot hear you is it?”

At this point, the troublesome commuter will really wish that they cannot hear her.

Manspreading

They may be reading the papers, working hard on their phones, or simply spacing out, but the defining trait of a manspreader is their love for sitting down with their legs spread wide open, such that they cover more than one seat.

While I’m unable to speak from personal experience, I’m informed by some male friends that this posture can be more comfortable for them, as opposed to sitting with their legs pressed together or crossed.

Personal comfort is great, but spread too far, too wide, and a manspreader’s legs inevitably come into contact with the legs of those seated beside them.

In addition to being rude for encroaching into someone else’s personal space, manspreading also makes for a rather vulgar and unsightly view – a no-no for Tiger Mum, who’s a stickler for good posture and even better manners.

So to those who can’t keep their legs together, she’ll make you feel as small as a worm with these scathing questions: “Where’s your backbone? Cannot sit properly is it?”

And if that doesn’t immediately jolt you into the right position, that look of disgust on her face surely will.

Of course, tiger mums are not one and the same, and our mascot must be able to strike fear in people’s hearts while still being persuasive enough to transform them into more considerate commuters.

I volunteer my mother.