Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 27 2007

To the largish woman in black

To the largish woman in black who made an attempt to force her way onto the subway a couple of days ago:

I feel I should inform you that in general society, letting people get off before you get on is generally preferred. That way, you see, there is more room for the people getting on. I know the image of potentially empty seats, rightfully yours of course, is rather tantalizing, but try to resist the urge for just a little while. The train isn’t going to leave right away, so a few seconds more won’t have a great impact on your busy schedule.

As to your ending up on your prodigious ass, I’m afraid that, despite your protests to the contrary, that brutal bitch we call physics was the main reason for your less-than-graceful downfall. That, and psychology, for when you assume that everyone will immediately get out of your way and allow you to barge onto the train before anyone can get off, you might neglect to consider that someone might not so readily acquiesce to your desires. Particularly if that someone is (a) larger than your not-inconsiderable personage, (b) listening to music on headphones and (c) doesn’t happen to be facing you directly as you approach from the side to avoid that pesky line of people who were so naive as to think they could get on before you (I know: the nerve).

In short, that person in this case happened to be me. I am no stranger to such instances, and while the rather spectacular nature of your rebound did earn a backward glance on my part, I felt the performance just a bit too operatic for my tastes, and not quite worthy of a tasteful clapping as one would find on, say, a golf course after someone quotes Woody Allen.

I have no doubt, however, that others will be on the receiving end of your attempts to board other trains in the future. Perhaps they will be so lacking in mass and structure that you will feel confident in your ability to make them cower in the vastness of your presence, but should you fall victim to the slightest doubt, and happen to recall that ache in your backside from our chance encounter, you might do worse than to reconsider, and gracefully withdraw. No one will think the worse of you if you appear to be joining the common folk in their quaint fashions, no matter how mightily they confuse your no-doubt expansive worldview. I am sure that one glance at the name-brand markings on your various accouterments will assure them of your lofty status.

posted by Poagao at 2:08 pm  


  1. Haha – so basically you knocked a fat lady on her ass because she was bum rushing the train, nice.

    Comment by Ian A. — March 27, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

  2. Yeah, well, that’s one way to put it, but I happened to be in a Victorian mood, thus the verbosity.

    Comment by TC — March 27, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

  3. I’m always curious about people who behave like that whether they are ‘wah shin ren’or ‘native Taiwanese’…or a mainland Chinese tourist(illegal immigrant). I’ve seen mainland Chinese tourists do that(pushing their way in before letting people get out) in the subway in Taipei. Once while walking thru the subway shopping mall some woman pushed me from behind so I asked her loudly in ‘Taiwanese’ if she was a ‘wah shin ren’…I figure if she wasn’t(wah shin ren) it would shame her but it had no effect.


    Comment by Anonymous — March 27, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

  4. What a bizarre thing to say. Why on earth would it shame her?

    Comment by TC — March 27, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

  5. Best post of the year, without a doubt. I’d pay a small fortune for the surveillance footage of that. 🙂

    Comment by Anonymous — March 28, 2007 @ 5:50 am

  6. I have a much shorter fuse than you, Poagao. I would have felt a wrath of might vengeance towards the woman, even if I might have restrained myself with almost impossible strength from the mighty weight of my anger.

    Taiwan is not the only place this happens. But it is very very very bad. Whether it is on MRT trains in Taipei or the TRA trains it is the same blasted mess. But it doesn’t stop there either. Everyone complains about selfishness in Taiwan (including complaints from many Taiwanese themselves), from the way people park their cars to you name it. Just tonight, for example, I encounter just one more example which brought an extreme bitter/sour expression to my face as it happened: I was crossing the street (even farther ahead than the cross-walk line-markings when a scooter with a woman and her kid (with the usual lack of helmet on it) rushed in front of me. Now why people do this, I don’t know. I always wait behind the lind, where you are supposed to, when I am on my scooter, but a majority of people seem to rush onto the crosswalk line. Now, I get annoyed at that. But this action by this stupid woman (who is amongst millions of stupid people who I hope will suffer lack of sleep and millions of mosqito bites from the deranged king of mosquitoes and his retinue!) has the nerve to look at me like I am a weird f–k-r for giving her nasty looks in reaction, like she has this heaven granted right to leap in front of me without even a moments regret or attempt to back up and go forward (although she was practically in front of traffic and I had to endanger my life to get across the street.

    This is one of millions of instances I experiences like this in Taiwan. Taiwan, I love you, but frankly, I also hate you with vengeance. Why don’t you bring back martial law for demented creeps like these? Just a moment of whimsy, really. But I am tempted to seriously consider it. No wonder so many people have a nostalgia for the freedom-anemic days of Chiang and his son. Not that I seriously consider that or mainland-Chinese rule of the beautiful-isle a good option.

    Just, you know… And nearly every bright Taiwanese person I’ve talked to says there is just a little bit too much freedom here. Like the spontaneous street celebrations with no licence obtained or warning given to the public for blocking a main artery for hours on end with crowds and fireworks displays. Just a little bit too much.

    I think its the attitudes that need to change. But training police to finally crack down on infrations that are just too unreasonable and stupid to leave alone like the first ones (not stopping before the cross-walk section) would be a good start!

    To get back to my mentioning how this MTR bum-rushing occurs not just in Taiwan… Where does it occur? In Montreal, where I come from! It is almost as bad there. Actually, it’s about the same. Monreal and Taiwan are both islands…does that have something to do with it? Probably not… but they are both places with serious attitudes! In Taiwan, people usually smile when they push and shove you around. Montrealers usually don’t do that.

    Another thing: Kiaohsiungers seem to be much more courteous than others in this respect. I don’t know why that is. But when I was there, people followed the traffic rules much more, let you on the train more easily, etc.

    Hong Kong, too, is very ordered. The incident you described almost never happens. And if it did you get the bus-uncle incident. And then we get entertainment…which is better for us all, I think!

    Comment by Thoth Harris — March 28, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

  7. Damn, Thoth, that’s practically a blog until itself.

    I don’t bump into this problem (get it? heh) often, so I am not as full of wrath as you seem to be at general society here. Just that one woman. And people who clip their nails in public. And some sccoters. But that’s it. Mostly. I figure there’s people like that everywhere; Taiwan certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on them.

    Comment by TC — March 28, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  8. Thanks for the laugh today. This entry is something we can all relate to and it echoes my sentiments exactly. I wish I’d seen it for myself.

    Comment by Carrie — March 28, 2007 @ 5:15 pm

  9. Glad you like it. Seems I touched a popular nerve.

    Comment by TC — March 28, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

  10. Thoth, I know where you’re coming from. Did you live in Japan before you came here by any chance? Still, as rude as some people are here, the commuters in Shanghai were just savage! Especially, the waidiren.

    Comment by Mark — April 1, 2007 @ 12:34 am

  11. No, Mark, I didn’t live in Japan before now. kaminoge lived in Japan. Perhaps you are thinking of him.

    I believe you about Mainland China. I’m sure Shanghai, or Beijing or Guangzho for that matter are truly bad for rudeness.

    As I said in my previous comment, Hong Kong is a wonderful exception. As cold as the people there may seem, they are courteous, and are helpful if you are in trouble and ask for help.

    Comment by Thoth Harris — April 2, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

  12. brought me back some memories from when i was about 9 years old (1977) and living in Mexico City with my ma. We were waiting to get on “el metro”. People were so used to the onrush of passengers trying to get on, that those on the train would just ram their way out with their eyes closed. Sometimes you could feel the force of the pushing (from the inside)even before the train came to a complete stop. Anyway, she got caught/wedged/trapped between two raging bulls and got herself all tangled up. I started screaming and kicking up a storm around her until security showed up. They helped her upand kindly escorted her to their office to take a statement.Then one of them made a pass at her.
    Point being, Taipei 2007 is a cakewalk in comparison. Thanks for the laugh!

    Comment by patrick — April 2, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  13. LOL. Every week I take the train to Tainan once or twice and I face these assholes — the train is vomiting up people, and some old woman tries to shove her way in, and is amazed when no one lets her. And it’s worse, because the train doors are so tiny.

    Thanks, man. I’ve hated line jumpers since I lived in Kenya, where lines looked more like mushrooms. For me the worst is when I was shopping and used to send my kids to get fruit weighed and stamped at Carrefour or RT Mart, and some asshole shoves my kid out of the way to get his fruit in first. I had to stop using my kids to run that errand, it was bad for my blood pressure.


    Comment by Michael Turton — April 3, 2007 @ 2:32 am

  14. People like this are one of the reasons I love being a big, fat bastard. These little shits try and force their way in, and all I do is stop right in front of them and stare. Scares the shit out of them. Although if I’m feeling nasty I’ll just drop the shoulder and go right on through. Screw ’em. It says right on the side of the MRT, in plain Chinese, “Xian xia che, hou shang che” or something to that effect. If they can’t read it, they get what’s coming to them. And line jumpers… I’ve taken to just stepping in front of them when they try cutting in front of me, letting a couple of people behind us go, then moving. Shits them no end, but you generally get a big ol’ smile from some of the other people in the line.

    One of the eternal mysteries of Taiwan – how can so many people be rude enough to try that crap, but virtually no-one’s “rude” enough to call them on it?

    Comment by Geof — April 3, 2007 @ 9:36 am

  15. Lately I’ve noticed more people standing up to them…maybe we’re having an effect?

    Comment by TC — April 3, 2007 @ 9:38 am

  16. All power to you people who stand up to them. But my girlfriend, who’s Taiwanese, always says to me when I’m remarking to her about something like this, often says things like, “It’s not your business,” or “You don’t know what you’re doing here. This is Taiwan…” meaning the other end of my encounter on my scooter, in the subway, in the lines, could be a gangster,” or simply “You think too much.”

    So, in all deference to, and apolgies to my girlfriend who is right in so many things, I have to wonder what a society will come to if we all let people bully us around?

    Comment by Thoth Harris — April 3, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  17. I suppose she’s right in a way; if she had been a tattooed gangster I could have gotten myself in about 10 kinds of trouble, and it wouldn’t be worth it in the end. Maybe you just have to judge each situation individually. This is probably why I’m still single; I couldn’t stand having someone always telling me what I could and couldn’t do.

    Comment by TC — April 3, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

  18. I thought I was crazy that I didn’t let those rude women to get on the train by shoving people. So I am not the only one! I don’t mind old people though, because the priority seats are always occupied by those who think they are beautiful or important.

    By the way, I am a Taiwanese who doesn’t speak good “Taiwanese”(more precisely, Min Nan Hua). Would this shame me?


    Comment by Anonymous — April 3, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

  19. I’m more respectful of really old people and handicapped people, of course.

    Comment by TC — April 3, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  20. tc, the women’s restrooms are even worse sometimes. I once had an older woman actually try to enter the stall I was leaving before I had made it all the way out. Being the fat foreigner I am, and her not so tiny herself, there was no room for both of us in that little doorway. I had to stare her down before she’d move to let me out.

    These days, when I’m preparing to get off the train and see folks wanting to get on bunched up right in front of the door rather than in the lines to the sides, I just barge right through the middle of them. Once I was dragging my little suitcase with me and clocked one teenager’s shins a good one. Huh, huo gai!

    I still think Taiwan folks are, on the whole, more polite than Hong Kongers and certainly not as “kia su” as the Singaporeans (but damned close, particulary in 7-11). And I’ll take living here over the US anyday.

    Comment by 500CBFan — April 11, 2007 @ 3:36 am

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