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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pinoy Quirk 1: The Dash for the Turnstiles

The past week, I've been taking the MRT to go to meetings. I take this rail transit system to and from the area where my meetings were held because it saved me a lot of time.  Besides, it was convenient because the station is just a few steps from the building where I have my meetings.

The trips were usually humdrum.  The most exciting part usually was upon reaching the station where I usually disembarked.  At first I didn't notice it because my concentration has been on getting to the meeting on time. But one afternoon when my mind was completely relaxed, my attention was caught by the sudden movement in the cabin I was in when it was announced that the train was approaching the last station.  The men in the cabin started for the door, and when we reached the station and the doors opened, all hell broke loose. The men ran as fast as they could towards the turnstiles where  queues have began to form.

It wasn't until the third day that I realized what the commotion was all about.  The passengers were running because they wanted to be first to pass through the turnstiles.  In fact, they were running so fast they could compete with Usman Bolt for 100 meters sprint record!

Actually this quirky behavior of wanting to be first in line does is not limited to MRT riders.  One could easily observe this in the roads.  Motorcycle riders in particular have this attitude that they should always be ahead of the pack. Just watch them weave through the traffic without any care, throwing all cautions to the wind just to be in front of everybody.

There's even a pamahiin or folk belief among Filipinos that when a child is baptized at the same time with other children, the parents should make sure that they bring their baby out of the church ahead of the other kids.  This would ensure that the child will grow and succeed better than the others.

Is this the reason for the strange behavior of my fellow passengers in the MRT?  I could only guess.  But I hope this desire could be put to better uses, like being ahead of the pack in doing good and making our country better.

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