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I Hate Filipino Culture -Society/Politics

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Gentleman's Guide to the MRT/LRT

I know many of you have wondered at some point in your life “What is the unwritten code by which gentlemen regulate their conduct in the MRT and LRT” After reading some entries in some blogs which were apparently written by 12 year old kids who haven’t got the slightest clue about gentlemanly conduct, I thought it’s about time to hear things from a gentleman’s point of view

For the uninitiated, there are currently 3 railway transits in metro manila. MRT runs along edsa and is usually the most packed. LRT2 is the most recent, the most spacious and most aesthetically pleasing (in terms of the actual infrastructure and the people who patronize it) LRT would be the least aesthetically pleasing (in the same sense as above) 

Without further ado I shall now present to you the bushido of gentlemen riding the MRT
On conspicuous odorsThe ambience in the MRT can be quite odiferous especially in the latter part of the day. You may find yourself savoring the very rich scent of the very fine gentleman standing a few inches from you. Gentlemanly protocol forbids you to make rude gestures or noises alerting him of the scent that emanates from his hairier regions. I believe the most polite and prudent action would be to give him a complement. Something like “Excuse me sir! I like that fragrance you’re wearing. Is that vinegar-scent?” I will illustrate the effectiveness of this approach with the picture below
As exemplified by the image above. This approach will always lead to a very cordial exchange of pleasantries
On giving seats
Social protocol demands that everyone should give seats to the elderly and the physically disabled and that men should give their seats to women in addition to the aforementioned groups of people.

I consider myself a strict follower of these protocols. I almost always give my seat to the elderly or any aesthetically gifted member of the female sex …and the not so aesthetically gifted sometimes.  But there are times when the desire to follow protocol is outweighed by the desire to keep your seat. The most common approach to this dilemma is to feign sleeping.

Sometimes though, there can be protests and they can be quite verbal and more than sufficiently audible. There was a time once when I was quite exhausted and didn’t feel like giving my seat to the very well built and compact woman standing in front of me right away (I would’ve given her the seat in a few mins) She started very eloquently spouting words that seemed conspicuously targeted towards me like: “I do that too. Sometimes I also PRETEND that I’m asleep” If such a case should occur, you should hold on to your seat even more.
  • Reason #1: if you gave her your seat, that would highlight the fact that you were never asleep in the first place since you heard her.
  • Reason #2: Impolite women do not deserve a gentleman’s seat anyway. Seats should be given freely not demanded. 
The most prudent course of action would be to pretend you’re asleep until you’re near your destination. At which point, you should act like you were suddenly awoken by your phone vibrating. Immediately scan the surrounding area for a female who is more deserving of the seat. -offer her the seat. Stand up, lightly brush your shoulder against that of the less than courteous woman and Proceed to depart from the train.

On segragationMany gentlemen scoff at the new segregation scheme that they’ve recently implemented at the MRT and LRT1. Some of them are mildly irritated by the fact that the first cars where the ladies are situated are quite vacuous while gentlemen are forced to less than comfortably cram themselves in the following cars
The exclusive-for-girls first car
A rough estimate of the conditions in the following cars
Some of the more hormonally active of us gents can be seen scratching their heads and looking at the people around them, confused. Almost unintelligibly muttering words like “Who am I supposed to grope now?”
Isolation from the opposite sex can bring about homosexual tendencies in some men

Unlike them however, I happen to enjoy this new setup. Sure the visuals aren’t nearly as appealing and the odors slightly less than pleasant but should an accident happen I’ll most certainly be glad that I’m not in the first car. I also don’t have to hopelessly compete with ladies for seats anymore. Since there are very few ladies, you are allowed to use methods that are a bit removed from the realm of elocution. The art of physical persuasion can be used to greater effect. A fellow gentleman may be slightly annoyed by this approach. If his protests start to bother you, you may start asking questions about his sexual preference or the size of his member. Should this still fail to settle the argument, your elbow could then be used as a more effective tool for argumentation than your mouth.

Should you ever find yourself in the tabloids for your very gentlemanly conduct, don’t forget to mention that you got your manners from me.


  1. Ladies only have 3/4's of a car. The 1/4 is for the elderly and disabled. Men usually get 3. I don't get why you say women have more space in LRT1. :P