Sunday, May 22, 2011

Doors are closing!!

It was trivial but it reveals a lot of our mentality.

On the mrt train on a busy weekend.

When the warning bell came on, passengers inside the mrt car were still alighting in an orderly manner, boarding passengers were waiting cooperatively on the platform. Then the voice of the driver came blasting: Doors are closing! Doors are closing!

At that point, not all the passengers had even got off yet, not to mention the waiting crowd.

And the doors shut soon after the driver issued the warning. So passengers outside the car have to scurry into the car frantically because the doors were shutting right on them!

It happened at all the busy stations and the driver refused to wait for the influx and outflow of passengers to take place smoothly and he would sound his impatience through the speakers: Doors are closing! Doors are closing!

So we have comfortable and modern-looking MRT where doors are allowed to open only for a few but precious seconds before the warning bell of closing doors are sounded irregardless of the number of passengers, stations and situations, the exchange of passengers has to follow the “human rules”.

Even on a Saturday afternoon? No surprise at all to see a lot of passengers alighting and boarding. Still all that movement is expected to take place in a speed of lightning. Too bad for mothers with prams, senior citizens or people who simply need extra time to board and alight. You deserve what you get for not cooperating with the “rules”.

We have a well-trained MRT system obeying strictly the length of time it enters and leaves the station in order to achieve designated efficiency. Apparently, that seems to be the only function that it serves. Even if only a handful of passengers managed to get off during that few seconds of grace. Matters even less for the safety and comfort of passengers. You will only have yourself to blame if you are slow!

The function of the MRT perhaps is not to transport commuters? Therefore, explaining the situations where the software, ie. the people who operate it, refuse to maximize the use of the hardware to suit situations and adapt it to the needs of users?

Not that I am irate with this particular driver. It is his mentality and that such is not uncommon which is unsettling. Often, we “deified” our hardware. Using their glittering existence to symbolize the pace of our development and then puts a full stop to the whole thing. NEVER challenging the practicality of the hardware or investigating the needs of users. To the extreme, users are then expected to adapt to the hardware rather than having hardware build for them.

This trivia matters because we keep seeing such mentality higher up in the hierarchy where the impact of such mentality hits hard on the ground, throughout our country where its people will be the last thing that ever come into the minds of policy-makers.