Public transport disputes: Do smartphones flame disputes?

Public transport disputes: Do smartphones flame disputes?

A dispute between a taxi driver and a pregnant lady uploaded on Facebook has led us to explore the issue of whether using smartphones as a recording device is the answer to such problems. Read more here!

use smartphones to record

Will using your smartphone to record conflicts in public make it worse?

Lately, it seems that the most popular weapons Singaporeans arm themselves with are… smartphones. Yes, you did not read that wrongly. It is not guns or knives, rather it is the innocuous looking smartphone that is the weapon of choice for Singaporeans when conflicts arise, particularly on public transport.

The question we would like to explore here is whether smartphones escalate conflicts or help to diffuse the tension? Should we or should we not use smartphones to record conflicts on public transport?

RELATED: Have you been secretly photographed on the MRT?

The latest conflict on public transport

The latest public transport conflict to have made its way into social media is a dispute which involves a taxi driver and a pregnant woman. The video has since accumulated more than a hundred Facebook shares and comments. Unlike other similar incidents, opinions seem to be divided on this incident.

The whole brouhaha reportedly broke out because the pregnant woman did not have small change for the taxi fare of S$10.26. The pregnant woman reported that the taxi driver scolded her for not having small change and even rudely threw coins at her. The taxi driver however claims that the pregnant woman was being difficult and even tried to stop other passengers from boarding his cab.

use smartphones to record

Both the taxi driver and pregnant lady whipped out their smartphones in this conflict.

The dispute seemed to escalate the minute both parties started to use smartphones to record the incident in true Singaporean style. The pregnant woman used her smartphone to capture the taxi driver’s face and his registration number and threatened to lodge a complaint and call the police. The cab driver too took photos of the lady and also threatened to make a police report.

While it is unclear which party was at fault, one thing we can all learn from this is that, using smartphones to record a conflict is more likely to hinder than help the situation.

RELATED: Horrible manners on Singapore MRT reserved seats

Find out when you should and shouldn’t use smartphones to record a conflict on the next page!

use smartphones to record

Recording public disputes with smartphones escalates the situation.

Why you shouldn’t use smartphones to record public transport disputes

The reason is simple. People tend to get angrier when you whip out your phone to record them. Aggravating the other party is certainly not a good idea, particularly over trivial matters. When you think about it, most of the public transport disputes that have grabbed headlines recently are fundamentally minor. And I find it surprising that no one has actually physically attacked the other person for recording them in typical Hollywood fashion.

The main motivation seems to be that the recorder wants to use social media as a weapon. However, as seen in the video uploaded by the pregnant lady, this can also backfire, in fact in this case, many people are blaming her instead. Social media is a complex and brutal arena and it is never clear who netizens will choose to side with. Unless you want to attract unwanted media attention and a possible online backlash, it is best to keep those smartphones inside your pockets.

When you should use smartphones to record conflicts

Of course there are exceptions. Smartphones can be used as tools to capture important evidence for serious disputes. A very good example would be the famous Alex Ong case. 1n 2012, the then 25-year old, pushed an elderly woman off the bus . The video helped to bring Alex Ong to justice for his outrageous actions.

However, unless things look like they are about to turn physical, smartphones are probably not the wisest weapon to use.

RELATED: Smartphones – More harmful than helpful?

Watch the video uploaded by the pregnant woman here and take our poll below to share your views!


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Written by

Sean Foo

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