Bring kampung spirit to lift rides

Good lift etiquette can help to brighten our mornings.
Good lift etiquette can help to brighten our mornings.PHOTO: ST FILE

As most people in Singapore live in high-rise public or private apartments, and almost all of these buildings have lifts, it is safe to assume that the vast majority of Singapore residents take a lift ride at least once a day.

However, there seems to be a lack of basic courtesy when it comes to taking the lift with someone else.

I find that there are three types of people who contribute to this problem - namely entitled, ignorant and zombie lift companions.

Entitled lift companions expect you to be the lift attendant for them. They will avoid standing next to the lift buttons, but expect you to hold the lift door open and press the button to their level on their behalf.

Do not be surprised if you get a stare as a reward for not keeping the lift door open for them. Heaven forbid if the lift door closes in on them just as they walk through, because you will be blamed for putting their lives at risk by failing to keep the door open.

Ignorant lift companions are usually armed with a mobile phone. Their eyes, ears and hands will permanently be glued to their devices while they are taking the lift with you. These people are oblivious to your presence and will avoid touching the lift buttons at all cost, except to get to their level.

Zombie lift companions bear an uncanny resemblance to the grim reaper. They are usually silent, expressionless and will remain that way unless you offend them.

They enter the lift without a word, turn around, cross their arms and stare at the vastness of space in the lift, and exit the lift in the same manner. Do not expect any thanks or acknowledgement even if you hold the lift door open for them.

I hope that people will begin to recognise and refrain from such anti-social behaviour in lifts.

We should bring a little bit of the kampung spirit into our neighbourhood lifts. Good lift etiquette can help to brighten our mornings when we leave our homes, and make us feel welcome when we return home after a hard day's work.

Daniel Oon Ban Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2019, with the headline 'Bring kampung spirit to lift rides'. Print Edition | Subscribe