Attitude of society towards senior citizens

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arjun

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Attitude of society towards senior citizens

Post09 Sep 2008

Omshanti. I generally don't start a new topic because whatever I have to write is already covered in some thread or the other, but my experience in a bus yesterday has forced me to start a new topic after a long time, as I could not find any thread on this topic on this forum.

Like everyday, I was travelling home from my office by a city bus. Since all the seats were full I had to stand like many other passengers. Soon two elderly ladies (aged nearly 70 years) got into the bus and started searching for a seat. In our city the seats on the right side are occupied by men while some seats on the left side are reserved for ladies. One of the elderly ladies who was searching for a seat or something to hold on to stand comfortably was offered a seat by a kind hearted young lady. The elderly lady occupied the seat thanking the young lady. But the other elderly lady was not so lucky. She was searching for a seat on the side where men were sitting and standing. Finding all the seats occupied she tried to take the support of a seat to balance herself with her bag that she was carrying. I was standing two seats away from her. I could see that she was hardly able to stand.

I waited for a about a minute to see if anyone would offer her a seat. Nobody cared. So, I requested the young boy sitting next to her to vacate his seat for the elderly lady. The boy said he could not vacate the seat as he was not feeling well. I asked him to request the boy sitting next to him. I deliberately said it loudly so that the other boy and the slightly older men (in their 40s) sitting in the next seat could also hear me. But all the three were unmoved. They continued to sit with an insensitive heart ignoring the pains of the elderly lady. My co-passengers standing with me were seeing all this and I deliberately made general comments on the behaviour of the sitting passengers so that they would vacate their seat at least out of the fear of being insulted in front of everyone. But still they continued to sit like a stone.

When I was about to ask the elderly lady to hand over the bag to me, the lady herself requested the boy sitting next to her to lend some space so that she could sit with him. The heartless boy did not offer his seat to her even after that, but somehow the boy sitting next to him vacated his seat for the old lady. To my surprise, the boy who was giving excuses of his ill-health so far vacated his seat to get down from the bus after just five minutes. He could not vacate his seat for the old lady even for five minutes.

All this left me completely shattered and I am not yet able to forget the feeling of utter disgust at the attitude of the society towards the elders. I feel ashamed to be a part of the society that could be so insensitive. Those men were unable to think that they could face a similar situation in their old age. They could not think that their own parents could be in such a situation. They were unable to think what others would think of their behaviour.

I know everyone is not like them, but I find the number of such insensitive persons increasing by the day. Despite this forum being in existence for more than two years, not even a single thread dedicated to the plight of the elderly proves that we all are also insensitive to some extent. I feel that we are building our future through our present actions. Therefore, if we want our future to be dignified, we should change our present actions. Respecting and helping the elders is one such improvement that we can bring in our present to safeguard our future.

Thanks,
On Godly Service,
Arjun
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bansy

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Re: attitude of the society towards the senior citizens

Post09 Sep 2008

Unless you were disabled for some reason, the first thing I think you could have done, arjunbhai, was simply to vacate your own seat.

I recall a time when I was in the UK in the 80s, and a similar situation existed. I was at the other end of the bus, but a man next to me shouted out loud over the tops of the heads, "there's a seat over here, lady", and the lady made her way bustling through the passengers on the bus. When someone tried to take the seat, the man scolded that person loudly so everyone could hear, and put his leg across so no-one would attempt until the lady made her way. This situation I have seen often happens within the tube in London ... I know there used to be quite a lot of good manners in Europe in terms of giving seats to others, although I am not sure if that has changed in recent times (however I also notice Europeans often read broadsheet newspapers spreadout on packed trains ...).

There was a time when I was on the subway train, and a young couple were carrying two children (about 3-5 years old). Now, my friend and I noticed that no-one stood up for them on a packed train, so we did. What surprised me was that instead of the couple sitting and holding each child in their laps, they placed each child on our vacant seats, and the parents stood next to us. Meanwhile the children, as children are, were bouncing up and down and fidgeting left and right, probably to the disgust of the neighboring people, as their shoes and hands would accidentally bump into them.

I often see only children ocupying an entire seat and their parents on another seat, whilst their parents do not sit them on their laps thus giving up more vacant seats. So you cannot blame the children, you can blame the parents for such manners. So my friend and I, who are much older than this couple, just could not think how they would bring up their children. But we still have to set the example, it is in one's conscience to do so.

Another situation often seen is that parents often tell their kids to squeeze through the crowd when the doors of the train open, and occupy seats as they rush in. Regardless if there are elderly people in front or not. They will even occupy the seats designated for elderly and handicapped.

The other thing I notice on public transport is how often a seat that is for two people is often occupied by someone who sits in the middle or places a bag to occupy both seats. Remember the scene in Forrest Gump when Gump gets on the seat to go to school on his first day ?

The attitude to elderly thus stems right down to manners taught to the young, who are taught by parents to lead by example. Don't blame the children, blame the parents, and their parents too (... as you can see, the more you go back in time, you eventually come to blame the Father of Humanity for the downfall :oops: ).

By the way, I have never experienced any of the Dadis taking the train or bus, somehow I expect they always expect to be driven around by car. After all, most BKs when they set out from a centre to attend a program, or meeting or place make their way together. Do the Dadis not want to travel with the rest of the family ? Is this the same where you are folks ?
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ex-l

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Re: attitude of the society towards the senior citizens

Post10 Sep 2008

Its good to find something that we all agree on. Of course, it is also evidence that we are all becoming grumpy and middle aged.
bansy wrote:By the way, I have never experienced any of the Dadis taking the train or bus, somehow I expect they always expect to be driven around by car ... Do the Dadis not want to travel with the rest of the family ?

Hmmn ... that is true. Think of all the service of humanity that could be done if the Dadis travelled by public transport rather being lent a Mercedes and driven to the airport to fly business class. At least it would make morning class more interesting as they would have more interesting experiences to recount ... and, I imagine, exactly the same stories Arjun has just related.

What you have observed is seemingly universal. Usually the response from the teenagers would come back with a load of aggressive expletives. I have seen it myself in just the last few months. There has been a fashion for them to scratch their names onto the glass of the buses and trains with hardened drill tips (and other vandalism) but, especially in Britain, what gets me is the general unconsciousness of uncleanliness.

On public transport, people will put their dirty shoes on fabric seats with utter disregard for the next person that is about to sit there and then be forced to carrying street dirt back home and furniture on their clothes. I have had arguments with individuals doing so, only for them to put their feet straight back afterwards again. Parents will allow their children to bounce up and down on seats with their shoes still on. This is something Asian is a little bit more conscious of.

In the West, that generation (70 to 80+) worked so hard in their time, had manners and respect, and experienced that much real hardship which kids today could not cope with. I blame the Post-War baby boomers (55 to 65+) for destroying society with their selfishness, self-centeredness, consumerism and especially the influence of American popular culture; Hollywood, soaps, MTV, so-called "liberalism" (laxitude) etc. I have no idea what India is like but you probably have no idea what the West is like but in the city, basically children speak and act like gun-owning, drug-dealing black gangsters ... and some of them are. Being "hard" is cool ... even if the only person they can be "hard" towards is little old ladies. And they are always worst in two or gangs.

I don't believe in the "love" option. What we need to return to is the "big stick" option when adults had basic principles and where allowed to whack some sense into pre-adults. Now teachers, policemen etc are powerless and afraid to touch a kid in case they get sued or lose their job. I think "the monster" has always been there in young adults, only before it was tamed and young people taught to tame it. Now it has been let out of it cage and encouraged by those making money out of it to go wild.

Will we ever be able to get it back in its cage?
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arjun

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Re: Attitude of society towards senior citizens

Post10 Sep 2008

Sister bansy wrote:Unless you were disabled for some reason, the first thing I think you could have done, arjunbhai, was simply to vacate your own seat.

I was standing in the bus when the above incident took place. If I had a seat I would have definitely vacated my seat for the elderly lady.

Anyway, thanks to you and ex-l for relating the experiences of senior citizens on public transport. Your descriptions show that the behavioural pattern of people all over the globe is similar. The problems encountered on public transport are much similar to those encountered in India.

Sister bansy wrote:By the way, I have never experienced any of the Dadis taking the train or bus, somehow I expect they always expect to be driven around by car. After all, most BKs when they set out from a centre to attend a program, or meeting or place make their way together. Do the Dadis not want to travel with the rest of the family ? Is this the same where you are folks ?

I have not seen Dadi Prakashmani travel by train during my BK days, but I did see one or two Dadis travel by train, but that was about two decades ago.

As stated earlier, with the advent of Stress Management and Gyan in business courses in early 1990s in BKWSU, when the CMD Of Nagarjuna Fertilizers Shri KVK Raju became a BK, pampering of Dadis and senior BKs with AC cars, AC accomodation, journeys by air began and now it has become a norm for Dadis and senior BK teachers. Since KVK Raju was kind hearted as well as pretty rich, he indulged not only the Dadis and senior BKs but also his office staff in such luxuries. But with the spread of such service to other BK centers, the burden of such extra expenditure had to be obviously be borne by gullible BK students. Anyway, this is a subject matter of another thread. So, I must stop.
OGS,
Arjun
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bansy

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Re: Attitude of society towards senior citizens

Post10 Sep 2008

I was standing in the bus when the above incident took place. If I had a seat I would have definitely vacated my seat for the elderly lady.

Come to think of it now, I recall a time when I had an accident and sprained my foot, and was not able to offer a seat and felt uncomfortable about it. There are many reasons why people may not give up seats, but in most cases it seems in recent times it is simple selfishness and uncaring attitude.

What I like much also in the past was that people used to help others to carry heavy bags up or down stairs, or heavy shopping. Even such as getting on a bus. Nowadays, people feel that the person who comes to help is about to run away with the stuffs. Same with taking photos with a camera, that camera maybe stolen and runaway by the person you had entrusted to take a photo on the spot.

In a homogenous society (where most people are of the same nationality and colour), there may be a closer sense of another older person can be akin to one's older parents or grandparents, hence such terms as "Dadi", "Dada" etc (translated in their own language) are used in many Asian societies . But in the West in general, there are more mixed races and cultures, so an elderly Indian may feel quite different going to a dentist in Delhi than going to a dentist in Cardiff or Beijing. Immigration is a big topic nowadays and there are many issues involved with migrants settling into a new society. It is not just an eye opener for the migrant, but for the local inhabitants too.

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