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HONORING MY MOTHER | When manners fly south

Pre-departure areas in any airport are oftentimes the best places to really observe people and their ways. One must have noticed that whenever the announcement to board the aircraft is heard over the speakers, the very first ones out the gates are, almost always, people’s manners. As sure as the chances of delayed flights, this phenomenon never skips a beat. I remember my flight from Clark back to Davao, I must have witnessed at least ten flight announcements to different destinations and the same number of mad rushes to the boarding gates. After a while, they play like a silent movie replayed and looped continuously.

What is perhaps disturbing, this has been going on for so long, people may have actually believed the practice is synonymous with travel. Be it in any form of public transportation, the pervading siste is everyone gets to be first.

At the airport pre-departure area for example, even as priority is given to people with children, pregnant women and senior citizens, the rest of the able-bodied passengers still rush towards the gates and totally disregard these few. In my experience here at our local airports though, they had at least a bit of courtesy left, because they form a line getting there; with the pregnant women, those with children and the oldies having to squeeze through the crowd just so they could hand in their tickets and boarding passes.

It is a sad and pathetic sight really, and “Survival of the fittest” comes to mind. However, does it really apply here? The thing is, whether one is first or last in line, we are all headed towards one airplane, and arriving at the same time in our destination. This seems lost on people so that, if decency and manners were people, they’d either be left behind at the terminal or fly past the cockpit.

One wonders, is it only here in the Philippines? A seasoned traveler begged to disagree. All over the planet, this “culture” persists, and even if a full-scale survey were to be conducted, it would be useless, because it happens everywhere. I’ve once watched a YouTube video of a scene at Singapore’s Changi International Airport where a horde of Chinese tourists broke through a queue of passengers at the check-in counter, acting as though it was the common thing to do, and engulfing the line as a rampaging army would. In the end, we totally get it, we’ve all got places to go, appointments to fulfill and loved ones to visit. An old friend-musician of mine who has traveled the world insist, people nowadays may speak courteously but that’s not always in sync with how they act towards other people, especially when they feel they need to be ahead in the queue. In the case of those Chinese tourists, he said, for all we know, they might just be first-time travelers and over-eager for their first plane ride. That’s no excuse, what of the others, even children have to wait their turn at the rides. It still smells like entitlement to me.


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