By Edmund Zhen
Published: April 18th, 2019
When thinking of the United States, it is not hard to be reminded of the different things it is known for. Most likely, we have heard it been called the land of the free, land of opportunities, the melting pot, etc., and in my eyes, there is no place freer and diverse than in New York City.
The MTA is the perfect showcase of this. People from all walks of life, backgrounds, and culture are all clustered together in rectangular carts, whisked away from the crumbling stations into the unknown. It is truly an experience like no other. Some things we are all familiar with are the delays, inconvenient maintenances, and the worst of them all, the public indecencies. For me, growing up in a strict family instilled proper mannerism, consideration of others, and public awareness’s (I’d like to think so), so anything that is contrary to that, I become uncomfortable. That means when I see people peeing at the corner, spitting on the platform, acting like lunatics, etc., I get pissed as hell.
To change that, I believe it is crucial for the government to create etiquette laws similar to Singapore’s. There, things like spitting, littering, public urinating, smoking in non-designated spots, etc., can land you with hefty fines and even jail time. For example, if you are caught spitting in places such as coffee shops, markets, theaters, public buildings, or public roads, you will be punished with slaps across the face as well as a $1000 fine. In one aspect, it would be a good way to generate revenue for the city, as well as creating a cleaner and safer space for everyone. Using that money, we can develop programs and initiatives to help those who are in need of support the most. In recent years, the number of homeless people has reached the highest in NYC since the Great Depression.
The Coalition For The Homeless did a study on the number of homeless people and found that “In February 2019, there were 63,615 homeless people, including 15,344 homeless families with 22,717 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families make up three-quarters of the homeless shelter population and the number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 74 percent higher than it was ten years ago. The number of homeless single adults is 150 percent higher than it was ten years ago.”
But even if we don’t do this on a large scale, we could create a punitive system in schools or private areas (in alignment to the law of course) that follows this idea to teach people the things they failed to learn when they were kids. In other words, it is beneficial for society as a whole, as it builds character in people and teaches them respect, self-control, social awareness, etc. It would also be helpful to implement other things that would help catalyze a snowball effect on this growth. Rewinding back to the MTA, how would your life be when you take the train/bus and the people were more respectful of each other and their environment? The seat and floor you use are clean. There are no loud music or people screaming “IT’S SHOWTIME” on your train. There will be no more smell or sight of urine or feces all over. Just think, how would your life be changed if these rules were implemented?