We arrived in Seoul on Saturday, in the late afternoon. We had heavy luggage, and were taken aback when the train that pulled into Seoul City was packed with people. As the train progressed further downtown, I felt a strong squeeze, presumably from a guy who was a head taller than me. He was also much bigger. It was so uncomfortable that I almost could not breathe. Therefore I thought of three ways to survive the subway squeeze in a city:
1. Avoid standing near the door. Wriggle your way to the middle of the carriage, at the sitting area.
The area by the door is the most heavily congested. People tend to leave more space as they move back, or towards the middle of the train carriage. You get more space as the other passengers who are sitting down. It is a good opportunity to use your phone.
2. Elbow others if you’re losing breath
In a train full of people, you need to exert dominance, there is no point suffering in silence, and the lost of breath is a key sign that your body has reached its limit. If need to, hold you hands up in akimbo. It doesn’t have to be too forceful, but doing so sends a signal that you need your space, and are serious about protecting it.
Friend J said that once in Japan, a lady’s foot was displaced due to a jolt in the crowd, and she continued standing on one foot throughout the journey. It must have been tiring, and very uncomfortable. I would have been happy to rest my foot on some one else.
3. Voice out your displeasure politely
You could give this a go if you’re the non-confrontational, gentlemanly sort. I suppose guys might use this method especially if the lady behind them is a dainty lady. Thinking back, I should have told the tall dude that he was being very ungentlemanly, in a polite way I guess.
The Travelling Squid’s Take
The tactics employed to tackle a subway squeeze are varied in different countries, and are acceptable in different cultures. The main point is to be unafraid. If some one pushes you, don’t be hesitant to tell him or her off, or push him back. There shouldn’t be a point in which you feel like suffocating. Whatever you do, suffering in silence is just not right.