Recently, a Malay woman took to the Singapore Bus Driver Community’s Facebook page to complain about her family’s encounter with a Chinese bus driver, where miscommunication led to a verbal dispute. Read on to find out more!

What happened

According to the Facebook post by the unnamed Malay lady (whose voice features in the video link below), the bus driver had ignored her repeated attempts to press the bell and alight at her intended stop.

The bus driver ignored her?

When she confronted the bus driver directly, he had allegedly continued to ignore her and had contacted his colleague through a walkie talkie when she raised her voice. In the end, after some deliberation with the person on the other end of the line, he opened the door at a traffic light and she had to get off at a place “which is quite far from (their) kids’ school”.

Of course, that is the incident from the Facebook user’s perpective. She appeared to be angered by the fact that the bus driver ignored her and that he was unable to understand her when she spoke in English, and the post itself may show the driver in a bad light. Furthermore, the inconvenience of having to alight at an unintended area would frustrate her as well.

But if you listen closely…

However, if you watch the full video (link below), it may show another side of the story. When speaking to his colleague in Mandarin, he repeatedly mentions that he did not hear the bell and that he was unsure whether he should go against traffic rules to alight the passengers at an area not demarcated by bus stop signs although he did complain about the Malay lady raising their voice as well.

At the end when allowing the passengers to alight, he also apologizes in Mandarin and again reiterates that it was a misunderstanding as he did not hear them press the bell previously.

The full video of her dialogue with the bus driver can be found here.

What do netizens think?

There have been a whole range of reactions towards the incident, with netizens defending both sides.

Some netizens sympathised with the Malay lady and offered reasons as to why she would be so riled up over the incident.

Others felt that the incident could have been prevented if there had been no language barrier and thus felt that the root of the problem were bus companies who did not equip their staff with the necessary skills, in this case the ability to speak basic English.

Many also offered their own analysis towards the situation.


Although it was just a verbal dispute and fortunately did not escalate into a more serious situation, the tension can clearly be attributed to the issue of having a language barrier that compromises peaceful resolution as both the Malay lady and Chinese bus driver would feel maligned by each other.

In the case of the Malay lady, she would definitely have felt that the Chinese driver disrespected her and did not adhere to her rights as a passenger, causing her great inconvenience.

On the other hand, the Chinese bus driver who spoke little English would also have been overwhelmed and bewildered by the Malay lady’s anger and his efforts to apologise were in vain since he could only speak in Mandarin.

What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below!