Friday, February 7, 2014

#tubestrike

Is it strange that when I found out about the London Tube Strike, I got fairly excited? I mean, a large part of me knew how troublesome it would be and was so incredibly grateful for the fact that university’s just a walking distance away from where I live, but there was another part of me that was itching to know what it would be like!

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I can first start off my saying how I don’t think strikes like these are very common in Asia. It’s the culture probably, but I just can’t imagine working professionals deciding to stop work for a few days to fight for a cause. Even now it seems almost comical when my teachers give us a day off lectures or classes to strike for higher pay or gather around dressed in black to mourn marginal salary increases. Maybe it’s the more conservative culture we come from but it feels as though if a member of staff decided to gather a group of them to strike for an action, it wouldn’t get much support because they would just be too fearful to ‘get themselves in trouble’.

Evidently, I’m not speaking from experience and can only speculate but based on the media & police chaos that resulted from Bersih, a ‘peaceful’ protest, now being in a country where it isn’t uncommon to see people walking on the streets with placards protesting for something or the other (especially outside the Royal Courts of Justice, just minutes away from LSE) is quite a change and I thought I should document my tube strike experience! Open-mouthed smile 

As mentioned before in some previous post (I think!), I travel to Zone 4 every week to coach debate to a group of school children. It takes about an hour to get there by tube and walking, and I was honestly getting quite panicky about having to use alternative lines since all of the tube stations nearby uni were closed.

Can’t be bothered to look for a higher-res picture so this will do:

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This is how the tube map normally looks like!

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Original here.

So as you can see, a massive chunk of the lines around central London were not in operation!

I managed to get a glimpse of the effects of the strike when walking to school. There were a ridiculous number of cars on the road and the air was thick with smog! Buses filled the streets and lines at the bus stop were so long! They started sending out extra buses from long ago to help meet the needs of the people.

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How a modern bus looks!

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Vintage buses!

By the way, I’m currently obsessed with the cartoon filter on the Camera360 app and turned all my pictures for this post into cartoons! Open-mouthed smile 

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Including myself! Open-mouthed smile 

So, on the first day of the strike, it was apparently crazy chaotic with roads jammed and buses filled to the brim! The tube stations that were operating were supposedly filled with people and it was such a rush. D:

But by the second day, there were loads of people on the road because I guess most of them decided to walk and cycle instead of waiting for buses which were delayed up to an hour.

On Thursday, I put my game face on, my Gryffindor scarf which I got as a Christmas present, and was ready to go!

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HEHEHE.

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Nice, leh? Nice, leh?? Open-mouthed smile 

Because one of my lecturers was on strike that day (they call it industrial action), I went for class in the morning and headed back to my hall till the afternoon. From there, it was just a 12 minute walk to King’s Cross St. Pancreas which thankfully, happened to be open!

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It was about 1pm and around that time, stations are often not very packed. But it was so so so filled! You can’t really tell in the picture above but there were loads of people waiting. I took the Northern line to Bank and from there, walked to Monument to get on the District line.

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I gave myself extra time and left early just in case it would take ages for a train to come, and well enough, it did! I waited for ages at Monument but when the tube finally came, it wasn’t too bad!

Because so many stations were closed, the journey was incredibly quick. The train just passed each station with a quick announcement that “This station is closed.” Repeat that for about four times, stop once, repeat again, and before I knew it, I was at the required station with time to spare! Even earlier than how I normally am! Heh?

The way back was extremely packed and at one point, my head was pressed against the chest of some very tall stranger for about six stops. LOL, poor guy.

Another swap and soon, I found myself on a near empty train. Open-mouthed smile 

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Even managed to get a seat!

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With plenty of empty ones by my side! Open-mouthed smile 

So there you have it!

My London tube strike experience. No jumping out of bus windows or 2 hour lines or even a stampede!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you see it), the most exciting thing about it was trying to enter a packed train and that doesn’t differ too much from how it is during rush hour anyway! Well, there’s going to be another strike next week unless the union can come to a satisfactory agreement so we’ll see how the rest of my experience plays out!

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Malaysia Night is happening tomorrow night and I am so excited for it! If any of you are in UK and want to get a ticket (with proceeds going to charity!!), do leave me a message or a comment or an email and we can sort something out! Open-mouthed smile 

Here, have a quokka! Open-mouthed smile 

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