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Crowds

 

A crowd is a large number of persons gathered closely together in a place of limited size such as a stadium, a supermarket or a restaurant. In a crowd, a person's movement is restricted and people often have to take action to prevent themselves from being crushed.

I have been in many types of crowds and I must admit the experience is not very pleasant. It is always noisy, hot and stuffy. All I want is to get out of the place as soon as possible.

Once I had the misfortune of going into a departmental store during a mega sale. Some 'kiasu' people were waiting for the door to open. As soon as the door swung open, everyone pushed and I was pushed into the departmental store by the sheer wave of eager shoppers. The crowd at the men's section went wild. They leaned over huge boxes of jumbled up clothing, pulling out the shirts and trousers. I saw an old man and a young man fighting for a pair of pants. Everyone made a beeline for the cashier where the queue was already a few kilometers long. I squeezed myself in between the crowd and left the departmental store empty-handed.

Another crowd that is unpleasant is the crowd that waits for the Putra LRT to come to pick them up. This is especially so during peak hours. As soon as the train arrives, people jostle with one another to get onto the already sardine-packed train. Everyone tries to squeeze into the train, stepping on other passengers who get so mad that they shout obscenities at the culprits.

Crowds can turn unruly if there is a disturbance, as evidenced at football stadiums all over the world. Some over-emotional fans throw bottles at one another, spitting and swearing all the way. Some throw paper onto the field. There are even people who rush to the field to attack the referees. Sometimes a stampede occurs, killing innocent victims.

Not all crowds are unruly. There are crowds that are pleasant and orderly. For example, those at the Immigration Department or those taking part in a procession are very well-behaved. I once went to the Damansara Immigration Department to renew my passport. The crowd was orderly. Everyone waited patiently, reading or talking quietly to their friends while waiting for their numbers to be called. It was truly a very pleasant experience.

Nevertheless, I shy away from crowds whether they are ruly and unruly. Being in a crowd makes me uneasy, uncomfortable, not to mention the odious smells and the foul, stale air. Therefore, you will never find me at a crowded place unless I have no choice.

     
make a beeline for   to go directly and quickly towards
     
jostle   to knock or push roughly against someone in order to move past them or get more space when you are in a crowd of people
     
 
 
 

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