Top image: Adiptalk / Unsplash
Dancing like nobody’s watching is often easier said than done. The ‘Tube Girl’ trend has reached our shores (in the form of ‘MRT Girl’), and it has already stirred up a cocktail of reactions from Singaporeans.
The trend started in Britain when a TikTok user, Sabrina Bahsoon, filmed herself dancing and lip-syncing on the London Underground, also known as the Tube.
Singaporeans quickly hopped on this trend and took to the MRT to film TikTok videos of themselves dancing and lip-syncing. Hence, ‘MRT Girl’.
Some viewers are showering them with positive comments, praising their confidence. Others quickly deemed them as “public nuisance” and “attention-seeking”.
Are Singaporeans ready to accept others stepping out of their comfort zones for a fun challenge? We speak to the MRT girls (and guys) of Singapore about the benefits of pushing the boundaries.
“I was with my girlfriend on the train, and that little bit of shamelessness was more than worth the laughter and glow on her face. Besides, it’s essentially just a selfie video, and the rest of the world shrinks away when I’m with her, so it was easy.
When my girlfriend showed me the ‘Tube Girl’ trend, I thought it’d be funny to whack one out right then and there—carpe-ing that diem. The only thing going through my mind at the time was how silly it was probably going to turn out, but it ended up looking pretty nice. The warm reception from my friends was also a much-appreciated bonus.
I don’t think people here will suddenly become immune to the pressure and the risk of judgement that comes with the idea of getting behind this trend, but I do hope that people find good friends around them that make them feel happy, comfortable, and secure enough to be able to live a little now and then.”
– Hyren Fabregas
“I was a little self-conscious because, knowing Singaporeans, they would stare at you a little funny and think you’re vain if you took a video of yourself posing confidently. But I’m a spontaneous person and love trying new things so I thought, ‘Why not? I just need to try it once to experience it, so just do it.’
I didn’t practise the video poses beforehand, so it took a while for me to warm up. I had to really let loose and channel my inner diva! I remember being a little shaky during the first take because I felt insecure and kept imagining that I didn’t pose well. But when I let myself pose freely and put my game face on, it was easier to build that confidence, and the video turned out really well for the second time.
I think more Singaporeans, especially Gen Zs, will hop on this trend. I also think that Singaporeans are becoming more expressive, showcasing more of their personality on the outside now, so this trend is one way to express their individuality and creativity.
I like the message of the ‘Tube Girl’ trend—the idea of being brave enough to put yourself out there, express yourself, and not care about the people around you. I think this trend has established itself as an icon, and the hype won’t easily go away.”
“I had two more stops left before I alighted. I had my earphones in, my heart was beating fast and in my mind, I told myself, ‘Just do it, just do it.’
While filming, I was in the zone—gotta own it, already out there—so I didn’t care what other people thought. After I rewatched the video, I realised that no one even reacted. I YOLO-ed and filmed another take. I did it, alighted at my stop, and never looked back. In the end, I posted the first take because I felt that it was more genuine.
There were some negative comments, but there were also positive ones that hyped me up. This trend doesn’t harm anyone, so why not just do it if you feel it makes you step out of your comfort zone and build confidence?”
– Jian Wen
“Sometimes I’m confident and other days I’m really worried about how people perceive me. I think that’s how most people are, anyway. Even in my video, I wasn’t actually doing the trend properly—I was just half-heartedly doing it because I was really shy, and the MRT was crowded. But I also wanted to take advantage of the wind in the MRT.
I felt really conscious about filming in public and I couldn’t bring myself to go all out and be confident. I didn’t even pull out my headphones to hear the audio so I was just winging it. Then again, I also noticed when I reviewed the drafts that nobody really cared or noticed.
I think that Singaporeans are quite divided on this trend—it is harmless fun; a show of confidence amidst a culture of compliance and behaving like everybody else in public. So I think it’s powerful that people in Singapore are indeed jumping on it, and I’m sure more will be inspired to do it too.”
“I didn’t care what people thought. I’m pretty sure they have other important things in life to think about other than a girl doing a TikTok on an MRT.
I honestly feel that more Singaporeans will hop on this trend as this harmless trend speaks volumes on self-confidence. Putting yourself out there and not caring what people think is one of the few ways to gain self-confidence!”
– Azula Cinta
“I was quite self-conscious but I had my friends with me, so I was quite ok. When I was doing the trend, I knew I would have regretted it if I didn’t do it. But since my stop was the next one, I thought I should just go for it.
I had some aunties look at me funny but I thought that was perfect! If I’m being honest, I do enjoy it when people are so worked up over little things like these. I think it would be nice if people would just be more confident and comfortable with themselves in general. If y’all just stepped outside and not gave a damn what people would think, what an amazing place Singapore could be.”
“It really takes balls to do this. I randomly tried the trend at home and it was fun. It cranked up my confidence and I immediately fell in love with Sabrina and this movement she created! However, there’s a stark difference between doing the trend in public and at home.
Your camera work has to be pretty immaculate, on top of balancing on the train, being on beat, lip-syncing with the lyrics, slaying with confidence, and embracing uncles staring at you like they haven’t seen chiobus before. The experience was harder than I thought, but I loved it.
It’ll be nice to see more people slaying and feeling themselves in public confidently. I’d strongly encourage anyone to try it. It’s all a mind’s game. What’s more important is having fun doing the trend and not caring what people think!”