Monday, December 31, 2012

Fastest and Nearest Way to the 'Loo'.

Last night, after having dinner at Old Holland Road eating house off Bukit Timah Road, I also bought three durians to bring home and, still feeling good and fresh, I decided to start working for my taxi rental for the day.

My first passenger was a pretty young lady who flagged me near my home at around 10.30pm. She said, "Uncle, I need to go to Chua Chu Kang St.51 in a hurry. Could you go fast?, Could you please go by the nearest and fastest way, thank you". "Okay" I replied, "This should be the nearest and fastest way there" as I made a U-turn. "You must be in a great hurry to meet up with your boy friend?" I asked. "No, no, no, I need to go to the 'loo' badly" she quickly replied unabashedly. OMG, I immediately started laughing. In all my years driving a taxi, this is the first time any passenger ever asked me to quickly send them by the nearest and fastest way to the 'loo'. They would usually say they will be late for work, late for an appointment or interview, or late to fetch their children from classes but not hurrying to go to the 'loo'. It was so amusing it kept us both laughing and we began chatting along the way. I asked, "Why didn't you go to the 'loo' before you catch a cab?". She said she was waiting for a cab for quite a while and did not feel the urgency earlier. We continued chatting and laughing and I offered to drive her to the nearest petrol station toilet but she refused as she told me she is quite particular about public toilets and insisted she has good resistance and could still hold on. It was simply 'funny' as we both continued laughing and chatting mostly about toilets. Suddenly she said, "See, my friends are already laughing at me". Apparently she had been sending and receiving messages at the same time through her mobile whilst we chatted. We finally reached her apartment, she paid the metered fare for $9.20, said thank you, bade farewell and quickly sprinted away in the direction of her home.

What an interesting and hilarious meeting it was. A happy and memorable end to year 2012 for me.

This is the last day of year 2012 and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all, my friends ........

                             "A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR 2013"



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Kind of Weird Quietness.

Christmas Eve, Christmas day 2012 have passed and I must say, this year was unlike past years' celebrations. Why? Well, somehow this Christmas is not vibrant nor exciting but rather drab, quiet and for me the feelings and expectations were not there. It was surprising that I did not receive Christmas wishes on Christmas eve before midnight unlike past years when my hand phone would just keep ringing in calls and messages of beautiful designs from everywhere, bringing good cheers and thoughts, and making taxi driving, fetching passengers such wonderful and enjoyable time, although I must also admit I was not initiating or doing my part to say the least. I only managed to receive one Christmas 'wish' message at 11.38pm from my Iphone and after that, none throughout the night until much later, on Christmas day and even so, late in the afternoon when a few messages of Christmas cheers started ringing in. Overall, it felt like any other ordinary holiday atmosphere, nothing unusual and just imagine, hardly any "Merry Christmas" wishes from my passengers or merry making, laughter, singing inside my cab. It was quite weird for me as I start to recall those past nostalgic years' of Christmas celebrations. They were good and happy past memories.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wet Wet Christmas.

Wow! Christmas is just around the corner, and each day when it rains, you tend to imagine that the rainfall is like snow falling in our tropical island don't you think so?. The weather is so nice and cool and the wind blowing with falling leaves everywhere creates a picture of nature's unmatched beauty, yes? Ahh, but for the downside, on the other hand, which causes wet misery, late appointments, dinners, long taxi queues, missed flights, cancelled sporting events and spoiling romantic dates and so, so much more, not mentioning continuous massive traffic jams and accidents. With all these happenings, yet it will never dampen nor alter the frantic Christmas shopping rush year in and year out, which brings me once again this time of the year to wish one and all just like wishing all my passengers everyday............
                                               "MERRY CHRISTMAS" and GOD BLESS !



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quick and Sneaky.

Last Saturday nearly midnight, as I drove along Holland Drive, I decided to pick up one more last passenger before I call it a day. I reached Holland Village taxi stand and there were three taxis already waiting in line but there were no passengers in sight and so I drove past. Further down the road, a group of young people flagged me. I stopped and this young lady boarded my cab in the back seat together with a young man who sat in the front seat beside me and this young lady called out to the others standing outside, "Get in quick, sit one in and one out". I turned to look and three others, all boys got in immediately, making a total of five passengers. I said "Hey you guys, I cannot fetch five of you, only four adults allowed in a taxi". This young lady quickly pleaded, "Its okay lah Uncle, so nearby and one of my friends is so small size". I looked at the last one in and he was indeed skinny and looked 'smallish' in size, I then decided to ask where they wished to go, and the guy seated in front said "Uncle we want to go to AL AZHAR restaurant, Bukit Timah Road, you know Cheong Chin Nam Road?", "Yes I do, well okay, I'll shut one eye this time, but remember, before you board a taxi the next time, the five of you, please tell or ask the taxi driver first for permission as it is against taxi rules and regulations and not just slip in freely on board as you like". All of them answered in unison "Okay Uncle, thank you Uncle". Not often do we relent and choose to take a risk, which is not healthy and wise, but we would definitely drive extra carefully in such circumstances.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Believe it or Not?

Wow! Finding $1.1m in the back seat of your cab? I simply cannot believe anyone can just forget and leave the taxi without their huge sum of money. For me, put it this way, if I were to carry a cash sum of even $5,000/-, I would keep checking and making sure the cash is with me all the time where ever I may be. I suppose money is of no big deal to some people who are filthy rich and what is $1m or $2m to them, peanuts I guess. For the taxi driver who found the $1.1m and immediately reported and handed in the cash to his company, the first thing that can hit him I think, must be 'shock' and then 'fear' and it must have taken him a bit of time just counting the cash and 'shivering' whilst doing it don't you think?, I mean, how often does one get a chance to hold on to such a huge sum of cash in their lives? Sometimes I wonder if all this news can really be true or maybe just a gimmick, or maybe to advertise, create, or make oneself popularr and to also cause sensationalism, what do you think?

A few days ago, a male passenger and I were discussing about this incident and he told me that his wife recently found a handbag containing $16,000/- lying near where she was having her dinner and in the bag was also the person's identification and address and she immediately returned it and you know what? the guy told me his wife was rewarded with a piece of cake maybe worth $8.00 and he was angry about the whole episode, especially about the reward. He told me that carelessness and forgetfulness is of no excuse at all, people have themselves to blame and he still believes in the saying, 'Finders Keepers'. Well, I think it all boils down to the financial status of the 'Finder' rather than 'Conscience" for it can be a blessing in disguise, a 'Windfall' for him as he could be desperately in need of financial help which he cannot get anywhere. Sometimes we don't give truthful answers nor act sincerely when faced with 'Temptations' of the world. It is always such a long, long story.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ugly Attitudes of Local Drivers.

I have been driving along the streets of Singapore for so many years, as a taxi driver for 15 years, yet so many things about the ugly habits and attitudes of local drivers have not changed over the years. The total lack of courtesy very evident till this day as well as selfishness, aggressiveness and impatience, all these just as active. In those days, road rage was a common occurrence, people get beaten up even for the slightest bit of 'honking', shouting or vulgar hand gestures. The law was not as strict then and speeding was rampant everywhere.

Today, drivers' habits remain the same, no improvements at all and discourtesy, impatience are all still there except for road rage which have soften down due to strict laws and harsh punishments for those who are involved. Minor accidents are usually caused through inconsiderate, negligent, 'kiasu' mentality and wilfully refusing to give way to other vehicles which often filter in and out of heavy moving traffic flow or in parking incidents. Nasty and fatal accidents are usually caused through speeding and drink driving.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Best Wishes.

                                            Wishing all my Hindu Friends and Readers

                                                          "HAPPY DEEPAVALI"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Unfortunate, Unforeseen and a Unexpected Adventure.

About 10 days ago, I picked up a lady visitor from Mongolia, in her forties, from United Square taxi stand. She asked to go to Marina Bay Sands casino. Along the way, I asked her if this was her first visit to Singapore and she said "Yes" and also her first time going to the casino but not to gamble, only going there to be with her husband who is already gambling in the casino. Thereafter, we began a very pleasant chit-chat generally about both our countries and families. She told me she had altogether nine children which gave me an instant surprise but she straightaway elaborated and told me her family structure. She had 2 sons both in their twenties from her first marriage and then 3 younger children, 2 boys and a girl, aged 2, 4 and 6 from her present husband and the balance 4 other children were from her present husband's previous marriage, altogether making her a mother of nine children. Wow, what a group collection I mused. Anyway, she asked for my contact number and gave me hers as well as we arrived at MBS casino. I wished her the best of luck as we bade farewell.

Last Thursday, I received a surprise phone call from her in the morning asking me if I could help ferry her and her 3 children from her present hotel in Beach Road to Hotel Royal in Newton Road to collect some books and then send them back again to her Beach Road hotel. I told her I could only do so and did not mind at all except that it had to be after 5.00pm and she said it was okay by her and would be most happy to wait for my arrival. I thought to myself, they may really need assistance and so I said I will be there at exactly 5.30pm.

Arriving at Beach Road I waited outside her hotel for a few minutes and then she appeared together with her 3 lovely children in tow. We greeted and wished each other well and she apologised for troubling me. I insisted it was my great pleasure in providing her my services. They boarded my cab and we were on our way to Hotel Royal.

We reached the hotel and she said it will only take her a short while to collect her stuff. I told her to take her time and will be waiting at the hotel entrance till she returned. She thanked me and quickly went about to get her things. I waited quite awhile and finally with her books in her hands together with her children tailing behind her, they quickly re-boarded my cab. I drove them back to their Beach Road hotel and she asked if I could give her the receipt for the metered fare which came to $39.00 exactly which I gladly obliged. She told me they are presently short of cash at the moment but promised to call me to pay the taxi fare as soon as she receives her money transfer from Mongolia. She was very apologetic and pleaded for my assistance, thanking me in advance.

As I had earlier consented to help her in the first place and also for the fact that they were first time visitors from Mongolia and really needed help, I accepted her request. I then asked if they liked some Kangen water to drink and her children said they were thirsty. I offered her a 5 litre container of Kangen water to bring back to their hotel to drink and they all thanked me for it. I drove off feeling somewhat confused but at the same time also felt good to be of some help and providing a bit of assistance to overseas visitors in their unfortunate, maybe temporary plight.

On Sunday, 4th November, I received a mobile message at 9.42pm which read .........
"Good evening, I am (her name), so sorry, you are very help me, but today very need your help my friend, can you borrow me 200dol, i back you next week, tomorrow we no have hotel"
Oh my goodness, I was suddenly taken aback but decided all the same to leave the message alone and not give her any reply.

Come Monday, 5th November, she called my mobile at 6.43pm, I answered and told her regretfully that I was unable to help her with money but will still help her if she needs transport. She quickly said "Sorry, sorry" a few times and hung up. I believe this is where it ends, "Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be....."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Maybe Can Maybe Cannot.

I do not understand what the two taxi drivers are trying to do, making claims of earning huge incomes between $6,000 and $7,000 a month. They may have done it once or maybe even twice, yes, maybe it is not impossible, but are they consistent in performing these feats every month earning these amounts?, I doubt it. In my opinion, honestly, earning incomes of between $2,500 or $3,500 a month is more realistic. I have personally tried and achieved these amounts, but, it is easier said than done. First of all, there must be that certain kind of discipline such as fixing the number of working hours driving daily which is easily at least 14 hours inclusive of meals and coffee breaks in between plying the roads with time spent to be very regulated. Taking a day 'off' from work a week?, you can forget about it. Then again, you have to be physically fit and healthy throughout the year, no such thing as taking an MC which is unheard of. I mean, we have got to be like 'super human beings'.

All taxi drivers are considered self employed and the majority can hardly contribute to monthly CPF accounts. And, if you are a family man, the sole bread winner in the family, is there any guarantee that no one in the family will ever fall sick or need medical care? What about unforeseen expenses incurred when there are sometimes the weddings and wakes to attend. Other than school fees, there are frequent schoolchildren extra curricular activities that will cause sudden unexpected expenditures and of course, no escaping the inevitable 'Must' and Necessary annual family New Year's day expenses for each and everyone of us.

Taxi drivers are a hard working lot and for those who have been driving for 'tens' of years, day in and day out, make no mistakes, for at the end of the day, the majority will have suffered some form of sicknesses, perpetual bodily aches and pains or God knows what. It is a fact, we are only human.

Let me not sound so negative about this occupation. It is a very interesting vocation, with all the freedom you get being your own boss, meet and even make friends with all sorts of people from around the world, hardly or seldom a dull working day, always a challenge to meet your daily earning targets and best of all, the chance to enjoy all foods available in all parts of the island.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Best Wishes.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish my Muslim friends and readers :

                                   Selamat Hari Raya Haji  !!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It Happens to The Best of Us.

Thursday night about 9.45pm, a young male teenager hailed my cab along Drive 1 in Pasir Ris. "Hello Uncle, do you accept Nets?" he asked. "Yes I do" I replied. "Okay, I would like to go to Tampines St.45 thank you".
In a short while when I started driving, he said, "Uncle, could you drive a bit faster as I am on probation and I need to reach home by 10.00pm, and by the way, can I pay the balance of the fare in cash as I only have $4.00 in my ATM card?". "Huh? of course not, how much cash do you have in hand?" I asked. He said "I've about $3.00 something". "What? you mean that's all you've got? Is there anybody at home you can call to bring some cash for you? Your parents maybe?" I asked. He replied "No, nobody at home, both my parents are still working and won't be home so early". I questioned him again, "Why didn't you tell me all this before you boarded my cab? Why didn't you try to go home earlier by bus instead of till the last minute?". "Uncle, sorry lah, but I promise to pay you by tomorrow afternoon through my ATM card to your bank account. You just give me your bank account number".
Another story teller trying to pull a fast one. We were nearing his flat and I had already dismissed his excuses and decided to just collect whatever cash he had and said. "Never mind about my POSB account number, just give me the cash you have in hand" as I stopped in front of his flat. He dugged deep into his pockets as I watched and he could only manage to come up with $1.50
"Uncle, that's all I got, but I promise to transfer $10.00 to you tomorrow afternoon, I promise. I'm so sorry".
"Look here, don't tell me stories, just call my hand phone number now" I said and he immediately called. My hand phone rang and I told him I would message him my bank account number later. He alighted and said sorry a couple of times and I simply nodded.
The metered fare was $7.30 which is of no big deal to me and I just want to forget about the incident and continue to ply the roads, erasing all sour thoughts from my mind. This is, but one of the many unfortunate types of cons and cheats we encounter daily as a taxi driver.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Bit Of Hiccup.

It was not a happy Sunday yesterday when my relief driver called me at 7.00am in the morning to inform me that the taxi just could not start. Had to call the company's tow truck to tow it to the motor workshop which is also not open for business on Sundays. All plans for the day were cancelled and I spent an enforced holiday after attending church services in the morning, going to and fro by using the bus services, which was quite interesting, having to switch buses twice and did a fair bit of walking.

The motor workshop just called to inform me that the taxi is repaired and is ready for collection at 1.00pm. I have informed my relief to collect it and maybe drive a little before he hands it over to me. These sort of unforeseen happenings do occur once in a while which is only natural for taxi operators who would also lose out on daily earnings.  Anyway, after a day's disruption and having so much rest, I must say, I'm all set and ready to start once again.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Missing Taxis When You Need Them Most.

When it rains, taxi drivers tend to play safe and very often you find us waiting out the rain storms sitting in our cabs parked alongside roads or sitting in coffee shops having coffee till the rain subsides. There are many reasons why we do so. Firstly, it is always dangerous driving in fog like conditions where visibility is limited, roads are slippery and heavy traffic jams occur with most roads clogged up and without fail, there will  always be accidents everywhere usually bumper to bumper hits and many vehicle breakdowns which ultimately cause huge and massive traffic jams.

 Everyone suffers each time there is a heavy downpour, with long queues of frustrated and anxious passengers waiting at taxi stands all over the island, at the same time, frustrated taxi drivers also waits, cursing the heavy rainfalls which will inadvertently cause a hole in their pockets and if they were to try to venture, there is always the risk of having to fork out something like $1,000.00 up front to our taxi company when you get involved in an accident. 

Then, there is the extra work for us to perform at the end of the shift when we sweat as we need to clean up the insides of our cabs, wet not only on the seats but also dirty floor mats, sometimes with mud and sand especially when you pick up passengers standing along muddy roadsides together with their wet umbrellas.

All these happenings are most unfortunate and nobody wants it to happen. It is a very tiring working day for us whenever it rains. Our feet get easily tired and our eyes strained with non stop serious concentration whilst driving. We understand and feel for our passengers too, waiting long hours after finishing their tired workdays, and therefore, all of us should try to understand and spare a thought for one another in these unfortunate times.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Change and Evolve.......

Hi Folks, I'm back again after such a long absence since I returned from KL after attending the opening of Enagic office. I have been extremely busy running around giving out free Kangen water to friends, relatives, acquaintances everyday and everywhere to people who need them especially those with any kind of health issues. I have become so excited doing this Kangen water business, getting and hearing wonderful results, watching people get well, attending seminars, training sessions as well as conducting my own demonstrations and reading and watching tons of videos about Kangen Water, even forgetting about taxi driving and ferrying passengers. I have become so engrossed in this activity, so very happy meeting and getting to know and making so many new friends everyday. Indeed, I love every minute of this exciting and wonderful new adventure which is making me more compassionate as days go by.

I am now working on a kind of schedule to spread and adjust my activities accordingly but will definitely continue writing my blogs so stay with me and watch more of my new involvements and daily adventures in the near future.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kuala Lumpur Here I Come.

Hi Folks, I would like to apologise for taking this short break without putting up any recent posts. I have been very busy giving free Kangen water to friends and acquaintances everywhere, including my passengers in Singapore, its my personal venture once again into the business world. It has been a very hectic and exciting week and right now I shall be leaving for the airport in an hour's time to catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur to attend the official and grand opening of Enagic (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd office today.

I will be back this Tuesday evening and also write about my visit to Kuala Lumpur. It should be quite interesting Folks, until then, have an enjoyable and happy weekend. CHEERS !

Sunday, September 2, 2012

G.I., Flat-Top, Mohawk and Square Cut.

Went for my hair cut yesterday at Sri Dewa, my regular barber shop for more than 50 years. Sri Dewa (a iconic household name today) with its first shop originally situated directly opposite the Novena Church during the late fifties has since relocated also along Thomson Road, this time opposite the Thomson Medical Centre is a very popular and well known barber shop brand with many other branches bearing the famous 'Sri Dewa' name everywhere in Singapore. It was very popular then, always with long queues, famous and the top barber shop in town. Back then my hair stylist was the proprietor himself.

My barber, Mr. Anuar, speaks good English, very chatty, is a friendly and likable guy. I have had many different regular barbers over the years and he is my present barber after Mr. Hamid who has already passed on a few years ago. I have my hair cut every six weeks. In this shop hangs a rectangle shaped framed with a few photographs of men with different hair styles cut more than fifty years ago and I was one of them during my early teens. Orignally hung on the wall of its very first shop and had been on the walls of Thomson Road Sri Dewa ever since until recently when I asked Mr. Anuar for permission to own it. It was very kind of him to give this photo frame which has all along had my photo in it showing me with a 'GI' crop during my secondary school years, I was advertising live, like a model spotting many new and latest popular hair styles cut at Sri Dewa such as the 'square cut', the 'flat top' and even the'mohawk' and many others. It gives me great pleasure to display this half century old photo frame here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Change Your Water Change Your Life.

Wow, how time flies, its been two weeks since I bought the Enagic medical device that produces the famed Kangen Water. I have stopped drinking coffee and tea now, something which I never expected would end so abruptly. Since that fateful day, on the 11th of August, I have been drinking Kangen Water by the litres everyday and I even surprised myself immensely and never thought the day would come when I start drinking water which have been a "taboo' drink to me all my life. I am now addicted to this magic and miraculous Kangen Water and I simply cannot imagine leaving home without it.
                                      CHANGE YOUR WATER CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Nowadays, my constant companions or should I say, my ready passengers are the dozen or so containers of 1,2,3,5 and 10 litres filled with Kangen Water which I ferry around daily everywhere happily distributing free of charge this wonderful drink with my friends or sharing them with anyone who needs it. People with medical issues, big and small, serious life threatening sicknesses, aches and pains, you name it, all of us can truly enjoy a change in our body and live happily and healthily, thanks to the Power of Kangen Water.

Together with Irene, this energetic, lovely and beautiful Beauty Trainer, Entertainer Singer/Artist, the both of us have been distributing Kangen Water and giving 'Live Demos' here and there, in roadside coffee shops, kopitiams, in friends' houses, condominiums and even in Tekka Market. Its really very exciting and enjoyable, and we love every bit of time spent introducing this magnificent life changing drink.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim readers a

                 "SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI !!!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Power Of Kangen Water !

I'm so sorry Folks for having laid off putting up any post since Monday last week. I will share with you what went on during this absence.You see, I happened to meet an old friend of mine, Irene, last Wednesday evening in this coffee shop at Block 125 along Lorong 2, Toa Payoh and we started chatting. She had a 3 litre bottle of water which she kept pouring for me to drink when I happened to mention something like not being able to hold up a cup of coffee with my right hand as it causes an excruciating pain on my right upper arm. She said to drink this water, is it not smooth and nice and I said I hate drinking water as it always taste like medicine to me. I drink only coffee and tea my whole life. As we continued talking, she kept refilling my glass with water she had with her and before I realised it, I had drunk nearly 2 litres of water and was still feeling quite comfortable. During this time, Irene told me about this miraculous water she called 'Kangen Water'. Being a bit of an unbeliever, yet I still casually listened. We parted about an hour later.

I was home as usual around 2.30am Thursday morning and was trying to recall if there was anything interesting to blog and put up a post and was lifting my cup of coffee so often as I sat in front of my computer, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I felt no pain whatsoever from my right arm every time I held my coffee cup. It was simply amazing, I had to find out more about this Kangen water.

I sought Irene the next day and she was just superb, she was absolutely keen to bring me to discover what Kangen water can do. It has got mysterious and wonderful sort of healing powers. And you know, by Saturday morning, I purchased this medical equipment that can make good water from tap water and at the same time spent an hour listening to and watching the most interesting and awesome demonstration of the power of Kangen Water. "Change your water  Change your Life".

As I was not driving my taxi, Irene and I took and shared a SMRT cab to go home. Along the way, this SMRT taxi driver, Mr. Ng (60 years old) and I got into a casual chit chat. He told me his left shoulder is causing him a lot of pain for a very long time. On hearing this, I immediately offered and persuaded him to drink this wonderful water. I asked him for his water bottle, threw its water away and filled it up with Kangen water from Irene's 3 litre bottle and briefly explained to him that this water maybe able to help ease his shoulder pains, to drink it and also share with his family members. More pleasant chit chats after Irene drop off at Toa Payoh and I continued home.

Sunday afternoon, at about 4.00pm, I received a surprise phone call from this SMRT taxi driver Mr. Ng and he asked to buy water from me. I told him I don't sell this water but I will give him this water for free and he can come to my house to collect. He insisted on paying me for the water, but I told him its free and since he lived in Seng Kang, I said there is also no problem to collect this water from Irene at Toa Payoh much nearer. I gave him Irene's phone number and at 6.30pm he was collecting this Kangen water from Irene's house and that's when we learnt that he was relieved from his shoulder pains and not only that, his daughter was also free from her menstrual pains.

Monday, Tuesday and today, Irene and I gave out free water to my friends who had medical issues and also gave our mini demonstrations at coffee shops and today at Tekka market. It has been most satisfying and exciting, giving and sharing this water with friends these past few days. Honestly, since last Thursday, I have been using my taxi for this purpose, enjoying myself together with Irene and I have not fetched a single paying passenger since.

My Friends, it's my great pleasure to invite you to visit : Kangen Water

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jalan Kayu Roti Prata.

Sometime last week, an elderly Indian man hailed my cab near Newton Food Centre and before he boarded he asked me if I knew where the original famous Jalan Kayu's roti prata shop was and I said "Yes of course". "Please fetch me there" and we were on our way. Along the trip, I asked him where he was from and he told me he was from Ipoh, Malaysia. He told me he heard much about the famous Jalan Kayu roti prata for many years and since he had not been here for ages he decided to eat at this place. He told me that they call it "roti chanai" in Malaysia and his friends said to come to Singapore and try the prata which they claimed is slightly different but is good and taste much better. He was very excited and kept telling me how Singapore has changed and looked so different now. I asked him if he was travelling alone by himself and he said "Yes, it's a long story and I don't want to talk about it". He spoke very good English and most of the time I kept answering his questions which were continuous and mostly about everyday life. I truly enjoyed our conversation till we arrived at the prata shop. He was very thankful and I wished him well.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Mata Puteh Family (Pt.2).

Last night when I returned home, I spied on the chicks, they were huddled together and I noticed their greenish coloured feathers grown beautifully. I knew they were ready to leave home in a couple of days.

I woke up today around noon, together with my iPhone camera ready, and this is what I managed to capture. The chicks were waiting for Mummy to feed them. I hid myself and patiently waited for action although I was still half asleep.

I was rewarded for my surveillance. True enough the mother came home and fed her chicks for a short while and a little later she flew off.

I took these last photos of the contented and happy chicks and I know also that they would be flying off together anytime now, to an adventurous and exciting new world. It has been an interesting and learning experience for me and for sure there will be other new exclusive bird families seeking this Bamboo Hotel Tree of mine in the near future.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Mata Puteh Family.

Yesterday evening, as I was leaving for work, I checked again to see the bird's nest built near the top of my bamboo plant placed outside my gate. I have been regularly keeping an eye on it. I have always been happy to see a bird's nest, this is not unusual for me as this is the 5th time a mother bird has built a nest and grew her chicks on this same bamboo plant of mine, usually from two tiny white eggs till the baby chicks grew to baby birds and then the whole family would fly off to greener pastures. I decided then to photograph them for the first time when I return home tonight. These photographs were taken from my iPhone as soon as I reached home around midnight.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It Was Different Then.

How time flies, a wink of an eye and more than ten years just flew by. This picture of me was taken two and a half years after I first started driving a taxi in July of year 2000. From this photo, taken twelve years ago, on top of Mount Faber, you will notice the taxi logo, TIBS TAXI, yes, I started with this taxi company for many years till I switched to Premier Taxis, I was then driving a Nissan Cedric. When I first drove for TIBS and continued with them even after SMRT took over, I was supplied with two or maybe three white long sleeve shirts and two grey long pants each year, me and my colleagues need to dress alike, it is compulsory. We look very smart in them though, and each time we take our meal breaks or coffee breaks in coffee shops or food centres, we could be anywhere and nobody would guess that we were in fact mere taxi drivers. We were also instructed to greet and acknowledge each other anytime, anywhere whenever we met and also wave as we drive pass each other. There was then a sense of belonging I thought. We were then behaving and even thinking or looked more like office executives. At present, I can wear any type of shirts or pants as I wish and of course its much easier and more convenient as Premier does not insist on any particular mode of dressing.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Unforeseen and A Pleasant Interview.

Had a rude shock this morning when my Relief driver called to tell me that our taxi was rammed from behind by a delivery truck when he stopped at a traffic junction along Upper Cross Street this morning around 11.00am. My Relief suffered a slight cut on his right arm and the vehicle was badly damaged. After making necessary reports at the office, he managed to get a replacement vehicle till repairs are done. Another unpredictable incident but luckily no bad injuries sustained. This sort of accidents are unforeseen and quite common especially so for taxis when we are on the roads nearly 24 hours a day.

Last Tuesday evening from 6.00pm, I was being interviewed in my cab by two young and lovely Australian ladies for about an hour whilst I drove and they eventually alighted at Junction Eight in Bishan after having travelled from the Orchard Road area. When I picked them up from their residence, I initially thought they were sisters but to my surprise, they were a mother and daughter pair. You see, the daughter, I shall call her Miss E had earlier wrote to me to ask if she could interview me and help her with some information in respect of the taxi profession in Singapore and also about my lifestyle after having stumbled upon my Blogspot. I felt very honored and made the appointment to meet up and also have the interview in my cab as we travel along and at the end of it all, they insisted on paying me the metered fare which I finally accepted at $20.00. Miss E needed my assistance to help her in her project and I hope I was able to provide her with the necessary information she needed. Both mother and daughter were also my first passengers and they were honestly, very polite and very pleasant. It was really my pleasure travelling with the lovely ladies, and I thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by Miss E.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whimsical Student.

Last Saturday evening I fetched an interesting young female secondary four student from a local school from Jurong Point taxi stand and she wanted to go to West Mall. During the journey, she asked me a host of questions in respect of the taxi driving profession. She said she wants to be a taxi driver when she finishes school after the end of this year as she finds it very interesting and most important of all she can have a vehicle to use without having to foot out a huge sum of money to buy one, only need a thousand dollars or so as capital money. I was shocked to hear of her intentions, her ignorance, I mean coming from a sec. 4 student. I told her that she will have to be at least 18 years old in the first place to apply for a driving licence and secondly she can only be eligible to apply for a taxi vocational licence if she is 30 years old, the minimun qualifying age, to which she exclaimed "Wah liao! like that ah, have to wait so long and must be 30 years old than can become a taxi driver meh?". I replied "Yes what, you think so easy meh?". I knew she was still very immature and childish and so gave her a simple 'fatherly' talk about the importance of education and not to think so much about starting to work and blah, blah, blah and so on till we reach West Mall. She looked a bit stunned and silly when she paid me the fare, but she did thank me for my bit of talk and advice for her as she alighted and quickly disappeared in the crowd.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sleeping Buddha.

Fetched an elderly Indian couple from Clarke Quay early yesterday evening and they wanted to go to St. Michael's Road which is off Serangoon Road. I managed to ask them casually if they were locals and they said "No", they were visitors from Mumbai. They wanted to visit the Sri Lankaramaya Temple to see the sleeping Buddha. They cannot speak much English and so I could not find out their actual reasons for coming to this Temple. Anyway, when we reached their destination, I took the chance to take a couple of pictures of the sleeping Buddha. I asked if I could photograph them also, but they declined.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Re-appearance.

The first passengers I picked up on Monday evening opposite Mount Elizabeth Hospital was a young Caucasian woman with her two young children, twins, a boy and a girl, together with her maid and they wanted to go Hindhede Road, entrance to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. After they alighted at a condominium nearby, and on my way out, I saw monkeys walking, running and jostling along the entrance of the road, I quickly stopped and parked my cab along the kerb, took out my iPhone and started taking pictures of the monkeys which I had earlier thought already vanished from this area. (Refer to my earlier post "Where Have All The Monkeys Gone")

I spent about 20 minutes watching the monkeys antics, wrestling with one another, chasing one another and also a mother holding her baby perched on the railings and it was fun and interesting just watching them at play. Yes, the monkeys are still there to entertain.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Relentless Shocks and Revelations.

Just ask these words "Heard the latest?" or "Have you heard?" and we get to hear all sorts of comments, feedbacks, criticisms, thoughts and suggestions. As a taxi driver, I chat and interact everyday with a very wide and varied audience, people from all walks of life and from all over the world, different races and religions. I get first hand news and views of any sensational stories past and present and yesterday, the topic was of course 'the shock' about misappropriation of City Harvest Church funds involving its pragmatic leader, Pastor Kong Hee  which in turn also brought about recollections of similar past episodes such as the NKF saga, Ren Ci and many others including recent fallen Top stars from government.

It was an interesting day of chit chats with so many of my passengers. I was flooded with accusations, criticisms and the like from my passengers and me too, adding extra contributions to our exciting discussions,  like in a mini forum. In recent times, there has been varied subjects, such as the 'Ferrari tragedy', death falls of 'maids', reservoir 'suicides' and numerous 'corruption' cases all of which makes for lively chats between me and my passengers. Its been a great pleasure ferrying and meeting cheerful, pleasant, intelligent and friendly strangers all willing to engage in healthy lively talks, enjoy laughter and discussions.    

Monday, June 25, 2012

Unforeseen Hiccup.

Three days ago, my PC which served me so faithfully for so many years broke down. I tried to rescue it by getting a very good friend of mine, a professional troubleshooter, to do everything possible to get it back to shape but to no avail. I had to sadly dispose of my PC and yesterday bought a new one, this time, with Microsoft Window 7 Home Premium, simplified. Stayed home last night to get to know my new PC after necessary installations and registration were completed. I am delighted with its performances and enjoying so many new features and now I can't wait to get back into action once again with my new partner.

I had to take leave and was only driving sporadically the past few days and had to suffer a bit of taxi rental loss and some income. Today, a Monday, I can foresee a slower, with a longer working shift to make some recovery back to normalcy but as usual, I will continue to provide good services to one and all, at the same time enjoy myself whilst doing so. Hope to see and meet you again sometime, till then, have a nice day.

By the way, did you know I am in Facebook? Do visit me and check out on my new Page (on the right, below "ABOUT ME') and also you know lah, please "Like" it, Thank you. Cheers!  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Violent Attacks Against Cabbies.

Early last Saturday morning, 16th June, a 58 year old taxi driver was attacked by his passenger brandishing a weapon. He was viciously slashed and when he tried to retaliate, his attacker struck again. The cabbie suffered deep cuts and damaged nerves on his left arm which needed surgery. This was an unprovoked attack and the assailant did not rob or even tried to take his valuables. No one has been arrested yet.
In an earlier incident, on 8th June, a 48 year old taxi driver was beaten unconscious by his passenger simply because he drove a "lousy" car. This attacker, a 30 year Korean was arrested and police investigation is still on ongoing.
These recent violent attacks on taxi drivers clearly shows cabbies' vulnerability, with the cabbie sitting in front with his seat belts properly fastened (its the law) it is futile to even try to retaliate against aggressors who attacks from behind, worst of all with hidden deadly weapons.
Well, still thinking of taking up a taxi vocational licence and become a taxi driver? It is scary isn't it after reading what happened to the two unfortunate cabbies. Yes, it is a dangerous job, very unpredictable, afterall, who knows who or what your passengers can do to you even without any provocations simply because they are from the "cuckoo's nest".
Taxi driving is also about knowing a bit of psychology, must be tactful, alert always and some ability to judge 'body language' as well as through simple dialogue. Overall appearance is not always a safe guide. Through experiences all these years plying my trade, I must admit I am lucky not to have encountered 'psychotic or mad' passengers.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Xiao Long Pau" at Din Tai Fung Restaurant.

Its mid term school holidays and so last night at 7.00pm, I invited my granddaughter Jasmine (14) and my grandson Julian (13) for dinner at the chinese restaurant 'Din Tai Fung' at Resorts World Sentosa beside Universal Studios.
When we reached the restaurant, there was a long queue and we had to wait for 15 minutes before a table was available. Each of us had a bowl of noodles, each a different variety and also shared three trays of their world famous 'Xiao Long Bao', ten pieces in each tray. We were all good eaters and thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.
After that, we had ice cream just next door to the restaurant before we adjourned to Park Lane at Selegie Road to visit my nephew Brighton's Cyber Cafe called Spot On Gaming Pte. Ltd. to play the latest video games. I watched my grandchildren enjoy playing their favourite games till we left at 11.45pm. It was a terrific night of enjoyment, lots of fun and laughter for all of us. I have always cherished outings and spending time with my grandchildren.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mobile Power.

These days, passengers are all accompanied by their faithful Smart phones and iPhones and as soon as they board or even whilst boarding my cab, their mobile is glued to their ears and chatting away continuously. Nestled comfortably in their seat and you notice them staring into their beloved gadget, reading emails, into Facebook or chatting and most of all, playing their favourite online games quietly throughout the entire journey to their destinations.
Times have changed when handphones were just communication tools where we use them as and when we need them to convey and receive calls only. Today, practically everyone owns a mobile, its like a part of our body and you will definitely feel very naked and lost when you are without one. Most passengers no longer watch where they are going, know immediately where they are, how the driver drives or even notice whatever is going on along the routes and surroundings after giving instructions to the taxi driver where they wish to go whilst boarding the taxi. Those were the days when you have passengers telling you which road to take, turn left or right or teach you how to drive, grumbles all the way or sometimes even scolds, but today, the whole scenario has changed because everyone minds their own business all because their beloved mobile companion is with them.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Missing iPhone On Board Bus No.35.

Picked up a young couple at Parkway Parade taxi stand around 9.00pm last night and they asked me if there is a bus terminal at Changi Airport and I told them yes. They wanted to go to the airport. The guy told me he must have lost his iphone in the bus they took, No.35 now heading towards the Airport. I asked him to call his mobile, but he said he left it on silent mode. I asked if his iphone was with him when he was on board the bus and he said yes because he remembered he was checking on a message in his phone. As we proceeded towards the airport, I said they could try to locate where his mobile is with his girlfriend's iphone and they quickly did that and discovered his mobile somewhere at St. Parick's Road. I suggested we hurry there to try to catch up with the bus but he said we might as well go to the bus stop near Changi airport police station to wait for the bus with his iphone in it. At the security gate he went to inquire where the nearest bus stop is and was told nearby, we followed the road and it led us to the Budget Terminal and not a bus stop was in sight. We decided to go to Terminal three where they could find out more from airport authorities as to where the bus bay was. I drove towards the basement of T3 where they asked to alight near the front of the long taxi queue to continue their quest to recover the missing iphone. They told me that the bus was only carrying few passengers and they were seated at the rear seats so hopefully his iphone might still be lying there somewhere. The guy and his girlfriend were visibly stressed and very anxious along the whole journey. I wished them all the luck and hope they recover his lost iphone as we departed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

One Of Those Days.

Saturday night, after fetching my passengers, a Malay mother and her young son to Woodlands Ave 1, I decided to head towards one of my favourite eating place nearby to have my dinner. Time was 9.30pm and I had been driving non stop for more than three hours already, now feeling a bit tired and hungry. At Al Ameen restaurant, I ordered a plate of Nasi Bryani and drank Teh-O. Below are pictures of my food and surroundings.
After my meal, I suddenly felt a craving for Durians which I saw just now around the corner, behind the bus stop and so I walked there to check it out and eventually bought three Durians of the D24 type for only $10.00, (an offer I could not refuse) which I brought home for my treat to enjoy after work. Feast your eyes on the fruits displayed. As I write, the smell and taste of these exotic fruits lingered on.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friendly And Generous Passenger.

Around 11.00pm on Wednesday night, two young men, cousins, flagged me along North Bridge Road just after Jalan Sultan and they wanted to go to Jalan Rumah Tinggi and then to Woodlands. They asked me to wait awhile when we reached the first stop to allow one of them to collect and hand over something to the other. Meanwhile, the other cousin and I alighted to have a smoke as we waited. We started chatting. He is a final year Polytechnic student in Design and when I gave him my card, he was very impressed and offered to design a new card for me free of charge and will call me when he is done in about two weeks time. I thanked him and he told me that he is at present helping out in his mother's Italian restaurant. He is a very pleasant young man and we spoke quite a bit as we continued again on our journey to Woodlands.
When we reached his destination and after paying me the metered fare which was $30.00, he insisted on tipping me an extra $5.00 which I refused and told him "You don't need to give any tips in Singapore you know". He said he knows, but he wants to and insisted that I accept. "We will meet again soon" he said as we wished each other goodnight.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Road Humps Will Deter.

The recent accidents at the Bugis Junction area were very disturbing. I believe the majority of Singaporeans have seen both videos of the accidents on Television and the Internet. The first accident already claimed three lives and caused injuries to two others and many more just escaped being hurt within split seconds. In less than two weeks, another accident occurred in exactly the same fashion, at the same spot, very uncanny. Unless and until the Authorities take swift actions to prevent and stop these madness from recurring, I dread more lives will be at stake.
I would suggest construction of Road Humps at regular intervals along this stretch of road be put in place immediately instead of wasting more time considering heftier fines, jail term or what heavier punishments be meted out to crazy and drunken speed maniacs, new licensing of sports car drivers and more studies to situations.
In my opinion, three strokes of the 'Rotan' would be the next best alternative for offenders. I think Road Humps would straightaway deter drivers from speeding and make other road users feel safer. It is very unfortunate that the two accidents involved taxis and their innocent passengers. Taxi driving is a very responsible job of ferrying passengers everyday and already to earn a living is not that easy let alone having speed maniacs threatening and instilling fear into their lives and livelihood.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

R n R.

I have just got up from bed after watching the 'Live' TV show, 2012 grand finale of 'American Idol' from 7.30am to 10.00am. It was a fantastic and lively show and I enjoyed it very much but I would have preferred the runner up Jessica Sanchez as the winner. For a 16 year old I must say, she did very well and I loved her performances singing Whitney Houston songs. She was terrific. As for the winner Philip Philips, he was just as good, well done. I will not be working today since this is a 'special' day for me and I have decided to go to this Chinese Restaurant near Universal Studios to have dinner, it will be my first time at this restaurant and maybe after that go and have coffee and ice cream, relax and enjoy a well deserved rest day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spicy Food Lovers.

Fetched a lovely English couple from Tanglin Mall heading home towards East Coast yesterday. They were an unusual pair who loves spicy food and eats at Kallang Airport, East Coast food centres and at many other heartlands food courts. Coming from England and loves eating local 'Pedas' food and curry fish head and all things 'spicy', they were indeed special. They told me that they both cook as well. I told them that Singaporeans are generally 'Gluttons' as we eat nearly 24 hours a day and we also love shopping. They have their home in Manchester but you know, he is a 'die-hard' Chelsea fan and sure enough, he was watching the Champion League's final early in the morning and his team won. I said sorry, but I did not watch the finals as I am a staunch Arsenal supporter. Both of them have been living in Singapore for the past three years. The lady does not like the cold weather back home and loves Singapore and the heat. The three of us had a pleasant ride, laughing and chit chatting all the way.

Monday, May 21, 2012

An Enjoyable Day At The Races.

I spent my sunday at the Singapore Kranji Turf Club to watch the exciting annual Krisflyer International Sprint race, run over 1200 metres and worth one million dollars in stakes money and the Singapore Airlines International Cup over 2000 metres and worth three million dollars. These races include participation of local race horses against the likes of international classy racehorses and jockeys from all over the world. The races were run on a soft track after the rain came and went. At 7.50pm in race nine, ATO our local racehorse with regular South African jockey Barend Vorster astride won the Sprint followed by MR BIG another local horse with Australian jockey S.Baster who came in second. This is also the second time a Singapore racehorse has won this prestigious Sprint with local champion ROCKET MAN in 2011. In the staying event, the horse from France, named CHINCHON won with his French rider Oliver Doleuze astride, followed by ZAIDAN from Hong Kong with jockey J.McDonald second and third was local horse FLAX with regular Brazilian jockey J.Verenzuela astride. The last time a local racehorse won this Cup was OUZO with local jockey J.Saimee in year 2000. Being an enthusiast in thoroughbred racing, I enjoyed the day in racing carnival atmosphere, felt proud for our local winners and will look forward to next year's challenges.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Where Have All The Monkeys Gone".

Started out early today and was driving towards Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, I decided to turn into Hindhede Road to check and see if there are still monkeys roaming around that area. It was around 5.00pm and I was surprised not to see a single monkey around right up to the car park at the end of the road. I looked up at the trees, fences and the surrounding areas, but not a monkey in sight. What I saw were only the sign boards displayed.