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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Fair Guess.

Yesterday evening I fetched two Caucasian gentlemen from United Square taxi stand to Orchard Hotel. They were both having a conversation in a foreign language. I was listening and trying to see if I knew where they come from. When they stopped talking after we passed Newton Circus, I took the opportunity to ask, "Hello, are you both from Germany?" The rear left passenger said, "No, we are not. I am from Holland and my friend here is from Switzerland". I quickly added "Oh, I'm so sorry, wrong guess". When we reached the Hotel, whilst paying their fare, the one who spoke earlier said, "Uncle, you were right in a way, we were all the time speaking in German, you see, I don't understand Swiss and my friend don't know Dutch, but we share a common language, German". I replied "Thank you very much for telling me, enjoy your stay here and Cheers!". They were both gentlemen indeed, I said to myself as I drove on.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Long Taxi Queue.

Fetched a young Philippino man from Jalan Jurong Kechil to RWS Casino late last night about 10.30pm. After he alighted near the entrance to the Casino, I was going to drive straightaway to the taxi stand, but as it was a Monday night, the taxi queue was packed with taxis even lining up all the way near to the Casino entrance. I knew its going to be a long wait as there were hardly a handful of commuters at the pick up point. I decided to leave and head elsewhere.

Normally during week nights from Mondays to Thursdays, the taxi stand is full of taxis but only a handful of commuters. To use the taxi service from this stand, you will have to pay a surcharge of $3.00 at all times.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Promise from a "Slip Of The Tongue".

Last night, I fetched four Secondary students from Paragon Taxi Stand, two boys and two girls. They wanted to go to Down Town East in Pasir Ris. Along the way, I joined them in their discussions about music and musical instruments and they were very surprised when they heard that I played the violin when I was in Secondary School so many years ago. I told them I no longer play the violin due to a compound fracture I suffered to my left arm whilst playing in a school rugby match when I was in Sec. 4, barely two weeks before my Grade 8 practical exams. Doctors had to operate on my 'crushed' arm and until today, the 4" inch stainless steel plate with four screws still remained in my left arm. Gone also my 'Lost' dream of being a Violinist. I even showed them marks of the 28 stitches still visible followed by their exclamations of "Ooohs and Waa's".

The students felt sorry for me, but at the same time, they were rather sceptical and thought maybe I was just telling them a 'Fib", so they asked and coaxed me to promise to write this post and also at the same time to publish the photo I said was an original taken in the concert held at the Cultural Centre in Fort Canning Road with the then Minister of Culture, the late Mr. S. Rajaratnam in attendance.

I promised not to disappoint them and they in turn also promised to go to my blogspot to check it out. There you are Guys n Gals, the truth and nothing but the truth........  

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Bottle Tree.

Yesterday evening around 6pm, I picked up a Malay woman together with her three young children at the taxi stand in Toa Payoh Central. When they were all on board, she said, "Please bring us to 'Chinchalok Road' near Katib in Yishun" I said "Huh, say again, what's the name of the Road?", she said "Chinchalok Road, never mind, never mind, I'll show you the way, its somewhere near Yishun Stadium". I suddenly felt 'blurrr', "Okay, okay, you show me the way" and I headed towards Yishun, thinking how I can forget such a road name. Where can it be??

Approaching Katib MRT Station, she said, "Turn left here", I said "Okay, this is Yishun Ave.1" and coming towards Sembawang Road, she said "Now turn right and then turn right again into (pointing her hand) that small road". When I heard her instructions, I immediately realised that she wanted to go to "Lorong Chencharu" which is directly opposite Sembawang Air Base. I said "Oh, you want to go to the Bottle Tree Park and she 'giggled' shyly, laughed a bit and said "Yah, yah the bottle tree" with a sigh of relief.

I did not hear her pronounce the name of the road clearly and all the time whilst driving, I kept trying to figure out her destination without any luck till I saw her pointing her fingers at the road. This is my second time here after a very, very long time and I must have forgotten all about the 'Bottle Tree'. The park here is very peaceful, quiet and hidden away. There is a fishing and also a prawn pond with 'kampong' style surroundings. A good fun place for fishing, food and family gatherings. After my passengers alighted, I parked my cab at the car park, took some photographs, walked around a bit, felt nice and very relaxed.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Three Expats.

I had very pleasant conversations with three passengers last night whilst ferrying them to their destinations. The first one was a pretty Australian lass from Melbourne who has been living in Singapore for the past ten years. I asked her if she has ever heard about a Singapore Taxi Blogger and she said "Yes I did", she was taking a flight somewhere and bought Time Out Singapore magazine at the news stand, the May issue and came across the 'Orchard Tower' article which she found quite interesting and from then on we were laughing and chatting away. She told me she is looking forward to seeing her parents who will be coming to Singapore in two weeks time.

The second was a young handsome Japanese tourist who is born and raised in Sao Paolo, Brazil. I too asked him the same question and he straightaway told me about the 'Orchard Tower' article and found it most amusing and funny and he liked it very much. We started talking about the Tower, chatted, joked and laughed about it. Asked about his hometown and he told me that the biggest Japanese community outside of Japan lives in Sao Paolo.

The third passenger was a Japanese who arrived four months ago and will be working here for the next three years. His wife is accompanying him and they too knew about what's going on at 'Orchard Tower'. He told me that there are fifteen thousand Japanese presently living in Singapore.

Driving a Taxi is like attending classes everyday and I get to learn so many things from expats and tourists from all over the world. Its simply great and I just love my job.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Friendly Newspaper Vendor.

I parked at the taxi stand at Boon Keng Road MRT along Bendemeer Road after a passenger alighted and decided to take a short break after having driven for more than three hours. It was a  busy Friday night for me. 

The time was about 10pm and I started talking to this elderly newspaper vendor sitting right in front of me. I asked him what time he normally close shop and he said "11pm" in Hokkien. I then spoke to him in Hokkien, asked if I could take his photo, he obliged and I started chatting with him, made small talk and asked him a few more questions. He told me he is more than 70 years old and he is only an employee working part time, three to four days a week earning some pocket money. I offered him a cigarette but he refused as he had his own Indian ones, very cheap, costing $3.50 for twenty five sticks in a bundle. He told me that this stall used to be located across the road and had been doing business for quite a long time already but he has only worked there for about two years. I asked him if there were many commuters using taxis at this stand here and he said not too many. Business for him was quite brisk but for me after half an hour had passed, no potential passengers. 

We were chatting away about everyday life and then it was 10.30pm and I decided to move on.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

HDB Hotel.

I picked up a male Asian looking tourist at the taxi stand opposite St Andrew's Cathedral yesterday at 6.30pm. He was carrying a big suitcase and wanted to go to Woodlands St.13.  I said "Waah, very far away from town, you must be visiting a relative or your girl friend". He laughed and replied, "No, no girlfriends here or relatives, only going to stay here for three days". "Where do you come from and why not stay in a hotel in town, more convenient for shopping and food?" I asked. "I come from Myanmar but I work on board a Tanker which is now parked at sea near Marina Bay only for a few days and so I am renting a room in Woodlands St 13, very cheap at $30.00 a night, stayed there about four times already. I book online, the hotels in town are very expensive" he said, speaking in good English. "Really?" I exclaimed, and was surprised to learn from this 41 year old Myanmese seaman about such kind of arrangement, an HDB Hotel room?? can book online. I have heard whispers about this sort of 'HDB Hotels' for quite some time already but was not very sure whether its true or not because renting a room in HDB flats is not cheap nowadays. The rentals are between $600 to $800 per month.

Surprise, surprise, this morning as I reached for my 'The New Paper', and right on the front page, such a coincidence,  an Advert in airline magazine says: 'RENT A ROOM FOR $60 A NIGHT FOR 2' IN HDB HOTEL", Wow!, what do you know, its true. Anyway, as far as I know, its illegal to rent out your HDB flats and bedrooms to tourists or for short term stay, if caught, flat owners face compulsory acquisition of their flat from HDB.