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.