Usually at around 4am, my taxi buddies and I would gather at a coffee shop in Jurong East Central to have our supper and share our night's driving adventures. Each driver would have some real life story to tell but it would normally centre around some passenger's unreasonable attitude and other trivial matters. Some tells hoary jokes. After a while, such stories and jokes became dull and boring mainly because of repetitious theme. However, once in a while, someone would come out with an astonishingly humorous tale that got everyone standing on their toes, with open mouth and watery eyes from laughter.
I would like to share with you one such fairy tale story but before going into the story proper, I would like you to know that the buddy who told us this story has a nick name called "cannon". He has been a taxi driver for more than 30 years and plan to retire next year. This is how the story goes in his own words. The encounter happened many years ago.
Good evening. Could you please take me to Little India, Seranggon Road?
Yes, Sir. Okay, which way you want? Now, this time, Little India very crowded. Also Deepavali season, so much people everywhere—hey, Sir, I think I see your face before—are you—
Yes, I’m Devan Nair.
Oh, ho, Mr. Nair, please to meet you, Sir. You are the President, correct? So late go where?. Drink toddy!, not afraid?—
Hey, Mr. President, you can complaint for us or not? We taxi drivers, cannot speak or write good English—
What’s your complaint?
Wa-ah, you don’t know, meh? You President, and you don’t know! We taxi drivers suffer—this new rule, that new rule—everytime got fine,
You have to be more careful.
Ai-yah, I know, lah! But where got money to pay fine? In the end, earn no money. My brother-in-law, he also taximan, so fed up, he give up licence to go and live in Malaysia—
Why don’t you ask your MP for help?
No use, I tell you. What for. You think MP want to listen? You think MP don’t want PAP to make more and more money. They all the same! You know or not, every day people pay fines for wrong parking, got fine for this, fine for that—hundreds of thousands of dollars go into PAP pocket, I tell you!
I thought the MP is supposed to help the residents—
Ai-yah, No, lah, I tell you, PAP making money. Already so many taxis on the road, yet they say can have more, more. And you know why? Plenty of money from taxi licences! You know or not how much they get every month from foreign workers alone, because this and that tax for employers? Many million dollars every month!
How do you know?
Hey, everybody know, lah! You know what ‘PAP’ stands for? ‘Pay and Pay’! They say this and that, want to help the poor workers like myself, want to benefit the poor, but all the time, bluffing us, only making money for themselves. You know what ‘PAP’ stands for? ‘Pian Ah Pare‘. You no Hokkien? Can understand or not? They lying to poor old men like me, with no education. I sixty two—see grey hair on my head—but must work very hard—you know, I driving since 6 a.m. this morning—
I can see you’re very unhappy. Are you thinking of joining your brother-in-law in Malaysia?
Ai-yah, not so easy! Last week his wife, got snatch thief snatch her handbag—lost money and gold bracelet, some more she fell down on road and got many bruises on her face—then yesterday my brother-in-law he telephone to say thieves they broke into his house—he and family were out at that time—they stole his son’s computer, cash, make big mess in the house—they report to police, but they know no use, too many burglary and robbery, so police they don’t care—only pretend take down report and so on—
I don’t suppose you want to join him now?
No way! But I very serious, Mr. President. You please tell government don't make we taximan suffer!
P/S. In reference to Catherine Lim's vignettes
A Funny Video