Some were dead drunk and arrived without knowing.
Sat and watched as they walked out of my sight.
I had a fairly diverse collection of passengers in my cab tonight, everything from a Polish pilot to MBA Indian housewife. Most of my passengers were ordinary folks, nothing much to write about. But in the diverse collection, there were one or two who had amazing stories to tell and an inspiring background.
The first was this young pilot from Poland, the land where 5 million Polish perished in the Holocaust during World World Two. The pilot boarded my taxi at airport arrival hall. I wanted to chase him out as it was illegal to pick passengers at arrival hall. But he pleaded with me saying he was in a hurry. I relented and took him. He was apologetic all the way to his apartment at Bedok. I hope in the next few days, no letters arrive from the airport police.
Like others, he was fascinated and marveled at the achievements of this tiny country that has no natural resources. And as usual, I lamented on the suffering of our poor people of Singapore, at which he told me this sad story of his ancestors:
During the Nazi German's 5 years occupation of Poland, genocide was conducted systematically against Polish people. Our pilot's grandparents were slaughtered like others. His then 10 years old father managed to survive by escaping into neighboring Austria. There he raised a family with untold hardship and determination. Our young pilot had an easier life but never forgot the past. However, he holds no vengeance against the German now and felt that war should never have taken place in the first place.
Poland and Singapore had something in common. Both were occupied by brutal army during World World Two. Fortunately, there was no genocide here but thousands were killed indiscriminately by Japanese forces. So, what is the inspiring part of this sad story? In my opinion, if our pilot's father can survive in a Holocaust, what else is insurmountable? If our grandparents or parents can survive the horrors of wars, what hardship we cannot endure in time of peace?.
The second passenger who inspired me was an Indian housewife in her late forties. I took her from Woodland Checkpoint to somewhere in Woodland, a short distance fare. During the short journey, she recounted how she managed her household monthly budget of $400 magnificently, sometime with a bit of saving . Her expenses were mainly on food for the family of four and her simple indulgence in wine. In her late forty, she graduated with an MBA in English and is now a part time lecturer in a school near the city. She spoke in excellent English and when invited to visit and comment my writing in this blog, she said "writing is from the heart,........." . I reckoned what she meant was that each of us as individual are different in many aspects and therefore, there is no need to compare or contrast. Dr.Catherine Lim, a well known writer in Singapore, said " "I feel, in a general way, that art, whether it be literature or painting or dancing or music, is something so individual, so personal, even idiosyncratic that it is the artist himself who is ultimately the truest judge and critic".
Writing is an art. Like all forms of art, appreciation is in the heart, mind and eyes of the beholder. Again, what's so inspiring about the Indian housewife?. Well, she's a housewife yet she managed to find the time and a dogged determination to achieve an MBA in her late years. That's inspiring!