Monday 5 August 2013

Some Noteworthy Passengers.

Bus & Taxi in same lane! Hope to have it here soon.

Sunday is my rest day. Every member of my family is out of the house in pursuit of their own interest and this old man is left alone at home. I have no problem with that. In fact, I am extremely glad to be left alone to indulge in my sedentary activities of blogging, reading and listening to my favorite music without disturbance. But, come early next year and With God Blessing, I would joyously welcome the "disturbance" of a new baby cries in our flat.

Sometime my blog is a place where I got lost in the triviality of life. I do not always expound or make sardonic swipe at social and political issues of the day. At the heart of this propensity of mine is, I suspect, a desire to occasionally experience and enjoy the "quirks" rather than the "norm" in blogging.

In between fares, I scribbled down simple notes of interesting stories of passengers and events I experienced. They are all actual passengers and events and I would later write up as truthfully as I can remember into this blog. Wherever possible I tried not to identify the person in my stories except on a few occasions.

Today, I shall write short notes of a few unforgettable passengers from recent months. The list may seem tame because I am saving the juicier passenger stories for a full post on their own when I get around to it.

Here are some of my noteworthy passengers in recent months.

1. On a busy Friday night, a young inebriated Caucasian couple outside the rank of Clark Quay offered me an extra $10 to let them smoke and drink beer inside my cab. I gave them a miss and  picked someone else  

2. The local manager of Indoor Stadium offered me a pair of concert ticket after I returned his lost cellphone. I accepted his gift with appreciation and later gave it to my nephew.

3. A young well-mannered Chinese teenager wanted me to rush him to Singapore Polytechnic at Dover MRT. to attend a talent time contest. Instead, I erroneously dropped him off at Buona Vista MRT. Frankly, as an experienced taxi driver, I should not have make that horrendous mistake and I felt terribly guilty till today. I heard "A" but my mind think of "B".

4. A young, smart looking Chinese guy told me all sorts of strange stories about LKY, stories he heard from his "influential" father. I listened in silence throughout the trip and he gave me $10 for a $6 fare.

5. A 23-year-old chap told me he lost his virginity to a PRC prostitute in Geylang. I wonder why he volunteered such personal "secret" to a complete stranger like me. He must be drunk. 

6. A middle-aged woman told me she used to be a bus driver but is now a taxi driver doing the day shift. "Welcome on board, comrades!"

7. A deaf girl asked for a pen and paper so she could write down her destination.

8. A lady was still numb from the novocaine after a tooth extraction. She got in saying, "Zoooo...looong" which I finally realized it meant, "Jurong."

9. A Japanese man with a tie and a PRC lady got in at Cuppage Road. Both smelt of liquor and wanted a cheap hotel nearby. Sent him to Hotel 81 at Beach Road so they could have a quick one.

10. A young Filippino lady worked as an oncology nurse but administer chemotherapy on rich people's pets.

11. A monk invited me to visit him at his monastery in Bhutan. I got his name card and shall treasure it.

12. An old Chinese man collected his 4D winning and gave me a $5 tip. He felt he was the richest man with the $2,000 winning. I knew how he felt. I think the feeling was like when I found a 20 cent coin as a 9 years old boy.

13. A middle aged Chinese couple apologized profusely for bringing in a "fishy body odor" into my cab because they were fishmonger who just closed their stall.

14. A young couple quarreled throughout the journey from Jurong to Bukit Batok over trivial matters. I wonder how long would their relationship or marriage last.

15. A pregnant lady on the way to KK Hospital for imminent delivery. She already had 3 boys and was hoping for a girl this time. Good Luck. lady!.

16. An elderly handicapped woman in wheelchair requested for a discount and I obliged without hesitation. I actually offered her a free ride but she declined my offer.

My passengers are mostly ordinary folks who go about their daily life without having to worry about earthquake, tsunami, horrendous floods and droughts. And so, they are generally happy unless they choose not to be satisfied with their lot. An old friend once told me, "Singaporean are so boringly happy these days, the cab drivers are more interesting than the passengers."

A reader wrote to me saying that his uncle is a taxi driver and often shared his fascinating stories and encounters with him. All his uncle's experiences are shockingly truthful and not spurious. I, myself had experienced many of them too. I would like to share with you what he wrote without edit and hope his insightful experiences would widen your perspective of taxi drivers here.

1. Explaining CBD surcharge to European, especially German.
2. North Indians making a fuse when they cannot pay by visa.
3. Passengers bargaining to squeeze five passengers. Local and foreigners.
4. Australians who can't stop using the word "FXXX".
5. Local gangster family who had to use foul languages in every conversation. Start of conversation "KNN", end of conversation either a "NB" or"CB".
6. Malaysian family who avoided surcharge by passing a stack of small notes to the driver, and while the driver was counting, they disappeared into the neighborhood.
7. Korean businessman who don't have local currencies.
8. Malaysian who got workup by the fare during congestion.
9. Southern Indian who fold a five dollar note to make it looks like two five dollars and disguise it with smaller notes.
10. Young Singaporeans who always take taxi to MRT station or the other way.
11. Strong Caucasian males who will never take their own luggage out of the boot.
12. PRC who will sound off like an alarm when you took an unfamiliar route.
13. Filipinos who can't stop talking inside the taxi and missed the actual destination.
14. Hong konger who laughed gigi gaga when being asked "you are from hong kong?""


Choon Yang said...

Hello Mr Lim,
I'm Choon Yang, an intern from Threesixzero Productions. Our company has been commissioned by MediaCorp TV and Media Development Authority to produce an 8-part info-education series titled 100% SINGAPORE.

One of our topic is to talk about the ERP system in Singapore, not to criticise or anything, but to talk about how the system work, the penalty etc.

If you are keen, could you drop me an email so we could discuss further?

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Since you only want to know how ERP work, no criticising or anything, then you should contact Lui TY. Don't waste this cabby time. I rather he blog about all the strange stories about LKY.

TaxiTaxiSG said...

Very interesting stories you shared there! I guess that comes with job as a taxi driver; i.e. meeting all sorts of people.

Eddy Fellow Cabby said...

Interest way to kill bored James =)