A Singaporean taxi driver’s “sad” encounter with Aussie Tourist
Posted by temasektimes on May 12, 2012
Yesterday I picked up an Australian woman from Arab Street back to her hotel. During our conversation in taxi , I learnt that this Aussie lady was on her first visit to our sunny shores and she straight away began waxing lyrical about how “lovely” her trip was, how “GREAT” our city was, how she enjoyed everything here during her maiden trip to Singapore and she even commented how “LUCKY” we Sinkies are for living in such a “wonderful” city! (Btw, this is only the upteempth time I hear such glorious praises from these angmors tourists, esp those here for the first time!)
As I continued to listen to this foreigner’s singing praises about how “fortunate” we locals are for being born here, I can’t help to wonder how rotten the hands of FATE had dealt me in this life amidst this Aussie’s incessant glorification of this socalled “great” city of ours!
OMG, at the time, I was already in my 11th hour of straight driving since 2am and head pounding with headaches and body aching with tired weariness from sitting in this metallic coffin for so long with hardly any rest;
Oh if only this woman knew that I myself had lived Down Under during my undergraduate days during the late “80s, an educated bloke myself with 20yrs PMET experience yet now having to resort to driving taxi for incessantly long hours every day just to earn a living ;
Oh only if she knew how I , being a qualified overseas grad, could not obtain an entry level job for some 1.4-1.5k monthly salary with our very own integrated resorts in this “great” city of ours because of my age and unfair government policies that do not favour locals but only favour younger & perhaps cheaper fts who come here by the thousands to fill up all the available service jobs which our esteemed govt had advertised were available for mainly “Singaporeans”;
Oh only if she knew how “lucky” I was , because as a local male Singaporean, I had to suffer thru’ some 20 years of National Service and constant pesky reservist call-ups, in-camp training and sudden open mobilisation exercises during weekends with nothing to show for except for a cosmetic income tax grant annually to socalled “recogise” my past contributions to the Singapore Armed Forces;
Oh if only she knew how lovely this city really was whereby a once-graduate from her own Aussie universities cannot even get basic and decent employment in his own home country when thousands of foreigners such as Australians with equivalent university qualifications with less work experience come here on easily obtainable employment passes to land cushy jobs with , able to rent high-end condos in upmarket districts simply because of our “wonderful” government policies to attract foreign talent only ,yet forgetting the locals one who are deemed unemployable only because of their older age;
Oh if only she knew how I, as a local, had to suffer the ignomity of constant job rejections from employers who cites myself being “over-qualified” and “too-old” when I kept applying for clerical jobs during my long period of unemployment before driving taxi;
Oh only if she knew how our “Great” government tried to disguise their efforts to help structurally unemployed Singaporeans like myself by using fancy names like “SPUR” training and LifeLong Learning by sending us for meaningless courses like “Certified Service Professionals” which amount to nothing else than a useless piece of paper to say that I’ve spent 7 days in a SNEF initiated course acting like an idiot trying to learn basic skills such as uttering “good Morning Sir” to every potential client or customer;
Oh only if she knew how our illustrious government agencies like e2i, WDA and CDC would “assist” unemployed Singaporeans like myself in what they deemed as “good jobs” to work at “ 7-11” or Kopitiam food courts for some $900 monthly salary and expecting you to survive and cope with inflation at this socalled good salary!!
I grimaced as all the above unpleasant memories & experiences raced thru’ my mind during the short trip with this Aussie tourist in my taxi who eventually remarked that “Oh, your children must be so lucky to be born in Singapore since they will have such a Great Future in this country”. GREAT FUTURE?????
I stared in amazement at her reply and then cannot help myself but to quickly retort….. “Lady, I would dearly trade places with you anytime”, and said “How about I retire in Australia and you come live here in Singapore instead”! To this, she suddenly seems slightly puzzled and cast a disquieting look at me , so I tried to explain slightly by telling her that “Singapore is a fine city to visit as a tourist, but to be born here and live here, it is a altogether a different cup of tea as Singapore is an ultra-competitive society” and it is truly “Survival of the fittest” to live in this city of ours!!
Oh well, soon we reach her hotel and destination and this tourist paid the fare and said that she did truly had a wonderful visit here and will return again. I smiled and said “Hope to see you again” happy with the thought that another $8 of fares had entered into my pocket to add to the day’s earnings in my wonderful new life as a taxidriver.