THE TEMASEK TIMES

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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.

TAXI UNCLE

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74 Responses to “A Singaporean taxi driver’s “sad” encounter with Aussie Tourist”

  1. Ken Lee said

    sad!! and all thanks to our pap gov, there is millions more to coming!

  2. Same feelin said

    DearcTaxi Uncle, Firstly, I really fell sad about
    Your encounter, honestly speaking let not put too much blame but try to look at ourself my understanding is that this fewe years we also has a lot of unrealistic S’porean that is still living in Ivory Castle which want only 5 days week high pay (O level no good result) asking pay min 1.8 K per month an with 2 years working experiences but working in 4 company.
    Honestly, I’m also against FT but what to do with so much unrealistic people around us. Just blame our life and also we has “too good ” govt.

  3. singaporean said

    another one of these “a foreigner praised singapore is a great country but the reality is not” stories.

  4. Ilham said

    Bless you sir. I do not know what I can do for Singaporeans anymore. It is with a heavy heart, knowing people like you like I do, that I have resolved to relinquish my citizenship and migrate so my children will not be born with the same debilitating fortune. I am a 23 year old Singaporean man, and an undergrad. I have experienced some of the things you recount, and am greatly disappointed in the state of the country. I wish you and your children the best.

  5. solsticesg said

    Interestingly despite all your complaints you still have a job as a cab driver which pays two times more than most people working in coffee shops or doing menial work. So what if you are a graduate? I heard that mentioned too many times in your article. Seriously an education counts for nothing. If you do not make use of your opportunities when you were given then everything counts for nothing. Sometimes, one wonder why there are so many graduates or non graduates for that matter, out there that are still in demand and in good well paid jobs. Being a graduate does not automatically entitle you to employment Period. The fact that you are too old counts for nothing. I am passed 60 and I still have job offers. I think what matters is a person’s attitude in life and in work. Let us not blame it on our government. If you should even complain about National Service, then I don’t think you qualify to be a Singaporean. And even if you had gone to Australia to retire, it’d have been the same because my belief is that if you cannot survive here, neither will you survive in Australia. Thus my advice is, stop complaining and keep calling yourself a graduate. Pick on something you want to do, learn the skill and excel on it. To take a leaf of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech in 1961, “Ask not what this country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” For as long as we have Singaporeans like you, I think Singapore will need foreign talents.

    • salute said

      what the heck did you eat? shit?

    • sweetbean said

      Seriously an education counts for nothing. I’m curious, would you tell your children that?

      • solsticesg said

        Education is only good if you make the best of it when given a work opportunity. If as he claimed many times he is an overseas graduate, then how come he is not marketable?

      • Always There For You said

        @Solsticesg: I’m one of those Singaporeans who are qualified to do a job in the industry I work in. I followed the govt’s advice to upgrade & obtained a degree relevant to the industry I work in. So besides relevant work-related experience (5 years in this industry) and a degree, my gross salary has only risen to $2,512 after a recent promotion. Compare this to my foreign colleague who is a young graduate from his foreign university with NO experience in this industry (but doing the same jobs as our Singaporean colleagues) and on Employment Pass. And please check MOM’s monthly minimum income requirement for foreign workers who are Employment pass holders: it has to be at least S$3,000. (http://www.mom.gov.sg/foreign-manpower/passes-visas/employment-pass/before-you-apply/Pages/default.aspx)
        Is this the work opportunity you were referring to?

    • calebjd said

      Solsticesg’s comment, which probably might pass off as offensive to many (like me, at first!), but it did make me think.

      It is all too easy to blame the government and the constant waves of FTs coming into Singapore. And I do agree, that is a problem. But is that the only problem? Or is that just a problem that is all too easy to point a finger at when things are not going our way? I’m lucky to have a good paying job now, and I’m doing everything I can to hold on to it. I believe that opportunities come and go, and when they go, they are probably never going to come back. What are your expectations in life? What opportunities has pass you, without you grabbing it because it doesn’t meet your expectations?

      Over-qualification and being too old hold more meaning then you would think. It isn’t about salary; chances are, you have already stated your expected salary. So why then, would an employer choose a younger fresh-grad for the job? Think about it. Perhaps, it’s not them. Perhaps it’s the author. I gather from how he has written his article, he had a good job in the past. Or he expects it. Perhaps, it’s that attitude and personality that is not expected of an entry-level staff, thus him not getting the jobs.

      But the burning question would be, why stop then? Why stop at becoming a taxi driver? I understand one can’t just sit at home and keep waiting, be it actively or passively for a job. But at the same time, why suddenly content one’s self with being a taxi driver and blame fate for the unfortunate lot it has cast? Is the author still actively looking for a job? Or has he just settled for being a driver for the rest of his life?

      So many questions, and so few right answers. I have never made any statements, as there is too little to go by. I’m not saying Singapore is an idle place to have a job, and definitely not saying that the current Government is doing things right. But, I just believe there is a lot more to each situation the author points out, and to his background, then just a seemingly unlucky man shafted by the government.

      • sweetbean said

        But that’s not what you said is it Solsticesg. You said EDUCATION COUNTS FOR NOTHING. Now you are trying to qualify your statement. You make very sweeping statements. There could be many reasons why Taxi Uncle may have remained unemployed. Do not judge someone else’s journey just because you have had a different one. There are many stories of how people have risen and fallen – some through bad choices others through circumstance. Please have a little more tolerance for the plight of others. Congratulations to you that you made the most of your life. Some others may not have been so fortunate – perhaps you could at least entertain that idea.

    • WP for hougang! said

      come on lah. Everybody knows we need cheap foreign labour to make ourselves more attractive to foreign investments. Otherwise, these investors will rather flock to the developing countries like PRC and India where labour is much cheaper.
      That’s the main reason why u see many foreigners around us nowadays. Certainly not because they are better, but rather they are cheaper to hire without NS commitments and CPF, etc.
      Many competent Singaporeans are leaving in droves now. With the bulk of our population being filled by the new low-quality immigrants and those self-serving bigots in civil service, Singapore’s hey days will be over very soon.

    • kangaroo logic said

      LKY and son’s version is way superior to JF Kennedy:

      “ask not what your govt can do for you but what you can do for the govt ”
      > for the govt = for the PAP = for us give govt more ideas on how to collect like COEs, ERPs, GST, CPF, HDB, Foreigners influx, Casinoes,Turf Club, 4D, TOTO, BigSweep, etc…..we are running short of reasons to collect not everyone can become millionaire ministers <

    • Kevin said

      Well said Solsticsg

    • Eric said

      I second Solsticesg. Let it not seem that complainers who are more vocal are the majority over the fighters who persevere quietly. The system is not perfect, no system in the world is. There are bound to be people who have fallen through the crack but we cannot then raise the safety net and become a welfare state. If we were not competitive we would not survive in the world. Education does not imply a good life (as claimed by the original poster), no education does not imply a failed life (look at the many entrepreneurs who have achieved success without a so called ‘complete education’). Education informs and equips, but it is you who has to make meaning out of it and make the best out of it. It is always easy to blame others.

    • cd ang said

      well said

    • Regime change said

      First of all, people who works in the coffee shop most likely do not have degrees. Second, nothing to do with whether you take the opportunity when it is presented to you or not. If you happen to be in the wrong industry where the gahmen allows foreign workers into it, then there is nothing much you can do. Pray that gahmen will not allow free access of foreigners into it otherwise you will end up in the same situation….unless of course you are one of those “white horse” thingy.

  6. ellery chua said

    Singapore the fairy tale version effect. Should have told her that while a Ozy taxi driver makes on an average A$100,000 per year (my guess is there is some under declaring here on this amount) Singapore drivers are lucky to make not declare S$24000 to $$30000 a year. The stories about $4000 to $5000 per month earning by taxi drivers are nearly a myth, translated to real world talk you need to run 14 to 15 hour driving on the road shift and be hard at work for those hours and added to that having a lucky day every day. The joke is that to that every day seven days a week is like the american biz con game that a company can increase turnover every quarter for ever. Then she might have understood something. Cab fares in Singapore like all low income jobs is kept artificially low; with the taxi owning companies making fantastic profit from renting out the cabs, and the hiring drivers sweating it out to make a living without killing themselves.

    Taxi drivers seem to be unfortunate that they can look forward as a special bonus from the job of having higher rate of becoming either a stroke, high blood, heart or diabetic patient. Talking about high risk low pay job. If this was told to all prospective taxi drivers I think many would reconsider. Out of 3 of my neighbors who are drivers, 1 is dead – heart failure, 1 is now having a left side motor reaction impairment, one is a diabetic. The range of year driving is from 1 to 25 years; with the majority below 4 years. Talk about playing russian roulette with 3 bullets in a revolver.

  7. Roland said

    This puts everything into perspective.

  8. Yes, if only the PAP members know our plight, if only they would stop bringing in these so called ft’s to ruin our lives, if only….. the list goes on. However, dear brother, be careful too & thank our lucky stars that the day will not come for these so-called fts to take away your job as taxi drivers as well. Do take care & rest whenever your dear body calls for it. Have a great business day ahead!

    • Bulls said

      Honey, the PAP members don’t give a shit. They are bringing in all these dirt cheap peasants from 3rd world countries, and give them citizenship. Whether they are prostitutes, scums, rapists, robbers or psychos, PAP don’t care, all they want is their vote to keep them in power.

      All you can do is pray for PAP to die with cancer.

      • Jhuniuo said

        What will happen when PAP “dies with cancer”?
        Is there a credible opposition party?

        As much as I wish for a multi-party cabinet, I am not prepared to have a less credible opposition in the government. We have too few Chen Show Maos around.

        Singapore is still very well run by many standards. I really wish more Singaporeans have the chance to live abroad in the UK or US. Only then will more realise that Singapore is really the place to live.

    • ellery chua said

      Sister where have you living ? PaPland ? Most of the problems we the citizens face are acceptable collateral damage from the policies the government decided will be best to maintain that shiny fake exterior call Singapore – the eCONomical miracle. As long as they and their own are not marginalized, have higher than normal pay, do not need to work to job performance targets basically not have to live the live ordinary folks have , it okay. Let us hide from the fact – they know what is happening, if they did not then they have even less right to be in the drivers seat.

  9. just a thought said

    I feel for your, mister taxi uncle. i believe more of Singaporean will follow your footstep as we find ourselves rejected by the companies whom seek cheap foreign labor.. sigh~ sucks to be a singaporean

  10. So Sad said

    Very Very Very SAD

  11. salute said

    says a whole lot.

  12. daniel-solomon said

    don’t look at the “mountain”, because our Spore govt is one of the best, better than China or indonesia govt- where corruption is most rampant in Jakarta

    • sweetbean said

      I keep hearing this argument but I remain unconvinced. Let me explain why. Say for example your father slaps you once a day, every day, whether or not you have done anything wrong. You feel hurt and confused and sad. However, you find out that your neighbours are much worse off. Their fathers beat them everyday with a cane and a belt until they are black and blue. Does this now mean that you are going to say OH WELL life is not so bad for me then – I’m much better off because I only get one slap a day. You cannot make something right by looking for a worse situation and saying that the wrong thing is OK because it is not as bad as the other wrong thing. If this was the case then a woman who is raped by one man should say OH WELL that other girl was gang raped so I’m not so bad la! For goodness sake people grow a brain. Do not compare countries. Anyway, hasn’t it already been said a gazillion times we are Uniquely Singapore. While it is still a good country to live in there are things WRONG with it and looking at Jakarta or China will not make those things right. The people have a right to discuss/complain/offer suggestions whenever they feel something is not right. This is what is called democracy and last time I checked that’s what we still supposed to be.

  13. Never Mind What They Think said

    Don’t really blame her…afterall 60.1% of the voters here are dumber than her.

  14. Anthony Lim said

    Please ask her stay a little longer … Whahahaha!

  15. qisg said

    If Taxi Uncle really thinks Australia is so great, why doesn’t he emigrate? The truth is, of course, that there a many, many jobs in Singapore for any Singaporean with marketable skills. Example: I was just talking with a (Singaporean) senior manager in property management company this morning. She said that they can’t find Singaporeans willing to work as condo managers or assistant managers, even though they pay very, very well — people say it’s “too stressful”. And, of course, they also can’t find Singaporeans willing to work as accountants. She added that hiring foreigners is increasingly not at option because the MOM has tightened up on work permits. As a result, they are not taking on new projects.

    • sweetbean said

      Anecdotal at best. Please provide better statistics than one company, one senior manager. Go talk to at least a few thousand jobless Singaporeans and get the answer then you post. Or maybe you ask that manager to post his job ad here.

    • Aust better than S'pore said

      I believe he has missed the chance of migrating, may be S’pore still not so bad when he was eligible to migrate, I can feel that he is regretting it now but it’s too late for him to migrate now as a skilled migrant as he is already age 50.
      S’pore should learn from Aust to have min wages and work life balance.

  16. tan said

    AGREED… My hb becomes a cabby few yrs ago after retrenchment… He is working very hard to support the family of 5. He cannot slack… Standard of living here is always increasing. My kids dun get to talk to their dad often… He is always out in the morning 9am n back and midnight.

  17. Descended said

    Sorry :(

  18. Ron said

    Not sure what degree this taxi driver got. My advice to Singaporeans, choose your career carefully and always expect to be retrenched. Go for the harder jobs (shipyard, construction, manufacturing, engineering firms, etc.) where you can pick up usable skills that can be used here and overseas.

    And save, save, save for the rainy day. Finding a job can be brutal unless someone open doors. And always prepare for alternative routes. Otherwise the cab driver seat is waiting for you. Maybe it is better to be a bus driver then. A hungry stomach drives one to desperate measures to take on lower paid jobs.

  19. Muhammad Nor said

    I went through the whole process like he said and experienced the things that he went through 6 years ago.I was out job for nearly 7 months with house mortgage and car loan to service it really hard on me. Just to survive daily is a grind and as last resort I work as a Security Guard on a dreadful 12 hours shift. It seems I’m being penalized for being too old mind you at that time I was only 47 and fit with no medical condition. I made up my mind to seek overseas opportunities and venture to a foreign land. If Singapore do not want me with my accumulated experience, then I rather gamble overseas and leave it to fate.
    Now I’m settled in a foreign country with a decent pay and acceptable standard of living even though I’m treated as a foreigner and don’t have much say. It’s much better to end up as foreigner with a decent job than stay in Singapore with a shittiest job!

  20. Kryz said

    I come from auto industry serving the taxi companies, I dun like them but i want to clarify some stuff here:

    It is possible to earn 4k-5k as a taxi driver…you just need to know where to find your biz…taxi companies are indeed taking alot from the rental but who is maintaining the vehicle i.e. service costs and wear / tear parts? The taxi drivers or the taxi companies? There is always 2 sides to a coin…

    • ellery chua said

      Sooo do you want to become a taxi driver and earn that 4-5K ? Smile may you can do even better than 5K ? Many talk about it like it was so simple – try doing and achieving it then talk about it. There are many taxi drivers out there who like to claim this is easy to do, some because they are amongst the small percentage that can do this others because they want face.

  21. Family Man said

    Too many Singaporeans are already in this predicament!!!

  22. K said

    aussies are generally nice people at least she was polite and kept the conversation sugar coated

  23. Jhuniuo said

    Singaporeans should really stop whining. No country is perfect. Just living in the UK for less than a year as a student has already made me realised Singapore is very well run.

    The foreigner problem here is even worse. I see more pakistanis, indians and africans than whites sometimes. It’s really ridiculous. The obsession with human rights led to people from third world nations seeking asylum in the UK. This has taken a drain on the system because the govt pays for their expenses.

    Some Singaporeans respond by saying that the UK is a welfare state hence they live a better country. WRONG. they paid taxes from 20% to 50%. The free healthcare and high pension schemes come with a cost. Do you want beggars to get themselves drunk to get scooped up to the hospital every night to get free treatment and then to be released on the streets again to beg and buy alcohol to drink themselves drunk again?

    Singapore, though imperfect, is still a liveable city. It is still meritocratic. Do you think it’s that easy to balance externalities and that of our local interests? Singapore is so small that we can never afford to remain closed up to the entire world. We need to open up and move along globalisation else we face elimination.

    • sweetbean said

      I see that you highlight the foreigner problem in the UK in order to say that home is so much better because too many foreigners there. Hmmmm…maybe that’s what all the people posting here are trying to say. We don’t want to be the next UK. If the influx becomes too great, by the time you finish your education, home might feel very much like the UK to you. But we hope not:)

      • Jhuniuo said

        Singapore won’t ever be like the UK because:

        1) we are not obsessed with human rights hence we don’t accept 10,000s of asylum seekers yearly who do not contribute to the economy

        2) the government is ever PAP hence the policies do not change haphazardly like in the UK, which causes economic uncertainty and judicial inconsistency because top judges are reappointed when there is a change in government

        3) Singapore will never raise taxes to the level of UK or Europe, because it is never in our interests to establish a welfare state. We advocate self-reliance. Hence even if the PRCs here can’t speak English, at least they contribute to the economy and not leech on government weekly cash handouts like here in the UK. My grandfather couldn’t speak English too when he first came to Singapore, but my dad made it to Raffles Institution anyway. Give these immigrants some time. Be fair to them.

  24. calebjd said

    Reading this article and reading the comments got me thinking.

    Solsticesg’s comment, which probably might pass off as offensive to many (like me, at first!), but it did make me think.

    It is all too easy to blame the government and the constant waves of FTs coming into Singapore. And I do agree, that is a problem. But is that the only problem? Or is that just a problem that is all too easy to point a finger at when things are not going our way? I’m lucky to have a good paying job now, and I’m doing everything I can to hold on to it. I believe that opportunities come and go, and when they go, chances are, they are never going to come back. What are your expectations in life? What opportunities has pass you, without you grabbing it because it doesn’t meet your expectations?

    Over-qualification and being too old hold more meaning then you would think. It isn’t about salary; chances are, you have already stated your expected salary. So why then, would an employer choose a younger fresh-grad for the job? Think about it. But, perhaps, it’s not any of that. Perhaps, it’s not them. Perhaps it’s the author. I gather from how he has written his article, he had a good job in the past. Or he expects it. Perhaps, it’s that attitude and personality that is not expected of an entry-level staff, thus him not getting the jobs.

    But the burning question would be, why stop then? Why stop at becoming a taxi driver? I understand one can’t just sit at home and keep waiting, be it actively or passively for a job. But at the same time, why suddenly content one’s self with being a taxi driver and blame fate for the unfortunate lot it has cast? Is the author still actively looking for a job? Or has he just settled for being a driver for the rest of his life?

    So many questions, and so few right answers. I have never made any statements, as there is too little to go by. I’m not saying Singapore is an idle place to have a job, and definitely not saying that the current Government is doing things right. But, I just believe there is a lot more to each situation the author points out, and to his background, then just a seemingly unlucky man shafted by the government.

  25. hokkien peng said

    unfortunately, that’s the general experience of singaporean above the age of 40 years being out of a job. that’s the PMET group. that has been my own experience too since i lost my job at the age of 40.

    the younger people will not understand it, until they are old enough, and they fall into the same group.

  26. jack said

    Stop crying like a baby… I am now in the USA and Singapore is still the already very good… No country is perfect and the growth and many things we have in SG is good. Try to wait for a train in the US its 20 mins and oh train delay is expected please expect further delays blah blah blah.. Singaporean is taking things for granted.. Really…sad person you are…to keep having negative thoughts… So sad you taxi drivers.. ><|||

    • Jhuniuo said

      I agree whole-heartedly with you. Having spent less than a year here in the UK as a student I have come to the conclusion that Singapore is extremely well run.

      To those Singaporeans complaining that Singapore is overrun with foreigners please come to the UK. London is no longer regarded as part of England to the English. The chances of hearing English on the streets is probably 0.5.

    • Celeb said

      What the heck are you talking about?
      The author is talking about difficulties of getting a job and making a living, and you compare it with waiting for trains and taking things for granted?

      How is difficulties in getting a job due age favoritism and difficulties in making living linked to taking things for granted?

      If “Singapore is still the already very good”, why are you “now in the USA”? Studying I guess?

  27. 龙的传人 said

    Many ppls say taix can earn $30000 a mth 。笫二月进医院。第三个月毕月典礼。
    One day 24hr driving non stop !
    疾病緾身疲劳过度。
    有钱也没命花!

    • alan said

      got a friend who is at the states working as a waiter earning about USD 3k to 4k.

      keen asking me to go over there, say can intro me to job.

      • Wow, I didn’t know it was that easy. Just go over and BAM! start working for a high salary. Silly me, thinking proper procedures, work experience, and some form of legal documents to reside in the country mattered. But totally dude, waiters in the States make at LEAST 3k, but usually, it’s 10k. Just hop on a plane and come over. Don’t worry about where to stay, paperwork, or a resume. America makes special exceptions for Singaporeans, ESPECIALLY ones named Alan.

  28. A Student said

    As an NUS Student who is in an engineering course, I guess I might share the same sentiments, even at this age of 21 (after serving 2 awful years in a vocation that had only 1 weekend off a month and every other day was a work day) I have to work, F****** Hard just to keep my GPA/CAP at a decent 3.3-3.5. These China and Indian Scholars are insane, they study really hard, are brilliant, and yes, many of them are filthy rich. Because of NUS’s system of the bell curve, only a certain percentage can get A, and get B etc. Hence, all the A’s and most B’s go to the foreigners or the really brilliant Singaporeans. To the decently smart/average people like me, if I get B+, I would be crying with joy.

    Mind you, my course of Engineering has only 180 students, out of which 100 (no I am not joking) are NON-SINGAPOREANS/FOREIGNERS. I have to force myself to take part in competitions, CCA’s, events just to show that I did something extra, for no overseas exchange program, scholarship or hell, even a company would take me with the grades I’m scoring. I live a painful fucking life, and every day, I just am dying to beat these people. I’m sure many Singaporeans in NUS or NTU would sympathize with me (especially those in engineering).

    Life is tough, and honestly, the future doesn’t look all fine and dandy. Just bleak, bleak as hell.

  29. Gabriel said

    There is a simple solution..we should slow the fark down..create deflation…that will bring down property prices which will make everything else cheaper since RENTAL and HOUSING and COST OF FOOD DUE TO RENTALS are the bulk of our bill….make it harder to ppl to invest in our land…make it illegal to work after 5pm…

    This will kill our currency…

    thereafter we can all ride bicycles…have opportunities to become maids of other countries..since we do not go for holidays given our work and low pay…might as well have the opportunity to cross the border to earn double the money and live like king coming back home…

    we will make more babies then…the cycle starts all over again…lol…

  30. Kevin said

    The biggest mistake one can make is to blame others for any misfortune that befall upon them. They never stop to think it could be their own very actions that are to be blamed . Keep thinking negative n pointing fingers at others will lead to nowhere but more sadness n miseries . So sad taxi uncle ……

  31. Shawn the Train said

    This is a bullshit story. All the uncles I know with Taxi Uncle’s qualification and experience are still in their cushy jobs earning at least 5k or 3k at the least.

    The style of writing is so amateur… sounds like someone who has had so little experience in work and in life in general. Young boy…pls dont come here and fabricate stories just to stir shit. This is the difference between people who earn little money and people who earn alot of money.

    • TaxiUncle said

      Just like to reply to comment by “Shawn The Train” who said I was an amateur in my writing and was “some young boy”…
      and who also claimed that Taxi Driver (TD)“cushy job” and can earn 3k to 5k month?
      Sorry but I truly have to rebut here.

      Like most TDs, I work 12 hrs shift daily due to the need to cover fixed overhead ie rental fees,diesel ,even car wash. This means 72 hours per week (6days with 1 off-day) & to earn a commensurable income, I average some $80-$100 per shift or roughly 2.5k per mth.For this amt of income, there is no CPF, annual or sick leave, iample insurance coverage,even workmen’s compo etc etc.Even Medisave u gotta pay from yr own pocket!In fact ,if u get the flu, u still gotta pay rental w/out exception. As for breaks, this is optional…u can hv 10 per day if u wish (since u are king of yr own castle) but meter not running, nobody pays yr salary!

      So every TD goes to answer call of nature at literally “yr own expense” i.e pee more, earn lesser! FYI, its not uncommon to hear TDs sometimes hv to pee in plastic bags so as not to “lose their place in a queue”.Some other “job perks” include hving to constantly clean vomot outa yr taxi from dead drunks, with the occasional dog poo thrown in for good measure!Actually taxi life is quite cosy as you can sit in the same position for hours on end and its great when u suffer from haemorrhoids like myself haha. In addition, there is always the constant verbal banters to engage in with accusatory pax who will always claim that u are a constant fare-cheat! Wow, what an exciting life!!!

      Actually driving taxi has been a step-up for me as my previous job before this was a car park valet earning $5per hr. Did u say I was an amateur and a young fool? The truth is I am over 50 yrs old, an ex-PMET as a HR practioner & Customer Svc Mgr with an overseas degree from Down Under during my younger days. I certainly can tell u some horror stories abt being those countless job rejections, even for $6per hr pay as a “themePark operator” with RWS when my completion was predominantly young girlish pinoys which all look like maids! I was given the snub by the smirky job interviewer while the pinoys all got work contracts on the spot!! Applied clerical jobs for 1.5k sal, security guards posts, delivery driver …all rejected or looked over by preferred Malaysian candidates or lower educated Sinkies! Do u think SG employers would consider giving older ex-PMET with degree a chance? Wait long long! Yes I previously earned 80k annual sal as PMET but at older age in this “environment”, see if u have snowball’s chance in hell to land an executive post with half yr previous salary!!!

      Perhaps u thinking ah this bloke must be choosy! Alamak, I tell u I would have killed for getting any decent job with the IRs i.e croupier, cage assistant, front desk man even if bell-hop i would mind! But after some 10 visits at e2i for “Industry previews for IR jobs” and uncountable job applications there, not even a job interview given!!
      Ask yrself why in the world someone with my work experience and qualifications would wanna drive taxi?? Aiming for early heart attack is almost a certainty at my age in this trade!One more thing! Tis I gotta ask u? Since driving taxi is so “cushy” and so lucrative, why don’t u apply for a Taxi Vocational Licence? Any dodo with half a brain can also obtain one. Just see all the ahbeng half-witted taxiuncles out there and u go figure the “difficulty” of becoming a TD! Man, I implore u to go change profession and start driving taxi la! Quick, Don’t wait la! Do it tomorrow! Happy Driving!!!

      • Shawn the Train said

        If you are truly an uncle that you claim to be than I’m surprised that no govt agencies (that are famous for keeping golden oldies like you, at a high cost at that, ask any private sector worker) or the SWDA has even offered to hire a UNIVERSITY GRADUATE with 20 OVER YEARS OF PMET EXPERIENCE that you claimed to your name. Once again, your style of writing, still not uncle-like.

    • Communist said

      The only difference between people who earn little money and people who earn alot of money is that the richer cant see that their being exploited by the government for their money and that this article is about how shit the life of a Singaporean has become like the difficulty of a native Singaporean finding a well paid job and surviving on it, rather than the worth of qualifications.

      All the uncles you know of eh? Such generalization base on your own contextual knowledge just shows how ignorant you are. I’m sure that there are many people like Taxi Uncle here, just that you do not know of.

  32. Eugene said

    Well spotted Shawn. I agree that this article is a fabrication. What are you doing Temasek Times??

    • Sibeiho said

      To be honest, even if this so happens to be a fabricated article, clearly the situation is applicable to most taxi drivers. And it applies to a good segment of ppl..reality is the jobs are slowly being taken over and creeping up to the managerial roles..can you foresee a decade later especially when managers chooses not to hire singaporeans..whoops..it’s happening already..check out our amazing casino:)

  33. Mad said

    Envy taxi drivers earnings of 4-5K? They don’t get CPF, No Medical benefits, No leave entitlement. What’s worse? They still need to pay for the rental even when they fall sick or take a day off. Mind you, rental ranges from $100 to $120 per day depending which taxi company you are rental from. Besides, if they fall ill, they pay for their own medical cost.

    Say, if rental is just $100/day, it’s already $3K per month! If you’re earning $5K after 12 hours of driving daily, you’re only left with $2K per month.

    Don’t taxi drivers have ever increasing electrical and water utility bills to pay for? What about financial support for their children, household allowances, HDB mortgage (they have to deposit $$$ into their CPF account themselves!) and daily necessities? They can hardly make ends met!

    So, do you think they want to do this high risk, low pay job?

    Do you think they haven’t lowered their expectation with other jobs so they’ll have a better quality of life and more time with the family? Just like Uncle Taxi? Do you think they won’t except other jobs that are less attractive? It’s not so much that they didn’t grab the opportunity when it comes, I believe they are not given the opportunity in the first place. I believed Uncle Taxi has applied for many different jobs.

    If you’re single, you may not understand a family man’s struggle. If you’re not of his age, you may not have met that kind of challenges. If you’re having a stable job, esp. with PAP or a high flyer elitist, you will not understand since you’re not at that level.

    I know the experiences of taxi drivers from those people I came across. I myself have experienced those rejections like Uncle Taxi. A senior manager being a contracted administration assistant. Yes, eat humble pie just to make ends meet. Yes, do well in your job as an AA, but does that mean that they’ll continue to give you the job after the contract ends? Or, when they give you a permanent job as AA if they position becomes available? Ok. From my experience, they told me a did a good job and have considered me as a permanent staff, but they couldn’t give it to me because they decided to transfer someone from another department from another subsidiary. Bad luck! What’s worse? You have to train the young lady everything that you know. Then, they said, “you did well in imparting all the knowledge. Thanks!” That’s all you get. Any other job opportunity? No.

    Welfare countries are no good? You only see the high tax but when you really need it when you’re old or when you have serious illness, you’ll realise the high tax you paid is all well worth it since the government will foot all your bill and even give you allowance. Singapore don’t charge you high tax? You have been had. You pay more in fact, with ERP, and with the ever raising cost for all those basic necessities like transportation fees, health care, electrical and water utility bills, education fees, etc. You’re less well off.

  34. If it makes you feel better, I am a foreigner who spent 8 years in Singapore. I have never experienced anything more close to hell in my life. The people were rude and have issues with everyone and everything, constantly complaining. The government only knows how to ‘quick fix’ everything and control the people. The problems and issues of the country kept getting worse and this only caused the delusions and excuses to become stronger and more frequent. I find it extremely laughable that Singaporeans can criticize and degrade other races and countries when their own is extremely lacking in many areas. All I can say is, I KNOW the Aussie gal must have been on a vacation or visit and have money. I doubt she had to take a train during rush hour, having to go through the delays and constant shoving and rude ‘me first because I’m so damn important’ behavior. I’m sure she didn’t have to see the trash bins with trash everywhere EXCEPT in the bin. Pretty sure she didn’t have to deal with people talking about her in a non-English language critically, just because she’s white. For those who get pampered and have their ass kissed, of course they think it’s great. For the general population, I guess they just have to kid themselves into believing such lies, just to make it through the day. I’ve finally managed to leave with my family and even my mother, a born and bred Singaporean, has no wish of ever going back. We are all very happy now and enjoy being able to have our freedom and encounter gracious behavior, consideration for others, manners, and friendliness on a daily basis. As far as I’m concerned, Singaporeans need to just stay in their country and keep their complaining, disgusting behaviors and attitudes, and delusions of grandeur to themselves.

    • Shawn the Train said

      get lost then

    • Sibeiho said

      I must apologize on behalf of the other reader’s comment but that is what happens when frustration sets in like yours..in your long winded comments I believe there is only one distinctive issue u brought up, which is boarding of the trains..perhaps if you give some thoughts of the cause, the issue might be clearer to u..if more of you leave the country we probably would take our time boarding the train:)

  35. Shang said

    Totally agree

  36. Yuki said

    Must be kidding me if one thinks only Singaporeans complain, I have seen my fair share of foreigners from different countries and all walks of lives complain over petty things like spoilt brats, ranting away like half-baked cupcakes. ‘Why do we not share the same benefits as the citizens? We pay our taxes!’ is what I always hear. (Come on, so tired of it, be more creative please) You mean foreigners in this country do not criticize, degrade and disparage on other races and countries? Are you living in Saturn or Pluto? If not then perhaps one should equips oneself with some lingual skills, all you need to do is know their language to understand the nasty things things being sprout. Never fail to amuse me :)

    Most don’t understand that the foreigners are being resented not because of their race and where they come from, it is the sucky cocky attitude. If one wants to be treated nicely, dont be rude oneself.

    Talk about sense of entitlement, the foreigners will want to teach the locals that, absolutely laughable.

  37. John Adrian said

    Mr taxi uncle. Just wanna know how much of that $8(for example, if 20% = $1.6) actually makes it frm your pocket… to your bank account. U know.. After deducting ALL Costs involved(I.e taxi rental and/or depreciation, fuel, taxes and any other hidden costs that I’m not aware of)

  38. Zi Xuan said

    we must be contended with what we have right now, at least no child in Singapore is deprived of education right? as much as we hated foreigners coming into our country, we cannot deny that we needed them. they attract the foreign investors and thus creating more jobs for us too:) instead of always relying on the government on everything and expecting life to be easy, its time we count on ourselfs and work hard. Life is not easy

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