Taxi Driver from SIN!

20 Apr 2010 – Not Hell…

Arrived in SIN 19 Apr 0100hrs and my punishment was that I did not have the correct change for the taxi-fares. First the sights & grunts when he heard my destination (app 15mins from the airport), then driving like there is no tomorrow, with one hand on his mobile and his obnoxious loud voice shouting… all the signs were there to expect the worst! The meter flashed S$8.20 at journey’s end and since it was after mid-night, am very well aware of the surcharges but not that much. Trying to pull a fast one by telling me that the fares was S$22 got me to question him.

Frustrated, he realised that I am not that gullible and a S$50 note triggered the devil out, cursing me left and right since he could not make change. Told him to wait as there is a 7-11 around the corner. Explained the situation to a kind young man who made change and he told me to take note of the taxi number. Paid S$16.20 to get cursed up and down again. Thoughts of asking for a receipt but then I do cherish my life… the lunatic was so angry that he nearly hit another car on his way out after I unloaded my own luggage. Was initially tired but could not sleep until after I wrote the complain to the company. If I get stalked or beaten up, the culprit is a middle-age Chinese taxi driver/SHB 8952U who drove me from the Budget Terminal to Marine Crescent on 19 Apr 0100hrs…

Prefers the BMW/Bus-MRT-Walk most times but sadly not available after midnight. Would have walked if I had no check-in bag. Have encountered enough of rude SIN taxi drivers, but this one tops the list. Welcome to SIN and to their courtesy & smiling campaigns! To use the phrase, Taxi Driver from Hell will be an insult to Hell in Norway and might also be an insult to the other hell!

Hell is located in Lånke/Stjørdal/Nord-Trøndelag/Norway- about 352 people live in the center of Hell but the whole village’s population is app 1,500. Been thru’ Hell many times in the 1970s en-route from Oslo to Tromsø for summer jobs during college days from Dublin. Due to it’s name, Hell has become a minor tourist attraction. The station sign reads Gods-expedition, an old spelling of the Norwegian word for cargo handling=godsekspedisjon would be the current spelling. The name Hell stems from the Old Norse word hellir=overhang or cliff cave. The Norwegian word hell=luck. The Old Norse word Hel is the same as today’s English Hell, as a proper noun. In modern Norwegian the word helvete=hell and god=gud.

Looking forward to be at Storlidalen in Trollheimen, Trøndelag area this Aug for god-daughter, Guri’s wedding… pray no more volcano’s fury! Hope to get some hiking in the mountains. Might make a visit to Hell again 🙂

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell – Buddha

8 thoughts on “Taxi Driver from SIN!

  1. This reminds me of a sad fact, that the Singapore Tourism Board spends many millions a year advertising Singapore to foreigners. But when foreigners come, they get ungrateful, and sometimes very rude, cab drivers who complain bitterly about the government and everything else under the sun, and when the foreigners ask the locals about places to see in Singapore, they most probably would hear, “there is nothing to see in Singapore!” instead. It is beyond sad actually. It may make more sense for STB to spend millions educating and instilling a sense of pride to all cab drivers instead.

    On the other hand, the cost of living and the stressful environment in Singapore may have contributed to the rudeness in many cab drivers. They feel trapped, don’t see a way out, and when they are forced to drive 10 hrs a day just to put some food on the table, yet they have to share HALF of the food with the cab company, they are just ticking time bombs.

  2. The more I think about this, the sadder I have become.
    Sometimes cab drivers in LA or NYC can be very rude too, if they choose to, but generally, they aren’t as bad as the cab drivers in Singapore. So here I sit, asking why and staring right at the answer I don’t wish to even know.

    We often joke that American dreams aren’t dreams, they are nightmares. But for millions working their butts off to put food on the table, they still cling to that hope, that someday, somehow, they would make it big in America, never mind the taxes, the mess in the government, the failing of the education etc., they still have hope.

    On the other hand, many who labor hard for a living in Singapore don’t see any hope. There is no Singaporean Dream. They don’t believe that they can make it. They believe they are trapped, they know they are trapped, and the only cry of desperation they know is, sadly, to scream louder, to curse louder, and to bully others.

  3. You have a point there when you mentioned ‘the stressful environment in Singapore and the ticking time bombs’.

    But who contributes to this environment? When a society base their success on the materialistic values, there is no space for compassion and courtesy.

    Currently Singapore’s citizens is nearly 5mil. Figures are not my forte, so I stay with the alphabets.

    Once upon a time, Sang Nila Utama was shipwrecked on an island. Temesak (meaning sea town) was the island, then a calm, capacious, carefree, charming and comfortable fishing village. Was Sang Nila Utama high or was it due to poor eye sight that caused the confusion of a tiger to be a lion? Thus the illusion of a lion city continues

    The colonial days chronicled ceremony, change, commotion, constitution and culture.

    Independence contributed to the 5Cs – car, cash, condo, credit card and country club.

    Is it wise to keep pushing for an increase in population in a concrete, competitive and commercial community where smiling courteous campaigns are necessary? Have our statisticians and market researchers not taken into consideration with the configuration of the causes and consequences?

    So in the meanwhile, if I can help it, I will certainly avoid taking taxi!

  4. Thanks for stopping by and appreciate all your comments. Just discovered that you are Blurting’s friend from OR. She has mentioned you to me.

    I lived in CA & FL but that was over 10 years ago. When you visit SIN again, let’s meet and I am sure we have much in common to chat 🙂

  5. Amy, I’ve got some dodgy drivers too but don’t think it’s anything to do with S’pore. I’ve had really freaky ones in London (including the unlicensed mini cabbies) and New York. Worse, they expect to be tipped too.

    My theory is that taxi-driving for a living is stressful; besides having to contend with other drivers for 8-10 hrs a day; never sure whether u r going to get a fare; what happens if u need to go to the loo suddenly while u are on the highway; in a taffic jam; with an unsympathetic fare etc etc

  6. Once upon a time Singapore was surrounded by sea, nothing but sea. Life was simpler because there was nothing in between people and nature. We saw the power of nature everywhere we went. We were humbled by jungles & roaring sea; we knew our place.

    Today, the island is surrounded by malls, malls, and more malls. The power of consumerism is in full display, encouraging people to buy more, shop more, eat more, stay out-of-touch with nature but enjoy the so-called “better” life 🙂

    Oh I can talk so much now because I’m not living there. I bet you if I were to go back now, I would probably be a bitter person within a short period of time, wanting this and whining that just like everyone else! 🙂

    Doubt I will be in Singapore soon. But if you are thinking of hiking the PCT, well, come on over. I still haven’t found a group that wanna do the PCT (just the OR section) yet.

  7. Pingback: Years of Dust and Mess | 1st SIN 'AT' thru-hiker

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