Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Singapore Cabby writes.....



Did you guys get a hold of today's Today? There is a outstanding letter by a cabby . I'm impressed not just by his logic, but also by his command of English language. It is apparent to me that this cabby is well educated.

Whenever I take taxis in Los Angeles, there is a 95% chance that the cabby is a new immigrant who hardly speaks English - I've taken taxis driven by Russians, Nigerians, Estonians and Rumanians. For these new immigrants to USA, driving a taxi is an entry point to something better in life. It is a chance for them to get to know the city better and earn a decent living. I found out by chatting to Los Angeles taxi drivers that they can get by making less than 10 trips a day, so life is easy for them they can work 6-8 hours a day most of the time its waiting around for a call.

In Singapore, things are different - all taxi drivers are Singaporeans. Just last week I met 2 taxi drivers with university degrees and one with an MBA - all of them claimed that they were retrenched when their companies hired younger foreign talents to replace them. In Singapore driving a taxi is a last resort when you get retrenched from your job and can't get another job. More than half the earnings of a taxi driver goes to the taxi companies as rental and for fuel. There is no such thing as leave or holidays. A typical taxi driver drives for 10-12 hours a day - there is no medical benefits, no CPF and no pension. ...Yet you can easily find taxi drivers with a university education. .....and every year the GLC - Comfort Cabs report double digit earnings growth

My point is Singaporeans are so lucky to have such well educated cabbies. In other countries, such the well educated people would be employed as professionals in various organisations. In Singapore we have numerous foreign talents to help fill those professional positions so that Singaporeans can be freed up to work as cabbies. We have cabbies who are so well educated they can write to the forum page of Today using better English than some of our ministers (e.g. Lim Swee Say) . Singaporeans are lucky indeed to be driven around by well educated cabbies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

lucky tan might become lucky cabby in future too!