Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Confessions Of A Cab Driver

If You Have To Ask, You Can't Afford It
The sub-editors at Straits Times should have been more prudent about uplifting the article from the Oriental Daily News (Chinese: 東方日報, is one of Malaysia's daily Chinese-language newspapers). The purported conversation between a Chinese Malaysian medical tourist and a Malay Singaporean cab driver is loaded with unpleasant truths.

On the surface, the column was a chance opportunity to cock a snook at Mahathir, by quoting the talkative cabby: "Many of his statements are actually very hurtful. It clearly shows that he does understand his fellow Malays in Singapore. He has lost touch with us."

His Malaysian passenger, a Gu Yuan You, had initiated the chit chat by engaging the cabby in Malay, claiming it would give him a sense of familiarity. The driver's reply was a surprise to him, "Actually, I have few opportunities to ferry passengers of my race, including those from Malaysia. So, of course I speak mainly English." Has the structure of the taxi-fares created another elitist socio-economic class for the privileged? An online guide to Singapore's taxi services has this blurb: "Zipping up and down the expressways and going from point to point is always more comfortable in a taxi, but this is a lifestyle that not many can afford. Thus, this enforces its symbol as an almost-luxurious way of travel."

While you ponder on the ramifications of the above curtain raiser, our knowledgeable cabby has this gem about affordability of medical care here:
"Mister, you are right (about standard of medical services). We are certainly more advanced than Kuala Lumpur. But we Singaporeans often pray that we only suffer from minor ailments. You must make sure you do not have to be hospitalised for another surgery. You'll be in trouble if you cannot pay the deposit. The hospital will not show you sympathy. I have come across one actual case whereby the patient, who was my passenger, was refused admission. We are very good in everything, except this."

So there must be a smidgen of truth in the story of the bicyclist, knocked down by a hit-and-run driver, who refused to be sent to the hospital because of his financial situation. It was making the rounds during GE 2006. What new horrors will surface in this year's election?


  1. In the City Of Sin where conscience has escaped the Beings, always expect the worst to get 'worster' or 'worsterer'.


  2. Tattler,
    the cab driver relating the story can now quote Khaw Boon Wan's claim of paying only 8 sing$ for surgery and of course emphasize the fact Khaw was formerly a Malaysian citizen.

    does Khaw translate to Malaysia's loss and Spore's gain or is it the other way around, Malaysians are blessed and Sporeans are screwed.

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