Thursday, May 5, 2011

Life in Singapore – Let’s talk about cabs and cab drivers | Post 2


With this blogging marathon, when I write a post every day, I would also try and cover certain aspects of my life here in Singapore. Nothing too scholarly, just a bit of what I observe and infer.

This island of Singapore amazes me in more ways than I can list. With a total land area of just about 700 km² it is one of the smallest Asian countries. It’s just a tiny dot on the map. But it still has about 26000 taxis on road at any point of time. And best way to know a city is to talk to its taxi drivers. The insights they will give you about a place will be far deeper than anyone else. 

This morning I had another very interesting conversation with the taxi driver while coming to office. He told me that the taxi drivers were the most “non-preferred” category of prospective grooms in Singapore. It was very difficult to find wives for cab drivers. Reason being that taxi drivers were considered rude and arrogant from Singapore standards. Now that sounds totally incredulous to an Indian and more importantly to someone who has lived in Bangalore for 5 years. Because, we know a rude taxi driver when we see one. These Singaporeans cab drivers are by far calmer and better mannered than their counterparts in most countries.

But yes, compared to other Singaporeans they might be considered arrogant. You know, Singapore is a much pampered society. They follow their rules and they listen to their government. And in return they live a life which is envied by many others. The quality of life here I guess is among the top five globally, the crime rate second only to New Zealand. This kind of comfort living has made the citizens very matter of fact. To quote the cab driver “We Singaporeans behave like Robots”

And maybe this is why the cab guys are considered rude. You tell them to go straight and they will, but if you change your mind mid way and ask them to pull over, they will grumble. Everything is relative. And these folks who might appear delightful to us Indians are not the most sought after category locally. 

19 comments:

sliceofmylyfe said...

Excellent insight Iya. Enjoyed the post thoroughly. Such nitty gritties, one can get only when one takes a deep interest in others' cultures.

sraikh said...

Hey, I was born and brought up in Singapore and I love the taxi uncles.

They provide the most interesting pieces of conversation.

I think this is my first comment here.. Off to check your archives

Mystic Margarita said...

Nice to read about the cab drivers in Singapore, Iya. Always interesting to get to know about people in other parts of the world.

tarabhatt said...

now this is the kind of post I was looking for, from you.. the snippets of life in la land... keep it going i say :)

Iya said...

@ Annie - thanks hon! Will use this month to write such posts..

@ Sraikh - Lovely connecting with u! see you around :)

@ Mystic - I am so happy u are joining in too!

Iya said...

@ tara - thanks lady, i have always listened to u! will write some more posts like these :)

Prats said...

You know coming from India when you speak to Singapore Cab drivers they don't seem to be rude at all... never knew they are considered rude in the S'pore society

Life Begins said...

That was pretty interesting. Having been there once - i can totally remember now how some of them showed us the ways around ;)

Iya said...

@ Prats - that was exactly my reaction too. But like i said its relative..

@ Life Begins - that they do, they are no villains, just that they are not as sweet as they are expected to be by local standards..

Monika said...

they must be made to meet bangalore auto wallhas only then they will know what being rude is :)

Swaram said...

I think it applies to autowalas anywhere here. Not limited to Blr may be ;)
But eh, I found Singapore ones really sweet too :)

Deeps said...

That was some interesting info on Singapore cab-drivers. Like Swaram said, you could such traits in our autowalas too :D

Meena said...

A nice way to get people to know ur part of the world... Insightful! BTW do u miss our loudmouthed haggling auto drivers?

Iya said...

@ Monika - and that is why i was surprised. having dealt and suffered at the hands of many such auto wallas..

@ Swaram - yeah, thats what i said.. thats the difference. Its all about relative comparisons!

Iya said...

Deeps: True!!

@ Meena - ah, miss them! i am so happy not to have to deal with them anymore :)

SMM said...

Uffff twice I typed out my comment and this stupid thing ate it up :(

I was comparing Bombay/ Cal cabbies with those in HK. In Bombay/ Cal, your entirely at their mercy if the cabbie wants to go or not, but in HK if their light is on then they are compulsorily required to go where the passenger tells them go

Iya said...

@ sup - a lot of people are saying this about blogger. kya karoon?

Smitha said...

I love the taxi rides here as well :) I end up having some real interesting conversation with some of them.. Some of them though are really rude and extremely bad drivers too :(

Iya said...

@ Smitha - so you find all types everywhere!