Friday, January 12, 2007

Taxi Story - The Chinese Indonesian

"I have a wife and son. I am very proud of my son. He has worked very hard at university and in this second year of his study he has three distinctions. He is doing better than me in this crazy taxi adventure. I was born in Indonesia but I am part of the Chinese minority. It was hard where we lived, to make a living. So when I was eight my father took me to Singapore. He was buying textiles for making clothes but he could not sell them in Singapore. He had to ship them into Singapore and then on sell them to Jakarta. He was always busy and always worried about his textiles not arriving or being stolen. But we were never able to fit into Singapore. We were viewed as migrants and not really welcome. So my father sent me to England to finish my schooling. I went to a college in Liverpool. I was very lucky but what a terrible town. And I could not stay in England. I could not live in Singapore either. I had to go back to Indonesia, where my Liverpool certificate meant nothing. I could not get any work in Indonesia. One day I heard the Australian Minister for Immigration say "if you want to come to Australia just knock on the front door" He was talking about the boat people who thought they could come in the back door. So I knocked on the front door and to my surprise four months later I and my family were allowed in. Now I drive a taxi by day and I clean by night. My wife does not drive so we live close to everything we need, including the university my son attends. He is very clever and I am proud of him. But I should have bought a taxi plate when I had a chance - they were only $160,000 then. I missed an opportunity. Now I am 42 and I drive and clean. But my boy is doing well. I am very lucky and have nothing to fear."

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