Monday, January 22, 2007

Taxi Story (mine) - Singapore

Where you go?
Furama Hotel.
Which hotel?
No Furama.
Actually there are a few of them.
Not in Singapore.
Oh, you mean Furama!
Yes please.
Which one?
Singapore is Chinatown
(thinking "don't be cute with me buster...)
Downtown Chinatown.
Downtown or Chinatown?
The Furama in Chinatown.
You know address?
Eu Tong Sen Street
Eu (oh) Tong Sen...Chinatown
You show me...
OK (you bastard)
(long silent drive from airport, with attempt to get him talking again)
Nice taxi.
How old is it?
How old is that?
One week.
(looking around to see what make of car, I could see no branding)
What make of car is the taxi?
Who makes it?
(long silent pause)
Ah, I see from the steering wheel the car is a Volkswagen.
No, this is "Vee Double U"
I thought they are the same thing.
No, this is "Vee Double U"
Made in Germany (or Brazil) by the same company.
No, this is better "Vee Double U". Make in Singapore.
Not a Volkswagen?
No such car.
(I spy the Furama on the horizon just before he is beaten to death with a nodding Buddha wrenched from off his dashboard)
There we go, the Furama.
I know.
You know?!
Yes, Chinatown Furama.
(said very slowly) I thought you said you did not know this Furama.
I live in Singapore fifty years. You think I know Furama?!!
(silence until we arrive)
That will be $14.65
(I hand him $15)
$15 please?
You said $14.65.
35 cents please.
Sorry, no tip. 35 cents please.
You safe to Furama
Sure, but you nearly not so safe! I'll be having that 35 cents please - I have earned it and you sure have not.
But you not know Singapore like me for fifty years.
True, but I know most are not like you here. Bye. (With my 35 cents).


eastcoastlife said...

Most taxi drivers are not like him in Singapore. He's just pretending to be an idiot.

I agree he doesn't deserve the tip.

Pickled Eel said...

True, the vast majority (there are more than 30,000 taxi drivers in Singapore!!) are exceptional. And in 20 years I have never really had a bad experience with one - this guy was merely a highlight.

John Larkin said...

I have had hundreds and hundreds of excellent rides with Singaporean taxi drivers and a couple of rugged trips where he took this old ang moh the longer way home. On the whole however Singaporean taxi drivers are great, just like this oneTien Temple.

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