Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kidney Shocker

Here's a classic taxi-man tale about why you should not go and see a doctor. Even if you're dying. Unless you are from out of town.

After a long day's work and overtime, I finally flagged down a taxi in Queenstown at eleven o'clock at night.

"Where to ah? ah?" asked the taxi driver whilst bobbing up and down on his seat and frantically looking in the mirror to inspect his foreign passenger.
"Bukit Panjang"
"Ah. Buuu-kit Panjang ah? OK. We go PIE, BKE" he said

Now. I cannot stand awkward silence when in taxi. So I tried to break into some conversation.

"So. Busy night?" was my feeble attempt. Which suprisingly seemed to arouse him and spark his engine.
"Busy ah! I tell u ah. In Singapore. You gotta work work work. Else no mannie. Ah ah!" he looked in the mirror at me, eagerly seeking my nod of approval.
"Its the same everywhere isn't it?" I asked.
"Where you from ah?"
"England. Manchester."
"Ah. You see ah. In England, if no work then your government will PAY you to stay at home. Ah! Ah? Even you go hospital, go doctor. Then free."
"Yeah. Its free alright. But its hardly up to any standard." I replied.
"Ah. But you go doctor in Singapore. Then they take your kidney out."
"What!?" I replied in a shocked state of manner.
"I tell you ah. Singaporeans never go doctor if they fall sick."
"What? Why?"
"Singaporeans only though. They never touch foreigners. So that way nobody can know. Because you England ah. If our government take your kidney, then your government will be unhappy and come after us. So foreigners safe. Except 'Michael Faye.' " (I'll skip the Michael Faye issue until later blogs)

I was totally shocked at this and could not begin to understand how, in a country of first rate healthcare, the hospitals would have a racket on people's kidneys.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "Come on. Thats not believable"
"I tell you ah ah. My wife's friend. She went into the doctor clinic with flu. She's sixty five already. They put her in hospital. Then when she went home she realised that she had no kidney."
"You're joking!" I exclaimed
"No lah. I tell you ah. This one is real. You watch ah. NUH. that's where they get their money for all their equipment. Ah! ah! Else how can they afford such good equipment? ah? ah?"

Fortunately at this point we were nearing my house. I directed him to my street and stopped a few blocks before my real apartment in the fear that he might come knocking at my house one day. I paid the lunatic and got out of the taxi.

Safe in the knowledge that my kidneys were safe for now. What a relief.