Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Secret to Life

"Hi. Good Evening. Where to?"

"Bukit Panjang please."

"Sure man," he said, as I noticed the flyer in the back of his cab that mentioned something about the cab being environmentally friendly."

"What's this all about?" I asked.

"Oh that! Funny you should ask. Ha ha ha! Its a new scheme. Nobody wanted to be part of it. So do you know what they did? They forced those drivers who's license is due for renewal to take part. Haha. So I knew what they were going to tell me when they called me to the office that day. Its a new natural gas powered taxi. Anyway. Do you know there's only one filling up station in this country?"

Shocked at the silliness of it. I laughed.

"Then, hear this. The Japanese engineer told me, through his translator, that the gas can last for 80km before a refill. Not too good, but its just a pilot scheme." Then the driver started to chuckle. "Guess what?" he said, "The gas only lasts for about 40km. So I went back to the filling station to tell the Engineer his calculation is wrong. He never accounted for all the stopping and braking and so on. His translator didn't dare to tell him. Ha ha! Anyway, the taxi is much nicer to drive."

"The clutch is easier because it's not diesel right?" I asked.

"Yes. Yes. Correct. Now my job is nice and easy. The secret of life is to enjoy your job and love your family."

Now thats some advice that I shall be heeding from this cool taxi driver.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No Change?

As a general rule tipping is not really common in this country because:

1. The 10% service charge is usually included in the bill.

2. The service is usually crap.

Taxis are not really much different.
Taxi service is GREAT in other countries unlike in this country.

Now there's one trick that passengers have to watch out for whenever embarking on a taxi ride in here. That is the trick of pretending to not have any change, or take his own sweet time to search for change in his ten thousand pocket waistcoat.

Big lies. I feel so embarrassed for the taxi drivers when they do that. Do they think people are dumb enough to fall for it? I was doing that trick when I was 18 and delivering pizzas. Argh!

During the time of SARS I usually tipped the taxi driver, since their business was not doing so good during those days. Nowadays they seem to have forgotten all about that and have gone back to selectively picking their passengers and treating them like an imbecile.

Perhaps economic downturns are good for teaching and stressing the importance of good customer service the hard way?