HTHT With A Cabbie


Met a really interesting cabbie this afternoon and we ended up having HTHT as strangers.

I was on my way to a Chinese temple when I saw his cab at the taxi stand. I was a little apprehensive because he is a non-Chinese and I didnt know the names of the temple and street in English.

But… If I skip his cab and board the one behind, would he mistake it as racism? 😐

So I went back to him and try my luck.

And… He turns out to be a really cheerful cabbie.

“The columbarium there la?”

I told him I wouldnt dare to say that to some other taxi uncles.

“Why ah?”

I’ve met too many superstitious taxi uncles. Whenever you say you want to go funeral parlor, temples or cemetery, they dont speak a word and give you a black face throughout the whole journey. #ICantBeTheOnlyOne

Then our conversation extended to talking about cemeteries, deaths, family, future, education and even career.

Of the many things said, there was something he taught me about humility.

He told me that he is a self-taught guitarist and he taught his daughter the basic chords. Later on his daughter surpassed him and he asked her to teach him instead.

“Okay what. What’s there to be embarrassed about?”

We also talked about the change in teenagers’ attitude towards education progression. And more light-heartedly, ghosts.

“You know Jalan Bahar there? That day ____ boarded during my night shift. And they talk about Insidious the movie. Why would you want to do that at night?”

To be honest, the conversation was surprisingly insightful. It was nice to meet taxi uncles who are positive and inspiring. He wasnt born with the best conditions. He didnt excel far enough to be Someone in our society. His daughter had surpassed him and makes artsy music videos on YouTube that, to him, “doesnt show her face” but he understands that “teenagers think that is cool”.

He isnt angry about life. He isnt negative about the youths. He is okay that I didnt know the English name of the temple. He is okay with ITE prospects and driving cab.

Such encounters are more meaningful to me than successful people talking about their success.

He taught me that you can learn from those you taught.

Some youngsters are brats but they need his understanding.

Some career choices take longer but theres nothing to complain about as long as you reach somewhere, someday, somehow.

It is not about what you are born with, but your outlook on life and your attitude. When you take away all the cultural taboos, language barriers, social status, religious beliefs, you start to realize life still exists beyond all that. All that are just, by-the-ways.


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