Rich taxi uncle, poor taxi uncle?

I thought it’s rather brave of the taxi uncle to broadcast to the world that he earns $7K a month and also shared with the world his modus operandi to reach that “grand” sum in the Sunday Times with its far flung reach among the parochial hoi polloi in SG.

I was particularly afraid that other taxi uncles and aunties who don’t share his earning capacity may take umbrage, especially when he made what I thought was an unnecessary swipe at his colleagues who while away their lives in kopi tiams instead of on the road.

What if they decide to run him down, literally?

What i hadn’t expect was the hostility he and the Sunday Times attracted in cyberspace, with the bile spewed by one dotty blogger such as this, being a prime example.

Now let me share with you the work-style of a taxi driver whom I shall call M — the driver’s initial; not money, 😉

M is an acquaintance of many years but has become a taxi driver in the last 10 years or so.

I called M to take me to the airport last week when I was taking a Firefly flight to KL. I don’t usually personally give M business because I drive and seldom need a paid ride even when I don’t have a car handy. Last week was an exception.

So I was more chatty than i would usually be with the stranger taxi driver whom I would on the rare occasion hail on the street.

“Hey I didn’t know you drive Premier taxi,” I said when we were on our way. “Always thought it was Comfort.”

“No,” replied M. “I’ve always driven Premier.” M then went on to explain that although the vehicle was “old, more than 5 years”, the daily rental at $85 was reasonable, especially when coupled with 10 rent-free days per month!

If M changes vehicles, there won’t be any more freebies. Thanks to this rental rebate, M who used to share the cab with another driver now drives the taxi alone. And hear this. M doesn’t drive regular hours — they could be morning, afternoon or night, depending on M’s preference and when there are bookings after which M then trolls the streets.

And hear this some more. M’s brother also drives a taxi. But only for one week a month, the rest of the time he spends in an Asean country doing volunteer work while his taxi is driven by a relief driver.

I don’t know if either of the siblings earn the princely $7K that Mr Muhammad Hasnor Hashim reportedly earns. But from the fact that M and brother continue to survive, it must mean that whatever they earn from driving a taxi is giving them the lifestyle each has chosen 😆


highway of gold



20 thoughts on “Rich taxi uncle, poor taxi uncle?

  1. Good Evening Madam,

    You are seriously out of line. Hostility? Bile? Au contraire, not when you consider how IF this ST write up went all together unchallenged – it would undoubtedly have started an El Derado stampede of false hopes along with shattered dreams in the unassuming public.

    After all madam does the ST regularly market themselves as the “purveyors” of the truth? – even perhaps the gold standard of journalism?

    As for us Bloggers (well some of us, at least). We have every right to forward our opinions on our objects of interest – just as maybe farmers have an elemental right to call a spade a spade.

    The common man after all has a right to the truth! And this should prompt us all to ask: what happens when only one dimension of the truth is forwarded? What happens when we can only see one side of the coin and the other side remains a mystery? Many people, especially the middle class are going through the fog of pain and uncertainty with the worsening economy – many will be displaced – taxiing will feature in their list of options. To make an informed decision these folk have a RIGHT to the truth.

    Do you understand woman the importance of the truth and how even that idea that can make an unbearable life bearable?Perhaps I am a businessman – that simply means as a matter of natural conduct, I am always trying to visualize how events will impact taxi driver Ah Kau, Muthu and Abdul – I always tip the driver. Because I know the vast majority of taxi drivers probably just make enough to turn the wheel of life. That’s reality. And reality edifies and nourishes our consciousness. Now we all know life is not easy for Uncle. But tell madam, what do you think most will do when they suddenly wake up one morning and read about the mythical 7K taxi driver. Result: everyone thinks they are filthy rich, they get tekan and some more no tip lagi. Result: matilah. To put it another way this sort of ST write up does a disservice to all the brave taxi drivers out there who are turning the wheel of life just to put bread on the table for their loved ones.

    Tell me is this what you really want madam? Tell me how will that serve the greater glory of doing good?

    May I remind you madam, that I consider what was written in the ST concerning the 7K taxi driver factually inaccurate, lackadaisical and irresponsible by any measure of standard that one may choose to term journalism.

    All I did was evaluate the host of possibilities which I concluded to be a mathematic impossibility i.e 7K a month as a taxi driver is not unsustainable. Other bloggers who may perhaps qualify as subject matter experts such as this gentlemen who happens to turn the wheel of life as a taxi driver seem to recount the same sentiments concerning the not so glittering life of the taxi driver.

    As you can very well see for yourself Madam. You seem to be standing alone this evening. I do hope a taxi comes along soon.

    Darkness 2012

  2. This Darkness character is definitely a very shrewd and smooth fellow. I will not be surprised if he arranged for this to go viral. Maybe he even arranged for info to be dug up on the taxi driver who claims he earns $7,000 a month. I will be careful if I were you and not get tangled up with him. We women should stick together. As from the looks of it, this Darkness seems to be very persuasive. Just look at his vids and see how he tugs the heart strings to good effect. This is a professional.

    Very shrewd and smooth like a well oiled machine. I never ever trust men who are handsome and well spoken. Usually they are all too good to be true. Usually they have perfected their methods at opening doors into our hearts and minds. Its best to be reserved, cautious and distant.

  3. I think what the newspaper was trying to highlight was that it is possible as a taxi driver to earn a decent living. The $7k or even $5k is not impossible if the driver works hard. Of course, it does not mean that every cabby will earn this amount just like not every banker or lawyer will earn millions a year.

    By criticising the article and this blog writer, you have missed the point of the whole article. Considering that Singapore has the highest number of cabs in the world, just think why is it so difficult to halt a cab on the road or even book one!

    Most cabby are far too lazy to work hard prefering to queue up at the airports hoping for a long trip or spending too much time at the kopitiam gossiping. Rather than cry father cry mother over the article, cabby should realistically assess whether they are suited for the job and how they can earn more.

  4. Auntie Lucia

    Have a great break.
    Yours is definitely not the only observation, people do decide as they are rentals how much they perceive is their required source of income.
    Most do moderately of course , but some do so extremely although i deem this more the exceptions.


  5. Uncle Wang, I’ve had my break, TQ :D!

    Guess with car prices the way they are, mayb cheaper to hire a taxi and use it as one’s private transport and earn the occasional $ when the spirit moves us? 😆

  6. Uncle Tekko, u misunderstood me. 😥
    I didn’t criticise the ST article. I criticised those odds and sods who criticised the article and the subject of the article!

    Even if it’s only one taxi uncle — in the 20K universe of taxi uncles and aunties — who makes $7K per mth, the exception surely makes the rule.

    Also, my real examples illustrate that taxi driving even for one week cld net one enough to support one for 3 weeks in one of the Asean neighbours. How? I don’t know. Go figure?

  7. Auntie SPHgal: not sure what you are trying to say abt Dotseng. But tq for the video link. He looks somewhat like an Uncle, no? And not very gramatical either! “preoccupations in other countries”? He meant occupation, surely 🙄

  8. Thanks Uncle Dotty for responding so swiftly to my link, 😆

    U write very humorously, tho I m not absolutely sure u had intended to be so. But c’est la vie. Much appreciated whether u are scolding me or complimenting me, or both!

    Despite the “dirt” dug up abt the $7K taxi driver, I do believe it’s possible to earn that much. It depends on your taxi driving model. If a taxi uncle is able to secure contracts chauferring an X number of clients per month, he would need perhaps about 14 clients to reach that target.

    Also, with the poor connectivity between most housing developments n MRT stations in SG, there’s a market crying to be tapped, to ferry passengers between the two points, a la the Hongkong model. A savvy taxi driver or two can earn good $ by providing such connections. If I ever turn to taxi-driving, I will go for this market, provided it doesn’t contravene the law! 😆

  9. If driving taxis is so lucrative, surely Goh Chee Wee must be entitled to those $$$ director fees from Delgro many years ago?

  10. Auntie Lucia

    Aptly replied, not all do make the bigger bucks but definitely a small proportion do.
    But some do as have spoken and seen a few who do it, they choose their routes and normally have a pool of regulars.

    Glad you had a break and wishing you a good weekend

  11. Hi Auntie Lucia, I wasn’t refering to you criticising the article but rather the Dotseng guy criticism of both the newspaper article and your blog post.

  12. He looks smarter in his bush jacket. This khaki open neck shirt makes him look like a cruel Japanese soldier.

  13. “What i hadn’t expect was the hostility he and the Sunday Times attracted in cyberspace, with the bile spewed by one dotty blogger such as this, being a prime example.”

    I like the way you put it – “one dotty blogger!” Lol! Really langgar isn’t it?

  14. 1) Thanks Uncle Wang. I always try to and do have good week ends and days. That’s the way I set out to live my life!

    2) Tks for the claification Uncle Tekko!

    3) Tks for always being supportive Uncle Gintai. Eh, instead of promoting other people’s blogs with likes and tweets, go back to writing your own lah! :-D!

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