Posted by: markashworth | June 23, 2010

Fee Fi Fo Fum

One unsuspecting evening, I got into a taxi and…

‘You’re from England!’

‘Huh?’

‘You are an Englishman.’

‘Well.. Yeah I guess so.’

*taxi driver emits waves of pride around the cab*

‘You want to know how I know?’

‘Sure. Go on.’

‘There are 5 English speaking countries. US, Australia, New Zealand, England and Scotland’

‘… and Ireland’

‘Maybe..but Ireland is too small already.’

‘Err’

‘Anyway. You don’t have the Australia or New Zealand accent. I can’t understand those Scottish. So left either US or England’

‘Okay’

‘So then you choose which reason I think you’re English. 1. You look like Harry Potter. 2. You are more handsome than Americans or 3. Your smell.’

‘Smell?’

‘Correct! Actually all three… you are handsome and look like that Harry Potter… but I can tell from your smell. You smell like an Englishman. I can tell, I’ve had a lot of Englishmen in my cab.’

‘I’ve just been running round the track. I need to get home and get a shower.’

‘You smell like an Englishman. I know. Every nationality has their own smell!’

‘Okay!’

‘Okay that’s ten dollars Mr. Harry Potter. Have a good night Harry Potter!’

Posted by: markashworth | May 28, 2010

Do you know?

A short one, but typical nonetheless:

Me: Jurong East Library please.

Driver: *silence*

Drive: Do you know there’s a library nearby? There’s one near Jurong Point. You should go there instead.

Me: But I asked to go to Jurong East Library, no?

Posted by: markashworth | March 30, 2010

Great Signs That Your Taxi Journey will be Interesting

Great Signs That Your Taxi Journey will be Interesting

- Driver repeats your destination v e r y s l o w l y with a deep level of uncertainty.

- Driver doesn’t want to take you home. He wants to take you to a party in Geylang.

- You do actually live in Geylang and the driver thinks the party is at your place.

- After a few minutes of driving, you see a sign that says ‘Changi Airport 2km’

- You get in the cab and the driver says “Ah!”

- Your driver says, ang moh ah ah, we go Clarke Quay izzit?

- Driver has an excessively good stereo system complete with amplifier and bass tubes in the back, and blasts out Hokkien top ten hits.

- Driver greets you with “Brake no work only han-brake got work OK or not?”

- The first thing the driver says is “I tell you ah! …”

Posted by: markashworth | February 5, 2010

Your friend IS from Nepal

Drivers who have been on the road for many years have, more often than not, amassed vast amounts of knowledge from their travels and conversations with the masses of people they have met from all around the world. This knowledge comes into play when judging the race of passengers.

Driver: *spouts some Mandarin, and some more Mandarin… presumably something about his last passenger*

[long silence]

Driver: *more Mandarin*

Me: Wooo bu keeeee yiiii shhhhouuuu…

[then the driver turns around and looks at me]

Driver: Oh! No wonder you didn’t say anything just now.

Me: Ha ha.

Driver: Where are you from?

Me: [usual response]

Driver: No wonder… but why didn’t your friend respond?

Mark’s Friend: I’m not Chinese. I’m from Bangladesh.

Driver: No you’re not.

[interlude]

Driver: You look Chinese. You’re not from Bangladesh.

Mark’s Friend: I’m Bangladeshi. I grew up in Dhaka.

Driver: No. I don’t think so. You’re from Nepal.

Mark’s Friend: I’m not.

Driver: Yes you are. I know. You don’t look like a Bangladeshi. You must be from Nepal.

Mark: Really? You’ve been a Ghurka all this time and never told me?

Posted by: markashworth | January 15, 2010

Another one sided conversation with a taxi driver

I don’t exactly write these down as they happen, nor do I post them immediately. This one’s from a few years ago:

Driver: Where you from?

Me: England

Driver: Where?

Me: England

Driver: Where?

Me: The UK

Driver: Ah! The UK ah.

Me: Yeah

Driver: You stay in Singapore many years oreddi?

Me: Yeah. Many

Driver: Wahhh. Good. You marry Singapore girl?

Me: Yeah

Driver: Wahhhh. How long you marry?

Me: Just married, two months.

Driver: Wah just married ah. A lot of adjustment to be make.

Me: Well, we’ve been living together for five years.

Driver: I tell you ah. When you first get married. A lot of adjustment problems. Last time ah. My son get married, always he always correl with his wife one.

Me: Yeah its not too bad, we lived together for five years before we got married.

Driver: I tell you ah. Only two months.. got to learn to live under the same roof. You learn your wife’s bad habits.

Me: Yeah but…

Driver: Last time ah. When my son got married. He tell me ‘pa. when we are dating, she never do all these things.’

Me: Yeah but…

Driver [looks in mirror at me]: So you get used to your wife without makeup oreddi?

Me: Yeah but… (ah forget it)

Posted by: markashworth | November 10, 2009

Americans are Gwai Lo. Europeans are Ang Moh.

Driver: Where you from?

Me: England. The UK.

Driver: How long you stay in Singapore?

Me: Eight years.

Driver: Ah. Do you know we call you guys “ang moh?”

Me: Yeah. Red hair right? Like Ronald McDonald.

Driver: …

Driver: You know we call you guys “ang moh” right?

Me: Yeah.

Driver: So, the Americans. They are the gwai lo. Those devils!

Me: I never knew you had classifications for yangren.

Driver: …

Driver: British are good. Because Singapore is owned by British before. So we see sooo many of you guys all the time. We get used to it lah.

Me: Yeah. True.

Driver: But the Americans. They just wanna… [blah blah blah blah]. So THEY are the gwai lo.. Those b…

Posted by: markashworth | November 9, 2009

Europeans Don’t Know Jack About the Berlin Wall

[On entering the cab]

Driver: Haha!

Me: Huh?

Driver: Funny because I was just listening to this story about the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Me: Oh!

Driver: It is the 20 year anniversary; but I bet you were too young to remember, you must have been just a kid at the time.

Me: I was ten. Of course I remember.

Driver: Ten? I don’t think you remember lah.

Me: It was big news in Europe. I am FROM Europe…

[The End]

Posted by: markashworth | November 8, 2009

Marrying a Singapore Chinese Girl is GOOD

I’m going to post a short one about this, since it has happened to me about five times (probably more) it seems relevant and irrelevant at the same time:

After the first 5 minutes of grilling with questions, the conversation turns to:

Driver: You wife local or from your UK?

Me: Local

[Driver shuffles in his seat]

Driver: She’s Chinese? Malay?

Me: Singaporean Chinese

Driver: GOOD! [takes on hand of the wheel to give me a “thumbs up!”]

 

Next time I’ll have to try a different race/nationality/gender and see how the reaction is.

Posted by: markashworth | August 14, 2009

Botokk Man

So another amazing taxi adventure began by myself entering the taxi, as it always does! After the usual round of ‘where to ah’ we were on our way. Then the quintessential Singapore taxi journey conversation started.

“Where you from ah?” he asked eagerly. I knew he was dying to ask as his face had been beaming at me through that mirror since I sat down on his questioning booth of a back seat.

“Singapore. I’ve lived here like forever now,” was my half-asleep reply.

“No lah. Where are you FROM?” he probed after being morbidly unsatisfied with my last response.

“Originally England. Now I live in Singapore. I’m a PR.” [Yeah eat that taximan!]

“Ah good good. BUT WHY?!” he quizzed.

“Because I like it here,” I replied.

“But in Singapore ah. The lady. The lady ah need to spend a lot of money on the lady,” he snorted with his wise words.

“Uh huh” I gestured. I could tell that the remainder of this conversation was going to be filled with wisdom.

“Need to spend the money on cosmetic! So many cosmetic.”

“Yeah! Tell me about it man!” I eagerly replied.

“I tell you ah I tell you. So many money on the cosmetic. Then there’s the botokk!”

“Botokk???”

“Yeah. Botokk! See last week even I go for the botokk. You see my face?” he gestured.

At that point, the driver turned round, with complete disregard for any of the traffic around him on the highway, to show me his face and his shining grin.

“Oh! Botox!” I exclaimed. Then there was a slight pause while my brain digested what he just said. The driver, satisfied with haunting me over this matter, then proceeded to turn round and aptly dodge out of the way of the potential seven car pile-up he nearly caused.

“Botox!?! You had botox done!?” I gasped.

“Yeah. You see ah. My face old oreddi. Need go for botokk. Plus my face not nice. A lot of girl always say my face not nice. Plus my wife always tell me my face not nice,” he sighed.

“Erm…” I stammered. Flummoxed.

“I tell you ah. I go see doctor at the hospital there. He inject my face with the botokk. He say it will be okay but my face ah. It swell and bruise. Lousy doctor. Junior doctor like that wan!” he complained.

“Ah huh,” I replied. I was kinda speechless at this point.

“My wife say it look a mess. But I’m taxi driver. Taxi driver ok can lah. If young girl then no good, probably sue them. But CANNOT CANNOT. Cannot sue. They get you to sign the form there see.”

“Sign a form?” I quizzed.

“Yeah. You sign the form. The form say you cannot sue if anything go wrong. So what can I do? I wait lah! I wait until botokk go down then next time already can go again get senior doctor to do.”

“Yeah?”

“Later I got appointment go see senior doctor. He say he can take a look. But cannot do anything now lah. So I look like this.”

“Buttt…” he stated, with a prompt for me to wait in awe of what he had to say next.

“But what?” I asked, playing along with his raconteurial performance.

Then along it came. His masterpiece to the story…

“No karaoke for me for wan whole month!” he proclaimed.

Relevant? How?

Posted by: markashworth | July 29, 2009

Throwing Stones

I have experienced lots of insane taxi drivers but every now and then I get an intelligent driver. Sometimes they are a bit of both.

One day, after a wonderful shift of code-monkeying I left my office, at 1am, tired, drained and blurry eyed. Seeking a taxi to take me home. On flagging down the first taxi in sight, I was greeted by a taxi driver with his window wound down sprouting a grimaced face out of the window as he stretched across the front passenger seat to beckon me.

“Where you go ah?” he snapped.

“Bukit Panjang,” I replied shyly. The foreign words still not rolling off my tongue in the confident way they should.

“Buuuuuuuuuukit Pannnjang ah. Okay. You get in,” he said. I was delighted to be privileged enough to have been selected as his passenger.

So I got in the taxi and we began to talk the talk. After the usual ‘piss and moan’ about all taxi drivers’ favourite topic, ‘the economy,’ I got terribly overexcited and interrupted with:

“Yeah, and its extremely hard for fresh graduates to find a good job these days too. With no working experience they’re basically screwed.”

The key had turned, the sky darkened beneath the clouds and the dark flutter of crows’ wings severed the horizon with their cloaked feathers. The taxi driver had interrupted, as usual, with something startling:

“In Singapore ah. All the student they good. It THAT country where they no good. They go throw stone at the gahmen house.” (all ‘the government’ lives in one big house?)

“Seriously?” I asked, half heartedly.

“You wanna know why? You wanna know why they throw?” he beckoned.

“Well no actually but I’m sure you’re going to tell me anyway.” (that one is made up but I’m sure he wouldn’t have heard me anyway)

“They throw the stone because they are PAID to do it!” he yelped as if he had just let me in on the biggest secret in history. “They throw the stone because they paid by the opposition party!”

I prayed that he would just keep his hands on the wheel and stop looking round at me but he continued with his wise words:

“I TELL you ah. There no need to throw the stone at gahmen. I TELL you. If they think the gahmen no good; Then why they no just go study and become the gahmen. I TELL YOU!”

“That’s totally right,” I acknowledged in agreement.

“They should be in the school. Learn how to become better gahamen than the one oreddi in power oreddi.”

“Must become smarter! Only this way then can,” were his words of wisdom, as he continued his taxi driver monologue. “They should be in the school studying the economics. Our prime minister he economic graduate. Economic graduate can run country and become gahmen. So you how? You graduate economic?”

“Computer science,” to his dismay I replied.

“Ahh computer. I TELL you ah got good opportunity in Singapore but lot of Indian to compete.”

‘Oh God! Please let me out now!’ I thought, and today the heavens were indeed in my favour, we were home.

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.