Singapore skyline riverfront

[Conversation] Notes From the Back Seat

Tourism through Taxi: if you really want to understand the major complaints of city citizens, speak to their cab drivers. Granted, they won’t just complain… they may also impart life lessons or reminisce on cultural milestones. During my two days in Singapore, I met four taxi drivers; however, two of these drivers took us to and fro our chili crab dinner at the Riverfront and their company was more than entertaining. In the words of my host Betsy, “I should write a book and call it Notes From the Back Seat.”

A sweet, sweet Singapore Sling for my last night in the city on steroids.
A sweet, sweet Singapore Sling for my last night in the city on steroids.

A warm welcome:

Betsy: “How do you deal with the problem of so much wealth pouring into Singapore from other places?”

Driver: “Just take it day by day. Don’t think too much, it lead to stress, which lead to depression, which lead to IMH. You know IMH? Institute Meantal Health… but don’t laugh too much either or you go crazy and crazy lead to IMH. You know the song? Que será será. What will be will be. You think of the cab driver who tell you this song. And welcome to the stressful island.”

And a sweet farewell:

Betsy: “Busy tonight? It took a while to get a cab.”

Driver: “I’ll tell you a secret… we have thirty-five hundred taxi but the demand is higher, so be patient.”

Betsy: “Is that your secret? Be patient?”

Driver: “Yes, be patient. After work, you are not in a rush so you can chill out a bit.”

Betsy: “That would work except that we have an early flight. My friend Katie here goes to Cambodia tomorrow.”

Driver: “Katie, Katie… are you going to Cambodia for war? Well there are good people everywhere. You tell me somewhere there are not. But rather than I be happy all the time it’s not that interesting, I like a debate. I like my customer to talk to me. Think positive? Nothing will happen. The secret of my life, but I’m not happy now. I can be happy all the time but I’m not happy. And I won’t be happy until you come back to Singapore.”


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