Taxi Driver Patrick

Posted: January 27, 2010 by fievel in Labels: , ,

Yet another taxi-driver encounter I have on my hands to report.

Tonight, I met a taxi driver in his 50s who used to be a manager in the hotel industry. He lost his job in the hotel industry during the SARS crisis. Unfortunately for him, he bought a 5-room flat in Bukit Panjang in 1996, a period of time when housing prices was at its then peak.

According to him, his flat was relatively new on the resale market and it cost him $420,000. When he lost his job, he turned to driving taxi to feed his family and their $1600-a-month mortgage.
Currently, he earns $2,000 a month on average. I mentioned the casinos and IRs and how he should be able to get back into his true profession finally.

He turned back to me and said, "No chance. I am now 50+ and have been out of the game for too many years."

He says he still owes HDB $30K and both his wife and his CPF ordinary account are completely "kosong", zilch, zero. Their income can only sustain their expenses and so he is facing the possibility of getting evicted by HDB by not paying up on the loan.

His daughter is a recent graduate with 2nd Upper Class honors degree from NTU. She is still jobless and luckily enough, she secured some scholarship from some Asean association which pays her a mere USD700 a month for doing research in Korea. She is living off that research contract now in Korea and hoping to land a job proper eventually.

I do not have a proper ending to this story as I had arrived at my destination. All I can say is - don't think you have it all figured out just because you have no problems right now. The problem with social problems is that by the time the people involved get knee-deep into their situations, they are usually too caught up with trying to survive to be able to speak up anymore. Try telling them "they are to blame for not having the spurs in their hide". Try.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi I am the cab driver you are talking about. Didn't expect to see my story in your blog.

  1. Fievel says:

    Haha ya. Please let me know if you are not comfortable with me putting your story up here.

  1. MM SZ says:

    Linked under 'Social'. Thanks.

  1. keithyip says:

    Sometime we need to listen to the 'real life' story to pull us back to the reality, rather to immerse in the fantasy of property & economy boom (that normally does not imply to most people like us)....

  1. Amused says:

    Mr. Driver,

    Can't tell from the story, but did you at least try to apply?

    It really, really will be a pity to lose your home. Especially when you only have 30k left to pay. Rent out a room if you're able to. At least until the mortgage is paid up.

    I really wish you the best.