The Fairy Tale of the $7,000 per month Singaporean Taxi driver

October 29, 2012

Recently ST published an article about a taxi driver earning $7,000 a month. How true is this? Well considering there are twelve months in a year – the question is this an average take culmulatively throughout a period of a year? Or is this just a flash in the pan?
I mean if you’re just talking about a flash in a pan instance – then it’s not unusual car jockeys can turn in a $10K a month. U do ur sums – probabilities don’t make for possibilities.
One reason why I consider this type of essays to be highly irresponsible is simply because instead of forwarding the truth and nothing but the truth – this sort of shitty reportage usually elides the cogent and instead forwards a simplistic view of the world….first of all even the most perceptive reader isn’t really sure whether the takings on this taxi driver is $7000/mth? If so, I believe it means the taxi driver is really only earning at most $3000/mth after his cost and overheads has been subtracted. Since he has to pay $100 per day for the rental of the taxi. So which one is it? Again the essay is silent. And hardly any attempt is made to beacon out the murk by the wayward “journalist.”
The worst aspect of this essay is since it holds out the promise of $7000 per month as a taxi driver. Now everyone and his dog will be rushing to be a taxi driver. And they would probably end up disappointed. As even the best propangada in the world can never aspire to run too far from the truth.
Darkness 2012
“Warren Fernandez in my personal opinion has really taken the ST to renewed heights of incredulity. I can’t remember anyone who has really stirred up so much negative emotions amongst the blogging community. And one reason for this is because the ST likes to insult the intelligence of its readers.
That is why I have stopped reading the ST as far back as five years ago. Just as I have learnt not to stock up on fatty carbs in my fridge, if I want to keep my six pack. I have also seen fit to cut off mind numbing propaganda from my daily diet of reads. You can even say, I am deeply concerned about the long term damage to my mental well being along with impairing my judgement. I am not kidding, I don’t ever read the ST. It’s poison!
But I digress. Now coming back to the 7K driver – how believable is his story? Well if you’re talking about on a good day or when lady luck is with him – then it’s plausible. Then again this will apply to every single profession and vocation under the sun as well – you also need to consider what about the bad days. Remember SARS? My point is we have all heard of one off’s and lucky streaks that never seem to end. And it’s happened to call girls, bell boys, waitresses and lowly paid workers. There is no doubting that. But is that representative of how life is generally for call girls, bell boys, waitresses and taxi drivers. How wise is it to premise an entire essay about the mythical taxi driver who manages to ace the wheel of life by hitting 7K a month. I guess what I am trying to say is how realistic is this snap shot of an averagely life for an average taxi driver? That I believe is the main issue here?
I think if you really want a reliable litmus test to determine once and for all whether this is good reportage or what I can only describe as irresponsible journalism along with possibly a hidden agenda – then just talk to most taxi drivers and see wether they can sustain that sort of work pace without risking mind and body?
After all that is what an intelligent person would ask. And this is where I feel the journalist has committed a cardinal error of judgement – as not only has he failed to dedicate himself to fact finding. But he seems to be assuming that the primary goal is ONLY to chase the buck, regardless of the inherent cost. But each and everyone of us knows that money is not everything in life. I mean, if you paid me $100,000 a month to sit in a room every day for eight hours to write line after line, “Darkness, you are an idiot.”Hey I’ve probably do it for a couple of years. But once I reach a point where I feel, I’ve reached critical mass. Then I would probably resign and do something that I really enjoy doing besides writing line after line of the same thing. As humans we all need to be stimulated. And I think this where we need to look at the quality of the job from a standpoint where we ask ourselves: does this job enable or disable the human spirit? Can we grow in this job spiritually? Is it capable of edifying us? Does it nourish the idea of dignity of labor. If the straits times article was able to look into these darkened interiors. Then I think it would have been a smashing write up. It may even allow the masses to conduct their own trade off analysis to see whether this is a good line to go into.

As we can see the issue is not whether this is possible. Because there always exist exceptions in every vocation. The reak question is, at what cost does it come to health and spiritual well being – I mean, if you’re stuck in a steel cage for 14 hours – then what sort of stresses are you imposing on your body? What’s the point of earning $7,000 only to rack up twice or three times that figure to fix your back along with having to buy really expensive medication. Then if you happen to be a professional man. In what way will this allow you to build on your knowledge base? And this is jugular, if you want to sell yourself as a professional man. Because you can’t possibly market your skills, if they are corroding away as you drive a taxi year after year – so thats the otherside of the story that remains unexplored. And while we are here, maybe we should even go on to ask, is it even safe for a taxi driver to chalk up so many hours behind the wheel? I mean this may seem like an off beat issue – but, if there exist rules for pilots and workers in general to work let’s say X number of hours and no more – then why isn’t the same standard applied to taxi drivers?

From this we can probably draw a few conclusions – the rate of accidents will probably increase. the safety of commuters will definitely be compromised. And when you take all these factors into consideration it’s fair to say that this story of a $7,000 taxi driver is probably closer to a pipe dream than anything resembling reality.
My concern is really about the fidelity of the reportage in relation to how accurately it stands up to scrutiny – and this really leads to the question of whether such articles published by the nation building press is reallys sending the wrong message to an unassuming public.”

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