Non-payment of taxi fare and a sympathetic taxi company

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My brief report of non-payment of taxi fare…

On 14/4/15(Tue) @0837hrs, I picked up a pax (current call booking) from Point A to Point B. We arrived at the destination @0916 hrs. The fare was $25.25.

The pax wanted to pay by Nets but my POS (Point of Sale) terminal machine was not working. It hang. The pax claimed that he had no cash with him. There was also no ATM machine nearby. As he was late for work rushing for time, he informed me that he would transfer the fare of $25.25 to my POSB savings account. I then gave him my account number by writing it on my name card. He took my name card with my POSB savings account written on it promising that he would transfer the fare over to my account asap.

Up till today, it’s already past 3 days I have yet to receive the amount from him. As part of driver welfare, I hope the company could assist me to get back the non-payment of taxi fare from the pax.

Looking forward to your kind assistance. Best regards.

Reply from company…

Dear Cabby,

We refer to the non-payment report you filed with the company.

We will follow up with the case with the passenger for the taxi fare payment.

Meanwhile, management is sympathetic of your unfortunate encounter of this non-payment incident. On compassionate ground and goodwill, management has decided to reimburse you the taxi fare to offset your operation losses.

A letter stating the date and amount reimbursed will be sent to your registered address by month end.

Should you receive the payment from the passenger, please update us.

Yours sincerely,

J T
Drivers Affairs

I started as a taxi hirer with my taxi company since 5th August 2014. This is the first time I encountered such an incident of non-payment by passenger. I didn’t know what to do when the passenger did not keep his promise to pay me the taxi fare. As a last resort, I tried seeking assistance from my company by emailing the management. The response was swift and comforting even though it’s a relatively small amount and it’s also not their fault. I should have insisted on his contact number and full particulars there and then. Since the passenger’s hp number was erased at the end of the trip, I could not contact him to claim back the fare. Only my company still has the details.

To quote Lohcifer, “The above episode clearly shatters all myths that taxi operators do not care about their hirers.” Prior to this incident, I did email to management about my taxi’s slight bald tires even after the monthly preventive maintenance. Straightaway, the workshop manager called me up to return to the workshop immediately to have the tires replaced. No questions asked. Yup, taxi operators do care for the welfare of their drivers. Safety is their primary concern.

Every few days, company will flash a message on our MDT (Main Display Terminal) to remind us to check our in-vehicle camera. If there is no blinking blue light, we will have to send it to the workshop for repair. The camera is to protect us in case of dispute in an accident with another vehicle. That camera really saved me one time when another vehicle hit against my taxi. Link

Once in a while, we also receive email from company reminding us not to pick up or drop off pax at locations with LTA cameras installed especially bus stops at certain locations. Even up to today, I still do not understand why taxi being a public transport is not allowed to pick up or drop off pax at bus stops even after restricted bus lane hours. Sometimes, I pity those pax especially those handicapped pax on wheelchairs waiting at bus stops on raining days for taxi. Talking about those LTA cameras, I had an unpleasant encounter with them when I personally went to LTA to appeal. I’ll blog about it other time.

Back to my non-payment of fare. If I had used 3rd party taxi app, do you think the company will bother to look into it? As such, I never use 3rd party taxi booking apps at all. Those 3rd party taxi apps do not operate and maintain fleets of taxis yet they shamelessly entice taxi drivers with all kinds of gifts if they hit booking targets. Is it fair to existing taxi operators with fleets of taxis to maintain not to mention the huge infrastructure costs incurred in its operations set-up? I’ll blog about 3rd party apps other time.

Suffice to say, those 3rd party taxi apps are taking an easy ride on the back of existing taxi operators when they take so many years painstakingly establishing and building up their taxi business operations. They blatantly advertise their 3rd party taxi apps as if it’s their god given entitlement hijacking existing taxi operators’ own taxi apps in the name of free trade and competition.

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Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house for public viewing?

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Should Mr Lee's house be preserved as a heritage?

Now that our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew is gone, what about his house at Oxley Road? What will happen to his house? If I’m not mistaken, he did mention in no uncertain terms that the house should be demolished to make way for developments when he’s gone. He did not wish that his house be preserved at the expense of under-utilization of precious land. He would prefer the land where his house is sited and the surrounding area be freed for optimal utilization! After all, it’s prime land where every inch is gold.

Mr Lee’s wish for the ultimate disposal of his house need to be respected. But before that, I feel that the house ought to be refurnished and open up for public viewing for a limited period of time before it’s demolished. The old bungalow where Mr Lee lived most of his entire adult life also need to be meticulously documented for posterity before it’s gone. In the event that Mr Lee’s old house at Oxley Road is open to the public, I suggest a nominal fee of $10 be charged for visitors with the Pioneer Generation and students paying half the rate. The money collected could be donated to charity like the Students Pocket fund for needy students or presented to the library. Mr Lee used to donate to our public library.

The above suggestion is a win-win situation. The public curiosity could be assuaged and at the same time doing a good deed via donating the collection to charity to accumulate merits for Mr Lee. I believe it will be resounding success if Mr Lee’s old house is open for public viewing. We could see for ourselves the overwhelming response from the public when Mr Lee’s Red Box is displayed at the museum. Long queues were formed when the public got wind of the Red Box display prompting the authority to extend visting hours to cater to the unexpected huge crowd. Mr Lee’s book; “One Man’s Views” also hogged the current Bestsellers List at bookstores selling like hot cakes. As such, we could expect huge crowd to swamp Oxley Road right up to Orchard Road if his house is declared open for public viewing.

The insatiable appetite of the public for Mr Lee’s legacy is not surprising at all. Up to now, most of us do not really know how Mr Lee lived his frugal life in the old bungalow. We could only see the house from the outside. The public could not get near to the heavily guarded house. Even non-residents of the neighborhood are not allowed to pass by the house. But when a photo of his living room cum dinning room is circulated on line, it went viral. Some of the netizens even started comparing his living room with some other VIP’s luxurious opulent living room setting!

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Mr Lee's simple living room at Oxley Road.

Do consider the suggestion to open up Mr Lee’s house for public viewing before it’s erased from the public mind forever. I’m sure many of us would like to take pictures of ourselves with frens and family members as a memento in Mr Lee’s house for remembrance even if it’s a wee bit of his legacy where we could treasure and keep for eternity. Pls do not deprive us Singaporeans of this privilege.

Read related article here.

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RIP Mr Lee Kuan Yew (1923 – 2015)

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One week of national mourning with half mast state flag

Three days before our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew left us, I blogged about my Malaysian passenger expressing his gratitude to him. Like that passenger, many of us could sense his imminent passing. It was a true account captured vividly on my blog post.

Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) and The Real Singapore (TRS) as usual re-posted that article on their sites. They usually do that whenever I blog something interesting. That blog post attracted more than one hundred hate comments on TRE. Wicked and insulting comments on my character and integrity. I really detest them. I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly inform TRS and TRE from henceforth to stop publishing my blog posts on their sites. There is no necessity for me to be there to be verbally abused repeatedly. Those coward hiding behind anonymity just shoot like nobody’s business. Uncivilized haters out there who behave like animals and do not care about others’ feelings. Click here for the link.

I was quite sad reading those remarks not only on that Malaysian passenger article but also on my previous other blog posts especially the conversation I had with Lao Si about whether our Prime Minister pay is very high? Even my dear friend Lao Si was attacked with all kinds of hate comments and lies! Some of the things those morons uttered on TRE site were imaginary lies hitting at Lao Si and me. Why should I subject myself to such unwarranted abuse?

When I read about one lady blogger suing another lady blogger (or court protection order I’m not sure cuz I didn’t follow their public spats) over some remarks made which she termed “cyber bullying”, I could empathize with her. For that, I fully support initiatives to protect and safeguard online discussion. Catch them by their necks and squeeze them when they go beyond normal decency and decorum! Say ‘NO’ to cyber bullying!

Of course, there is freedom of speech here in Singapore. We are not North Korea. As long as one gives opinion responsibly with facts and fair comments, no one is going to fault us. Like what one Minister said something to that effect, “If you call him stupid, he could take it. But if you accuse him of taking money then you better back up with evidence.” Freedom of speech does not mean that you can verbally abuse, insult or spread lies about others.

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Earlier I said that I was quite sad when I read those wicked comments on my blog posts. My previous blog post had more than 100 wicked comments without any positive comment supporting me. I was disheartened and perturbed. I was sad cuz I thought that lots of our fellow Singaporeans were like them. I was proven wrong. I was vindicated. Over the past one week of national mourning for our founding Prime Minister, I could see with my own eyes that most Singaporeans are not like those crazy trigger happy online retards! The tens of thousands of Singaporeans young and old queuing for hours sometimes up to 10 hours just to pay respects to Mr Lee and many more thousands lining the roads braving the heavy downpour to bid their final farewell to Mr Lee are irrefutable facts. Only retards and morons will label such unprecedented phenomenon in our 50 years of existence as propaganda. Like my dear friend Lohcifer commented that unlike North Korea, “ours is a spontaneous outpour of public grief!” Read Mr Brown’s blog here where he has beautifully captured those historic moments earning PM’s praise.

Mr Lee’s passing has also touched many foreigners. Not only that Malaysian passenger I blogged about, but so many other nationalities especially the Indians. Those Southern Indians are extremely grateful to Mr Lee and his team for bringing progress even to far away poor Indian villagers where they could find jobs here and bring food back to their families in their hometown like that Malaysian passenger. Click here to watch the video here to see for yourself. Is it staged propaganda? You decide for yourself. Like what I said on my previous blog post, “A Titan whose powerful brilliant light shines far and wide, as the name says it even though he’s en-caged on a tiny piece of rock!”

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My dear fren Encik ' s tribute to Mr Lee which he WhatsApp to us.

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Even foreigners working here also paid tributes to Mr Lee

Talking about Malaysians, my dear friend Encik penned his tribute to Mr Lee at one of the community tribute sites. His eyes welled up with tears but he refused to admit saying that it’s the smoke that got into his eyes! Yup, he was crying when he wrote those lines of tribute to Mr Lee. Encik came from Penang at age 18 years. Served in the RSAF for 37 yrs until he retired at age 55 yrs. Mr Lee and Singapore gave him not only a career but a family with 2 scholar kids and a HDB mansionate! If he were to remain in Penang would he be better off? He is more loyal than those locally born; at least more grateful than those haters on TRE site.

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Throughout the week long national morning, I could see Singaporeans becoming like a big family. Some giving out drinks, snacks, umbrellas, LKY logo stickers etc to those queuing for hours under the scorching sun to pay their last respects to Mr Lee at Parliament House. Even one PRC lady passenger asked me whether I had paid my respects to “国父?” She said she would go later even if the queue was very  long. I had a highly educated local lady passenger saying that if not many of us pay our respects to Mr Lee, others (foreigners) would see us differently. The hundreds of thousands standing in line to pay respects to Mr Lee has already shown to the whole world that Singaporeans are a united people putting away their differences who love their country and will stand together thru thick and thin as a society! Don’t play play with us lah!

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Mr Lee acted like a bridge between the west and east.

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Just this afternoon when I fetched my 72 years old mother home, she told me that the Taoist temple opposite Bedok Fire Station (Civil Defense) has set up Mr Lee’s altar for their followers to pay respects. I could not believe her when she told me that her colleagues – locals, PRCs and Malaysians went there to burn joss sticks to worship Mr Lee! The traditional Taoist Chinese believe that the burning of joss sticks is the medium to communicate with those departed souls. I will go check it up about the altar.

Throughout Chinese history, past great historical figures like Confucius, General Kwan, General Yue Fei, Justice Bao, Zhuge Liang etc when they passed on, are being worshipped by the Chinese in temples and shrines. I sense that Mr Lee will follow suit. Elevated to that order of great Chinese historical figures for their timeless traits and noble characteristics that the Chinese for generations adore. Even myself am a great admirer of General Kwan. Whenever I come across General Kwan in a Chinese temple, I would light up joss sticks to pay my respects! May be 50 years from now or sooner, it might just happen to Mr Lee?

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As Singaporeans, we are proud of you. We will always remember you for what you have done for us. Farewell Mr Lee.

Mr Lee Kwan Yew I have a confession to make.

Silent majority speak up.

Singapore : A fascinating alternative to the welfare state.

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Conversation with my pax: The Malaysian on LKY

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PM's posting on FB. He's going thru a difficult time.

As I was leaving the carpark at Bedok South Rd after my meal break, I happened to pick up a Malaysian to Golden Mile Complex. When he instructed that I should go via Bedok South Ave 1, ECP and exit Rochor to Golden Mile complex, I straightaway knew that he’s a Malaysian due to his peculiar Mandarin accent. Malaysian style of Mandarin is quite unique.

“You are going there to book your bus ticket? You going back to Malaysia?”

“That’s correct. How do you know?”

“Oh, I was merely guessing. Since you are a Malaysian and you are going to that place so I guess you might be going there to get your bus ticket. Usually, they go there to get their bus tickets cuz there are so many tour agencies there.”

The middle aged gentleman was looking forward to go back to his hometown. He didn’t go back during the CNY due to work commitments. He told me that he’s been working in Singapore for nearly 20 years and that he would go back once a year during the CNY but missed the last one. I just listened and I didn’t ask him what was his job nor did I ask him if he’s a PR or work permit holder.

Since the latest hot news in town is about our founding father’s health, we struck a conversation on that subject. For the past few weeks ever since Mr Lee is hospitalized, I’ve heard much from many passengers – locals and foreigners including tourists and expats working here talking about him. All of the comments are favorable. They all have nothing bad and everything good to say about Mr Lee. Let’s hear what this Malaysian had to say.

“Mr Lee is the greatest Chinese man ever lived. In my kampung, we all really admire him for his achievements. Not only he did lots of things for Singapore. We are also indebted to him and his generation of colleagues!” 

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Messages of well wishes keep pouring in.

I was quite surprised to hear from our Malaysian fren that he’s indebted to Mr Lee. I then asked him, “Why you said that you are indebted to him and his generation of colleagues?”

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Hands on practical man!

“Oh, not only am I indebted to him. But lots of Chinese in Malaysia also owe him a debt of gratitude! You see, due to your remarkable economic success, the Chinese in Malaysia are able to benefit and piggy back on that success. If you just look at the causeways in the morning – whether it’s Tuas or Woodlands checkpoints, you can see for yourself the tens of thousands riding their motorcycles across to work. Every year, your economy keeps growing at a fantastic rate, the number of jobs created for us Malaysians is huge. We are able to find employment in Singapore. What about those who live and work here like myself only going back once a year?”

I thought to myself what my Malaysian passenger just said is a fact. Everyday in the morning, there are tens of thousands crossing over to our country to work. And in the evening, it’s the reverse. For one thing I’m sure most of our bus drivers are Malaysians.

Our Malaysian fren further added, “Mr Lee managed to transform a tiny island into an economic power house giving us much opportunities to earn a living. Many of us able to bring food to our families, bought lands, houses and enough savings for our retirement. Jobs are scarce back home and the pay is so low compared to Singapore. For that, we are forever grateful to Mr Lee.”

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From Third World to First World.

“I feel that Mr Lee is the greatest Chinese man alive. He’s even greater than Mao or Chiang Ching-kuo etc. I say that cuz he could debate and counter the western press in English on their platform. He could rebut those western hypocrite human rights champions that your survival as a nation is none of their concern. In those days, basic needs such as security, food, housing, water and jobs override all else. There are many countries in the region with lots of liberty but do they achieve the kind of success which he has brought to Singapore? The Malaysians and many others from afar are also beneficiaries of your success.”

“But there are lots of Singaporeans who don’t like him at all. They even hate him for being a dictator!”

“What a stupid statement! You have election every 5 years. If you all feel that he’s a dictator and corrupted, you could always vote them out. As simple as that. The fact that he’s in power for so long shows that a great majority still support him.”

“You see, even world leaders from America and China like to listen to his views on world events. I would say that he’s the modern re-incarnation of Zhuge Liang. link Such a great man only appears once in every 500 years. As such, he not only belongs to Singapore but to humanity. Many outside Singapore especially people like me and my family will miss him. There won’t be another equal to his greatness. He is Singapore’s mascot just like China had Mao, America had George Washington or Abraham Lincoln and UK had Churchill, Vietnam had Ho Chi Minh, Indonesia had Sukarno etc etc…”

“You seem quite knowledgeable. I’m impressed by your knowledge.”

“Yup. I may not speak English. I may be a blue collar worker. But I read much. I live under a different system. I can see the vast differences between us. Sadly, many of you just take for granted the many things which Mr Lee has fought hard. He has left a legacy for your children which we on the other side could only dream of.

My Malaysian passenger just like so many other foreign passengers I picked up over the last few days feel sad about Mr Lee’s imminent passing. A Titan whose powerful brilliant light shines far and wide, as the name says it even though he’s en-caged on a tiny piece of rock!

“生->老->病->死” is the cycle all of us will go through. But the difference lies in “死有輕如鴻毛,重如泰山!”

Read related article here.

The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crookèd scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath
When they, pale captives, creep to death.

The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds!
Upon Death’s purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds.
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb:
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.

by James Shirley

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A Day in the Life of a Chinese Emperor

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Source : Epoch Times

China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing, was founded with a shock. In the 17th century, Manchurian warriors, hailing from the chilly northeast, breached the Great Wall and conquered the waning Ming Dynasty.

For the next 250 years, these foreigners managed to rule over hundreds of millions of Chinese by adopting Chinese culture. Under their rule, China’s territory increased threefold and the empire was widely held in awe by great thinkers of the European Enlightenment.  

Early Risers and Workers
The Manchu ethnic group, comprising but a tiny portion of China’s massive population, went to great lengths to rule efficiently and harmoniously. Ruling from the Forbidden City in China’s northern capital of Beijing, Qing emperors led lives of painstaking diligence. Particularly the three greats—Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong—who presided over a 140-year period of prosperity are remembered for their personal discipline and measured dedication.

At 5 a.m., the emperor rose to be dressed. His robes were selected in accordance with the varying seasons, months, occasions, and even different times of day. Once dressed, the ruler would pray to Buddha, then spend his morning vigorously absorbing lessons in historical records passed down by his ancestors. Through constant learning, he aspired to streamline his own governance.

At 7 a.m., the emperor finished his studies and went to have his breakfast. In accordance with Manchu custom, the Qing monarchs took two major meals daily, one in the morning, the other in the early afternoon. Two departments—the Office of Palatial Affairs and the Imperial Household Department—tended to the emperor’s diet.

Focused Policymaking
The greatest Qing emperors held court early, quickly, and frequently. It was during this time the emperor announced policy and gave his orders.

Officials representing different advisory bodies and government agencies would submit imperial reports, or memorials, to the emperor, which he read at breakfast. He would then choose which men to meet individually from a list of available officers provided by a eunuch, and then head to court for a one and a half hour session.

Court was only mandatory on a few days of the lunar month, but diligent emperors would hold more frequent sessions, typically starting at 9:30 a.m. Emperor Kangxi (r. 1654−1722) saw his officials almost daily.

Following the meetings, the emperor, retreating to his palace quarters, would set himself upon his paperwork. A vermillion ink pen, designated for his exclusive use, was sign of the annotations and notes he would make to imperial documents. On busy days, an emperor might stay up late into the night reviewing his executive policy.

Meditative Bearing
Provided the emperor was not swamped in state affairs, he would likely spend the afternoon reading or enjoying some cultured leisure—painting, poetry, or operas. The emperors slept early—9 p.m., so that they could wake up before dawn the next day.

Education and religion were integral to the worldview of the enlightened Qing monarchs starting from the first emperor, Shunzhi, who established the tradition of daily Buddhist worship. Aside from a morning session, the emperor would spend much of the evening participating in Buddhist prayer or shamanistic rituals, passed down through his Manchurian heritage. All major rituals, such as those respecting Heaven and Earth, or soil and grain ceremonies, were sure to be attended and led by the emperor personally.

Water Is the Chinese Element of Winter
Can Meditation Really Slow Ageing?
The most successful Qing rulers were also highly spiritual men who wrote much about Buddhist cultivation and philosophy. All emperors received classical educations from Chinese tutors. Even their place of residence bore the title Hall of Mental Cultivation.

Qing emperors were also accomplished artists. Qianlong (r. 1736-1795) was known for his calligraphic skill, and Kangxi, in true Confucian fashion, spent his spare time researching musical traditions from both east and west. The Manchus sponsored the arts and culture from an early period in their rule, which no doubt contributed to their success in governing the Chinese.

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