Articles

taxi stories

In stories on January 24, 2005 by carinasuyin

God is speaking to me through taxi drivers. I am quite convinced. He knows that in the 15-minutes-or-so taxi journeys, my mind is blank and as I stare out of the window and watch the trees, street lamps and road curbs blur into one great colourful swoosh. He knows that whatever He chooses to invoke in me in those pockets of silence, I will hear them loud, resounding, clear, and more attentively and retentively than Sunday mass sermons.

So He sends His taxi driver ministers. They speak of many subjects, in different dialects, voices and moods. And me, I just listen and mutter out the usual Uh huh, Yeah or Yup (in the appropriate language/dialect, of course), and occasionally, reply with longer responses. I don’t know how and why the taxi drivers (I usually call them Uncle, regardless of age and I haven’t met a story-telling Aunty yet) choose who they want to share their nuggets of wisdom with, but they always seem to tell me their stories, unsolicited. Maybe I have the `Tell me a story, talk to me’ look. Sigh.

A few months ago, in the wee hours of the morning en route to Senai Airport in two different cabs, Solemn Uncle and Happy Uncle spoke to me about personal safety, friendship and ambitions as though I was their own daughter or sister. A month ago, Chubby Pakcik discussed nationality, patriotism and the best nasi lemak in Singapore. A fortnight ago, Lottery Uncle told me about his suicidal niece (who ate nine Panadols two nights ago and is eating rice as we spoke) and his new resolution to stop buying lottery because he figured out that he lost more money in a year that he will ever make in a single win. Somewhere in the conversation, Lottery Uncle’s brother called and told him that his taxi registration plate number is the third prize winning number in the day’s draw. Lottery Uncle exclaimed and asked me `How to explain these things lah moi?’. I told him maybe it was a test and encouraged him to keep his resolution.

Last week, Funny Sifu Uncle told me about the young men and women he ferried in his taxi, about their quests for happiness and wealth. He wondered if they are searching for true happiness and said that many only knew one kind of wealth – money. Funny Sifu Uncle used Chinese idioms and humourous stories to present his thoughts. Many a time, after a series of `Yes, yes, yes’ responses from me, he’d ask me if I understood. Embarrassed by my halting command of Mandarin, I said `No’. Funny Sifu Uncle would smile and tell me to stop him whenever I did not comprehend and he will explain. Much to my own dismay, half of his explanations were also lost on my Chinese illiterate mind. Surprisingly, the important parts always survived.

Like many of the Uncles before him that told me their stories, Funny Sifu Uncle’s observations left me pondering over them at night as I lay awake staring at my walls or ceilings. I wondered if the Uncles knew that they had somehow distilled all of my muddled thoughts into one or two connected topics which they would discuss about with their entertaining anecdotes and poignant comments. I wondered who they choose to tell which stories to. Is it a random story-telling effort to pass the time and the silence or did they received higher orders? I wondered why I am affected by the stories long after I have forgotten how the Uncles looked like and as the planetary dust on the wall drifted into my dreams…

Perhaps I chose to listen to what I wanted to hear. Perhaps they were the stories in my heart. Perhaps I just think too much.
Anyway, ai wu ji wu… thanks Funny Sifu Uncle!

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2 Responses to “taxi stories”

  1. Hmmm, this is definately one of your better stories yet. Enjoyed reading this one. A departure from your usual style.

    Woman, you definately think too much. My advise, go fall in love.

    Cheerios,
    Mr.Honeymoon – YouKnowMe

  2. fuck you mr honeymoon! if she stops thinking, she is better of dead.

    but classic post nevertheless. i have no idea why your blog always seems very classy.

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