My Grab Broke Down

I had a meeting in the CBD yesterday. It was around the Maxwell area, so I thought I would have lunch at my favourite Hainanese Pork Chop Rice stall before heading home.

Called for a Grab. Car shows up. It’s a slightly older guy. Grizzled. Masked. Sunglasses.

“Good afternoon, sir! How are you today? Is the aircon OK?”

Standard spiel. I’ve heard it many times before. Plus, I’m feeling a strange mixture of irritation and embarrassment: I’ve never liked older folks calling me “sir”.

But something is not right. His voice is tremulous. I imagine him biting his lips. I look up, he catches my eye in the rearview mirror and quickly looks away.

Tentatively, I ask, “Mister, are you OK?” Boy, did that sound dumb coming out of my mouth.

He is silent. Like the streets.

“You are my second passenger today. Just my second.”

All I see is a blue mask, getting soaked. But another mask has cracked. And, there and then, my Grab — my Grab driver — broke down.

I ask him to pull over a while. Do you want to talk? It is as though I hit a release valve: the fears and anxiety, the bills, the mortgage, the autistic child. All of this, our shared humanity.

Long before cities, nations, societies and systems break down, people do. One by one. Often, alone. So those of us who haven’t broken (yet), please do what we can to hold those who have together.

I ask, hey do you want to have a coffee? Have you had lunch? He laughs, embarrassed. We leave it hanging. I’m home. I leave a tip, as nonchalantly as I can manage. He accepts with wordless thanks.

It was a short ride home for me. But it’s going to be a really long ride for all of us.

 

* Facebook post by Adrain Kuah.

 

 

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11 Responses to “My Grab Broke Down”

  • Heart-breaking:

    These are the people who really need help from the govt. as they live from hand to mouth, and don’t have enough savings for stormy days like this; certainly not to companies and businesses that have profited over the years, and their million dollar CEOs, Directors and Executives to maintain their lavish lifestyle.

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  • Foul Breath Communications:

    At least this friver greeted you properly. Would you prefer him to call you uncle like all those uneducated dafts?

    I had an encounter with Uber. The driver was stupid, stubborn and rude. Insisted to drop us off at Hillion Mall when we said Bukit Panjang Plaza many times. Super moron.

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  • Wuhan virus 1,000 mark:

    Heart-breaking:
    These are the people who really need help from the govt. as they live from hand to mouth, and don’t have enough savings for stormy days like this; certainly not to companies and businesses that have profited over the years, and their million dollar CEOs, Directors and Executives to maintain their lavish lifestyle.

    sad case. time for government to help the INDIVIDUAL.

    business mad pap is always talking about helping businesses, and as an aside, says it hopes the businesses receiving S$ from pap shall pass on the S$ to the INDIVIDUALs.

    but why such a roundabout uncertain way? why not straight away pass S$ straight on to the INDIVIDUAL?

    after all, the businesses 99.99% unlikely to pass on to the INDIVIDUAL. 99.99% shall not do so.

    on the other hand, since GE2015, any such sob cases such as Grab driver, we feel sorry then we realize they may have a hand in causing their own misery in their voting of pap.

    once this realization kicks in, we gladly wait for more such sob cases. are we heartless? well, we are hurt badly by such folks voting pap so, yes, we are heartless since why should we have a heart on folks who hurt us, whether directly or indirectly.

    we fear our maker so we won’t hurt such folks. but, as humans, we won’t lift a finger either. until New Government forms and pap folks indicted via new cpib new spf new agc new bank negara, too bad, such sob stories are just, sob stories which these folks have a hand in causing their own misery.

    what has Wuhan virus got to do with pap. plenty. pap numbers have been going up and up. go figure. follow the numbers. look at macau. look at Taiwan. clear as day pap is culpable.

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  • Do the best we can:

    Looks like this is going for the long haul.
    The bumpy rough ride had started for many.
    Unless the miracle vaccine comes up, more will be on this road.
    The main thing; ensure control for the orderly distribution of food stuff and medical support.
    Remove “barriers” with attention for the poor to get adequate supply.
    United we stand, divided we fall.
    Use the machinery, tune up encourage people to support one another.
    Keep the peace and minds healthy.
    Pray and hope for the best.

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  • Do more:

    Do more for people like them,hardest hit in this Covid-19 Pandemic.
    Especially for those who lost their jobs recently.
    Should give them at least $1200 per month (or less than 50% of their last pay)to survive.

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  • Bobo:

    Our G loves to “houlian” to the world that Singapore is a rich country. B$ is easily thrown out during Covid19 crisis to help affected people regardless of how rich they are. To the poor drivers and elderly cleaners, the financial help is really pitiful. They were the group that gave PAP the full support in last GE.

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  • Tips:

    In some countries, tips is a habit or custom but in sg, it is considered as an extraordinary act. 少见多怪。The reactive act itself is though meritorious yet limited and making it a second nature and do so actively with spontaneity makes the merits unlimited. imo.

    Previously, G controlled the number of taxis on the road for the welfare of the drivers (during Liu Tuck Yew tenure). But with PV from Uber onwards, the emphasis evolves $interest$ingly.改变初衷 (helmed by current KBW)。 One side/area plus profit, naturally, the other side/area minus benefit. While PH initially operated at a great advantage with G blessing & minimum rules & regulations i.e. with maximum no rules no regulations no G for the first five years, Transcab boss Teo Kiang Ang appeared in first few fully pictured & colored occupying 1/2 full pages of ST showing off his 300+ “parked & dust-clothed” taxis in Defu & Sungei Kadut areas ranting about “unfairness”.

    As of sept 2019, it was reported 71K PHV & less than 20K taxis were plying the trade. With 1K new buses & new routes, new mrt lines & “money not enough”, it is irrational to resort to self-pity, when they already had their “happy years” over their taxis counterparts.

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  • Wise UP:

    Did this man lost his job to a foreigner and has to drive Grab? And then to have to go through such stress in trying times like now?

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  • Do more:

    Need to do more for those badly hit.Have a heart.
    It is true that the $500 support for those who lost their job only apply to those who lost their job near the end of Jan 2020?
    Should it not be given also to those out of job since the start of Jan 2020 until now?
    Better still ,give to all who has lost their job and are still jobless now.
    $500 is not a big sum for Singapore to give to these group to survive.

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    Reported on Straits Times website :Quote – “SMRT bus driver tests positive for Covid-19; vehicle thoroughly cleaned and disinfected
    SMRT and SBS Transit have increased the cleaning of high commuter touchpoints in areas such as vehicles and premises in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
    SMRT and SBS Transit have increased the cleaning of high commuter touchpoints in areas such as vehicles and premises in response to the coronavirus outbreak.PHOTO: ST FILE
    PUBLISHEDAPR 2, 2020, 8:36 PM SGT
    FACEBOOKWHATSAPPTWITTER
    Wong Kai Yi
    SINGAPORE – A bus driver of service 972 has tested positive for the coronavirus, said SMRT on Thursday (April 2).

    The driver was last at work on March 27, had his rest day on March 28 and tested positive on March 31 when he visited a doctor, SMRT said.

    “He felt unwell on March 29 and saw a doctor that day. He visited the doctor again on March 31 and was conveyed to the hospital,” it added.

    The driver is currently warded and in a stable condition.

    “We are closely monitoring his condition and offering assistance to him and his family,” SMRT said.

    The company is assisting the Ministry of Health in the contact-tracing process, and said that the vehicle and premises that the driver had been in contact with have been “thoroughly cleaned and disinfected”.

    “The health and well-being of our commuters and staff are our top priority. We would like to assure commuters that all necessary precautions are being taken to safeguard the well-being of our commuters and staff,” said SMRT Roads president Tan Kian Heong.

    SMRT and SBS Transit have increased the cleaning of high commuter touchpoints in areas such as vehicles and premises in response to the coronavirus outbreak….” Unquote.

    Response :What Smrt driver got corona virus? Maybe never practise social distancing on buses? How come the Smrt shameless beast woman Margaret Tan never come up to explain. Now need the SMRT Roads president Tan Kian Heong to explain some more?

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  • help the poor and needy:

    Time to help the poor ,needy and Jogless.
    Especially those that falls between the cracks.
    Agency helping should be flexible and more merciful and not too rigid to follow rules.
    help those with difficulties to cope during this time,especially those jobless for months.

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