Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why? Why? Why?

Of late, I had been going back to the period of wonderment, bewilderment,
puzzlement and enchantment that often put adolescents in a period of deep thoughts
yet coming up with few answers.! No, no, I am not a growing teen, but a lady whose one foot is already in the grave. As such, it is no enchanting matter to always see
history repeating itself!

The latest to bewilder me is the plight of Dr. Cai Mingjie, Singapore's most learned taxi driver. His book has been published, yet until now, he has not been able to find or be reinstated with his ideal job that will capitalise the most of his experience, knowledge and talent.

Somehow, Dr. Cai's experience made me think of the time when I was a secretary with a Korean company, Keang Nam Enterprises, which was then building the Penang International Airport. My office was at the Airport site itself - a rugged temporary shelter that was comfortably airconditioned with some 20 Korean administrative/engineering and one nursing staff.

From the start, the company's driver had been picking Miss Lim the nurse, Molly my assistant, and me up for work. However, for some reasons the company decided that we should make our own way to work. I was quite annoyed, to be frank. It was a let down. It was a little walk to the office even from the main road, not to mention that it was about 12 km from my house in Jelutong Village. I decided that I would not take the bus but to cycle to and from the office. My boss, Mr. Lee, was shocked, for he did not expect his well-groomed secretary to be able to cycle that far. He was also somewhat embarrassed, for it would not speak well of the company. Two weeks later, the only 3 ladies in the company were informed that the company would reinstate the car pick-up privilege!

I was not a rebel, but my insistence of cyclying to work was seen as a defiant and shrewd step to make my boss rethink his options. I was a faithful staff because even though some of the suppliers had wanted to poach me, I stayed on with the company for
I understood the Koreans and their problem with communication with the locals. I only left the company as I was accepted for tertiary studies in Canada. For my good service, the company awarded me with an all expenses paid trip to Korea.

I am sure that when my friends from overseas hear about Dr. Cai's current work as a taxi driver, they would be sure to bombard me with many questions. "We thought that there is hardly any unemployment in Singapore? Hey, we thought that the government is always quick to maximise the talent and skill of her people? Stanford University?
What a letdown for one of America's best colleges!"

I do not own a company or business that can make good use of Dr. Cai's talent and skill. However, I do hope that my humble article will stir the heart-strings of someone who is in a better position to help Dr. Cai to make full use of his training and knowledge, so that in turn, the country benefits.

"We have so many talents here in Singapore, Choo," Soh Wah, my best friend would always say when I compliment her on her two talented sons in music.

Frankly, I dread the day when there will be more learned taxi drivers on the road.
I certainly pray that history will not repeat itself as seen in other advanced countries now.

Is this the reason why I had subconsciouly put my nose into a few areas of interest?
Now, at the age of 56, I know I will never be out of unemployment. I can still be a tutor, teacher, chef, tour guide, secretary, and nanny/housekeeper should the property market be very, very bad. However, I was told that excellent agents can sell in both good and bad times. I hope that I am one of those excellent agents!

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