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My cabbie does it again… August 8, 2009

Posted by prasadhms in Bottles.
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Just got back from a morning-evening business trip to Singapore. Had to take an early morning flight out of Singapore and hence spent the night trying not to sleep by doing a marathon session of Discovery Channel…it was bliss after being deprived of it at home where the only channels that hit the screen are the ones that my daughter approves and she obviously is years away from approving Discovery Channel as a ‘watchable’ channel. I was so thrilled like a child on a swing that the television was on full-blast until the person from the next room knocked on my door to ‘sshhh’ me down and he/she had reason to do so coz it was well past mid-night to be listening to Mythbusters from the other side of the wall! Fast forward to 4.45 a.m this morning and I was outside the hotel waving to a blue cab with a Chinese driver.

SingaporeTaxiAs I prepared myself for a good drive, my cabbie was annoyed by a truck loaded with construction workers that cut him and crossed the road and my cabbie said “must be Indian…!” and it indeed was an Indian! Then almost like an after thought he asked me “So…sir! Where do you come from?”…and partly embarrassed my co-countrymen’s act I sheepishly said…”Chennai” and then he was quick to continue the conversation with other questions that were meant to size me up before he chose the tone for the conversation. Finding that I was on business, he…in Matrix style…quickly loaded the ‘data chip’ in and started talking and I was once again happily encouraging him to give me a data filled talk. He spoke about the brain drain issue in Singapore causing the Government to stop releasing the annual figures of migrants, then about reasons why Singapore is not a great place to retire if you are working there and then some macro economics of how a 4.5 million population challenges new entrants in business as there is already a saturation of service providers in most of the industries and services. You gotta be bigger than the guys already in business or you will have to be shockingly different, coz the sample size to try and compete in an established space is just within that 4.5 million heads in the country! Good point indeed! Then we worked on some base figures of survival for a small business owner who sells roti-prata for a living. The space rental to setup shop in a residential area comes anywhere between 8000-14000 singapore dollars which when worked backwards meant the vendor had to sell 45 roti-pratas every working hour, assuming he ran the shop for 12 hours on all 30 days…and that would still earn him just enough to pay the rental and the overheads! Phew I once again thanked my liking to chat with the cabbies and this one especially when he bid me goodbye with a last bit of information that he has to pay a “Television Licence” of 110 dollars a month to entertain himself after a tiring day’s work. Hmm…I will never get tired of my cabbie chats!

Will pickle again!

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