Friday, August 14, 2009

A taxi driver in Singapore with a Stanford PhD

This is an extremely but sad (from my perspective) blog. Ageism can hit anyone in Singapore. Even a Stanford PhD is not spared. It's another number 1 for Singapore - we have the most educated taxi driver in the world.

It's probably only in Singapore where we have a Stanford PhD driving a taxi. What's next? NUS graduates picking up cardboard boxes for a living? Tsinghua graduates working in KTV lounges?

In any case, it is still a fascinating read, a rare glimpse into the life of a taxi driver in Singapore from the point of view of a Stanford PhD.


takchek said...

A SPH journalist has already left a comment on his blog asking for an interview.

I am guessing it will be taken down soon if he wants to keep a low profile.

Fox said...

I wonder if taxi drivers are allowed to blog.

Chee Wai Lee said...

There is some time-lag between his posts and the events he describe (last post July 28 and last date of event April 16), so hopefully he's gotten a job offer some time ago.

It also looks like his blog was "discovered" around August 13 by that journalist from The New Paper. I've seen no prior comments.

I wonder why he chose not to expand his job search to the international research market. I am sure he has his reasons though.

I hope things work out for him eventually.

skeptic said...

What about the comments on the research culture/bureaucracy in Singapore (A-Star/NUS/NTU/..etc)?

Any comments?

Kaz Augustin said...

Not true. You may have one taxi-driving PhD in Singers, but there are scores of postgraduate degree holders doing the same thing in Australia.

I can't tell you the number of conversations I've had with holders of Masters degrees in agriculture, marine biology, medicine, biotechnology and sub-fields of engineering. The main topic was usually the conflict between a safer weeknight shift with low pay or a weekend shift with higher pay but the chance of being bashed or knifed.

Kevin Jang said...

Actually, I read the book he wrote in sections, and his earlier part stated that he could not leave Singapore because he had a family here. I am probably not as convinced, since the nature of most academic jobs require you to uproot yourself and sometimes you actually have to even try moving your whole family along with it. Dr Cai Mingjie was a former mainland Chinese citizen and apparently became a Singaporean citizen in the course of time (not sure if he ever did his National Service), but it does appear that under the citizenship scheme for China, most citizens who get a citizenship elsewhere cannot get back to China to work for reasons of passports. That could simply be why he has no choice but to stay put in Singapore, in tha he simply cannot go back to China or anywhere like Hong Kong and so on. That said, he does have a choice of going to places like the USA and it might just be his own preference for Singapore? I always hear from older people who are married in their 40's and 50's how they are averse to moving about, so that might also be one reason why.