Singaporean Woman Shares Childhood Story Of Being Shamed For Taxi Driver Father
Everyone faces their fair share of challenges growing up, be it fitting in or doing well in school.
For those who come from a less privileged background, those challenges sometimes include shaming and bullying.
Sadly, that was what happened to one Singaporean woman who was picked on for being “poor”.
She shared her story of how she was shamed throughout primary school for being “poor” as her father worked as a taxi driver.
While the experience left her with scars that lasted until adulthood, she has since learned to see her father’s taxi as a symbol of his hard work and perseverance.
Woman got shamed after being picked up by taxi driver father
According to the extended story on the website, seeing the TikToker get cyberbullied for her Charles & Keith bag brought up painful memories from her past.
She recalled that back in 2000, her father had to give up his business and become a taxi driver after the Asian Financial Crisis.
When her father showed her and her mother the taxi, she did not like it at all but decided to keep quiet.
Following that, her father would pick her up from school as he worked the night shift.
However, Christina was uncomfortable with how much his yellow taxi stood out among the other parents’ cars.
Her fellow classmates started off by giving her weird looks, which quickly progressed into unkind remarks like “My dad said that taxi uncles are poor” and “My mum told me if I don’t study hard, I will become a taxi driver”.
The then seven-year-old Christina did not know what to do and asked her father to wait for her at a nearby HDB carpark instead.
Months later, she told him to stop picking her up entirely.
While her father never asked why, she suspected her father knew the reason.
Classmates called woman “taxi” and bullied her through schooling years
The unkind remarks from Christina’s classmates in primary school were only the beginning, as she continued to endure them through secondary school.
Recounting an incident where she was invited to a wealthy friend’s home, she said she was introduced as the friend’s “poor housemate”.
She added that classmates would pass notes talking about her parents and call her “taxi” whenever they walked by her.
Although Christina kept quiet through all the shaming, it never stopped others from laughing at her regardless.
On occasions when their teachers asked the students where they’d been for the holidays, some would name far-off locations like USA and Japan.
Even those who said they went to Indonesia and Malaysia would “get a few sniggers”, according to Christina.
Due to her family’s circumstances, they did not go on such trips, but she still got laughed at for saying nothing.
There were also various school trips over the years that Christina missed out on as they were a luxury her family could not afford.
All of these experiences led young Christina to internalise being poor as part of her identity.
Father missed out on reunion dinners fetching others to their own
Christina’s father’s occupation also came with other challenges, like not being able to attend Chinese New Year (CNY) reunion dinners.
According to Christina, her family was never able to have a proper reunion dinner ever since her father took up the job.
During CNY eve, her father would have to spend the whole day ferrying passengers to their own reunion dinners.
As a result, he would only return home at dawn.
Reunion dinners became a luxury to Christina, not because of the food on the table, but due to the fact that they could not dine as a family.
Throwaway comment by friend brought back woman’s shame
Years later, Christina’s old feelings of shame were reawakened while she was travelling overseas with a friend.
Upon seeing that Christina was thinking of buying something for her mother, the friend asked if she had never travelled before.
To her, it felt like she was “just buying random things for no reason”.
While Christina understood that her friend did not mean any harm, it brought back all the shame she used to feel as a child.
However, it also reminded her of what her mum said when she used to lecture her about her attitude towards her father’s job.
“What was I ashamed of?” Christina mused.
Watching what TikTok user @zohtaco went through, she opined that it spoke volumes about the wealth culture in Singapore.
Although she was a taxi driver’s kid, everyone else was also the kid of someone in a particular career.
It was only what their parents did for a living that divided them.
Woman learned to see taxi driver father through new eyes
After decades of being a taxi driver, Christina’s father had to retire prematurely when he suffered a stroke in 2019.
Instead of relief, she was sad instead as she had learned to see her father’s job from a renewed perspective.
At that point, she saw it as a symbol of her father providing for their family, a safe shelter on stormy nights, and their personal ambulance when she had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night.
She also viewed it as a sign of his hard work and perseverance in spite of adversities.
It was all he had, but it was enough to keep them afloat and see her through to adulthood. All in all, it was enough.
Always try to exercise kindness & compassion
We all come from different walks of life, but that never gives us the right to look down on those less privileged than us.
Ultimately, we all have our own hopes and struggles, so let us always try to be kind and empathetic to one another.
Here’s wishing Christina and her family many more years of reunion dinners.
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Featured image adapted from Thir.st.
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