*Sometimes, we get a story from the other side, a citizen and native driver of a country who has a lot to share about foreigners. Here’s one of them from Singapore.

Lisa was born and raised in Singapore. She was slight, had a slightly sleepy look to her face, but was cheery and polite. Lisa used to work in administration, but gave it up so she could have a more flexible schedule to ferry her children around to their various classes, extra-curricular activities, and more. Singapore has one of the most rigorous academic systems in the world, and it is not uncommon for students to study night and day, weekdays and weekends. The stress of doing well is unbelievably high, with children as young as seven going to classes six days a week for hours on end.

Lisa bemoaned this. “I wish I had moved to Australia when I had the chance. Our quality of life would be so much better.”

“Can’t you still do it?”

“No…my children wouldn’t want to. Their friends are here. And I don’t want to take them out in the middle of their schooling.”

“Do you have relatives in Australia?”

“Yes, my sister lives there. She moved there eight years ago.”

“And your children are dealing well with stress?”

“No. My young one, she cries when she doesn’t understand her homework, or when she does badly. I got her two tutors in Maths but she is still having trouble.”

“That sounds awful,” I told Lisa.

She sighed. “What to do?”

We chatted about traveling and how many foreigners now came to Singapore. Lisa mentioned that when she worked for Uber, she used to get a lot of airport calls and pickups for foreigners in the city.

“Some of them are horrible,” she declared.

Those were strong words, so I asked, “What do you mean?”

“Those ang-mohs*. Some of them. They are so rude!”


“I pick them up, and they scream at me for no good reason just because they are late. If they are late it’s not my fault! I’m just driving.”


“Yes! It’s like they don’t even see us as humans. Like we are their servants. Or they don’t even look at you and you’re just an animal driver to them.”

“Tell me what was the worst that happened to you.”

Lisa paused, then she said, “One time, a passenger was on his phone the entire time, which I think is fine, but then he got out and he was a Grab cash passenger, and he just threw the money at me!” “I couldn’t believe it,” she continued, shaking with emotion. “He made me feel worthless. And the worst I can do is give him a low rating.”

*ang moh = “red devil” (typically a caucasian.)


About the artist

Loraine Yow is a self-taught illustrator hiding in Portland, Oregon with her outlaw cat. Her home on the web can be found at www.lolo-ology.com