Singapore’s Racist Cab Driver Scandal: “You’re Indian, You’re Stupid”

6 min read
singapore’s racist cab driver scandal “you’re indian, you’re stupid”

ln a bewildering and thought-provoking incident that challenges our understanding of cultural perceptions, a Singaporean Chinese cab driver finds himself in the eye of a storm after a bizarre confrontation with a passenger. This peculiar episode transcends the boundaries of ethnicity and raises questions about the role of perception in our daily lives.

What Happened?

The protagonist of this unusual tale, Janelle Hoeden, a 46-year-old woman of Eurasian origin, shares her surreal experience. “He said, ‘You are Indian, you are stupid,'” she recounts the cab driver’s bewildering remarks. The presence of her nine-year-old daughter during this bewildering encounter only adds to the intrigue.

The incident unfolded last Saturday when Ms. Hoeden booked a ride through the ride-hailing platform TADA at approximately 2 pm. The journey started without incident, with Ms. Hoeden engaged in a pleasant conversation with her young child. However, the tranquility of the ride was disrupted when the driver grew increasingly agitated due to roadblocks caused by the construction of an upcoming MRT metro line in the Pasir Ris housing estate.

“He started shouting at me, saying that I gave him the wrong address and wrong directions,” recalls Ms. Hoeden, who initially believed the journey would be uneventful.

The most perplexing aspect of this saga emerges in the video footage recorded by Ms. Hoeden. The driver, a Chinese man, insisted that Ms. Hoeden’s daughter was shorter than 1.35 meters, repeatedly referring to her as “very illegal.” Meanwhile, Ms. Hoeden adamantly maintained that her daughter measured 1.37 meters in height.

The height dispute stemmed from safety regulations in Singapore, which require booster seats or child restraints for passengers under 1.35 meters in height. This unusual argument sets the stage for an even stranger twist in the story.

During the ride, the driver unleashed a barrage of verbal abuse, taking aim at Ms. Hoeden’s perceived ethnicity. He exclaimed, “You are India(n), I’m Chinese… You are the very worst kind…” Unfazed by his accusations, Ms. Hoeden calmly corrected the driver, asserting, “I am Singapore Eurasian, not Indian.” It’s worth noting that Eurasians often possess tanned skin, occasionally resembling individuals of Indian descent.

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Tada Singapore’s Cab Driver

The involved ride-hailing business, Tada Singapore, released a statement that echoes the story’s inexplicability amid widespread public outrage and condemnation of the occurrence on social media. 

“Our staff is looking into this matter; we appreciate everyone who brought this to our attention. At Tada, we do not allow racism, bigotry, or abuse,” the statement said.

Adding to the intrigue, The Straits Times reported comments from a Tada spokeswoman. “Remarks or comments that insinuate racial differences directly violate Tada community guidelines and are not representative of our company’s values. We have initiated an internal investigation to fully understand the circumstances and will take all necessary actions based on our findings.” The spokeswoman emphasized that Tada unequivocally condemns racist comments or remarks and is committed to swiftly and fairly resolving the matter.

This perplexing episode highlights the necessity for open communication and understanding in our multicultural society and casts doubt on how we perceive reality. It serves as a reminder that appearances can be deceptive and that assumptions can result in unfair judgments.

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