I boarded the Uber car home. It was a pool ride and we had to drop two others before it was my turn. Usually that happens. I am always travelling from the city area all the way East. I am always the last.
When the rest of the riders are gone, the driver started to talk to me.
Usually this happens too. Conversations happen when there’s only one rider. Otherwise, the ride will be done in silence with poor radio content providing some background music.
– Girl, studying?
Okay. Usually I lie because I cannot be bothered to explain where and what and how I am in an obscure school where only 5% of the population knows.
– Oh the art art school near Rochor there. Study what?
Should I say theatre? I have said that before and the judgements are damn harsh. Well…
– Design is it?
– Uh, yah. Design. Graduating soon.
– Oh good lah. So after graduate how? Want to do what?
– Not sure lah. Still have time to think a bit.
– Yah, but must have dreams mah. Must aspire to something. If not how?
– Hahaha. Yah, I know lah. Maybe I will start my own company or what. Do my own thing.
– Yah. That’s good. Cannot always work under people one. Go nowhere. I retired already, was working sea imports/exports. Now just drive Uber.
– Oh okay. Cool.
– I tell you what. But you are a girl, so very good. Work, see see the world out there for three to five years. Then hopefully you meet a man and get married. Have your own family.
My brain kind of kept blinking a red emergency light, and I was in the front passenger seat. So I was really bracing myself for a typical boy more important than girl gender roles conversation.
– You just listen can already. No need to take what I say. Just think about it. I have a daughter, only one. I am coming 60 and my missus 61. She’s close to her cousins but when we are gone, who will accompany her and be with her? She second year uni now, and I am worried.
I notice how he sighs and drives slightly slower.
– Yah. You can work work work achieve a lot of things but when people family reunion, you go home to nothing. Family is family. Extended family is still not the same as your own family. Her cousins will go on to have their own family also. Then how?
Then he goes on about how I don’t have to share the same view as him. Apparently he’s talked about this a couple of times and people my age find his view severely unpopular.
The ride ends, I thank him and he gets out for a smoke.
– Okay. That’s my last job today. Girl, get home safe okay. If anything happen, shout. Uncle is here.
And I was surprised by the experience. Maybe those words are not meant for me, but more so for his daughter. Who is a similar age to me.
Also, family. What is that value? Now? Today?
It is nice and deeply touching to meet someone who really believes in something with such sincerity, and carries it openly.