Recently, Dr Walter Theseira, transport economist at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) commented in a Channel News Asia article that having more young private hire drivers (PHVD) for the long term can raise societal issues such as significantly harming lifetime wages and career opportunities.
True as it may be, however, as a spouse to a PHVD, I’ve never been shy to tell people that my Husband is a “Grab driver”.
Back in 2015, my Husband first drove for Uber when the ride-hailing transport service launched nationwide in Singapore.
At that point of time, it was the most calculated option as we just had our first child, and staying on our own meant that we had to commute every morning from our home in Punggol to my parents’ in Woodlands to drop our baby off, before heading to work in the city.
The journey to and fro took us more than two hours each day.
Feeling like he was in a dead-end job at a company where he was underpaid and underappreciated, my Husband took a leap of faith and resigned from his desk job so that he could earn more and have more flexibility in his schedule to look after our baby.
With Uber and Grab, it was possible. He was just 30 years old then.
After becoming a PHVD, he was able to send our two daughters every morning to my parents’ place before turning on his driver app, up until they each turned 18 months. That ‘gig’ took 3 years of his life and he hasn’t looked back since.
Yes, now my Husband lacks a career path, doesn’t have any “marketable skills” for his resume, and his business degree may have been a waste of time and money; but what he did was a selfless act of sacrifice for our family.
So when people think that private hire drivers are lowly-educated, earn little to none, or can’t find employment, I really cannot take part in their misguided pity party.
Because guess what? Sometimes having a particular job is a circumstantial choice. Sometimes it’s a personal choice. Why do we need to question it? Why do we need to feel like we’re mightier than others when we work in a cushy job and an air-conditioned office, but still have to report to someone of higher authority?
As long as one works hard, sets targets and achieves his goal, any job can be a rewarding one.
But even if you have no skills or are lowly-educated, any job that pays the bills and feeds the family is good enough, and that’s all that truly matters.
So to the blue-collared workers, freelancers, and those performing ‘gig’ economy jobs, I say strive on, because even if strangers don’t know your worth, those who love you will value your earnest effort to make a good life.
In honour of Father’s Day, I thank you, dear Husband, for the sacrifices you have made for our little family. Thank you for the example you set and for your leadership in our family. We feel so lucky to have you.