Fellow blogger and taxi driver James Lim received a warning letter from his taxi company for reckless driving and driving at a dangerous speed, causing a serious accident – infractions which could seriously affect his performance incentives. But what really happened. Thanks to a high tech online platform called blogging, James could tell his side of the story in his blog.
OK, so who do you believe? Even without the prejudice of being a blogger and a victim of complaints myself, I find James’ story quite easy to verify even though I find it very strange that the two men who had booked his taxi ignored him when he arrived. The condo has CCTVs everywhere and his purported “reckless” driving and “serious” accident should have been recorded. Could the investigating officer have used video footage and security guard’s statements to pass a more convincing judgement? I certainly think so. Instead, he merely took the word of the two customers who complained that their booked taxi didn’t come.
Nevertheless, James had indeed made a mistake even if we were to believe his story entirely. But as Jesus said : “let him who is without sin, cast the first stone”. It’s so easy to point fingers when our own weaknesses are hidden from view. Following the exposure of Yaw Shin Leong’s affair, was a spate of high profile scandals and court cases involving people in positions of authority in the civil service. Many people were appalled. Why should they be? Humans are not perfect. Even former judges and DPPs can find their turn in the dock. Common folks like us are often too quick to judge others and impose zero tolerance without thinking about what a reasonable standard of “morality” is.
Hence, James was indignant that he was judged based on a certain stratospheric standard of “excellence” if not perfection that the company has set for its drivers with no reference to what is comfortably achievable by mere mortals. Zero tolerance for mediocrity so that investigations into infractions can be mediocre? Stepping into James’ shoes, my argument is not so much on whether he had made a mistake (he certainly did), but whether the company spared a thought for the driver (its partner as James pointed out) and probed a bit deeper to establish the facts and come to a conclusion that would do him some justice.
The sad thing is that the moment someone has erred, the mistake gets exaggerated, fuelled by “zero tolerance” and sometimes, even when the infraction is a debatable one, complainants who mount moral high horses always have the right of way.
Actually, such practices apply to all vocations and professions in Singapore. Apathetic Singaporean who are anxious about paying off their car and condo mortgage loans are simply not spoiling for a fight with their licensing bodies even if they have been unfairly treated. They move on and the practice becomes a habit. The common folks out there will probably tell James that he should count himself lucky that he was not terminated by the taxi company. Life goes on, but it will take some people to rock the boat so that we don’t always need to swallow our indignation.
© Chan Joon Yee