SINGAPORE: Some 150 taxi drivers from the pioneer generation were treated to a visit to Clarke Quay to re-live their memories of the tourist attraction. The visit was organised by the labour movement as a form of appreciation for the cabbies' contributions.
The National Taxi Association members, mostly aged 70 and above, went on a river cruise and enjoyed a sumptuous lunch at a riverside restaurant.
Back in the 1970s, the Singapore River area was a popular stop for taxi drivers to pick up customers. Then, it was a bustling area known for timber trading and was a warehouse zone.
Tham Yuet Kok, 68, who has been driving a taxi for 34 years, said: "In the past, there was a public toilet here (in the area). We would often come here to use the toilet, wash our cars, and eat at the hawker centre. Taxi drivers loved coming here."
Some of the regular passengers of these taxi drivers were also present to thank them and offer them tokens of appreciation.
The National Taxi Association currently has more than 15,000 members.
There are some 28,000 taxi drivers in Singapore and more than 10 per cent of them belong to the pioneer generation.
Mr Ang Hin Kee, executive advisor of the National Taxi Association, said: "Many of these pioneer taxi drivers have been providing taxi service for more than 25 years. They continue to lead an active lifestyle and stay healthy by exercising regularly, keeping to a healthy diet and getting adequate rest.
"Many are also mentors to the younger drivers. It is thus timely that we recognise and show appreciation to their commitment and effort in providing the public with a valuable and safe public transport option." - CNA/ac/nd
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