Mediocrity is Better Than No Mercy

“When managers tolerate a culture of mediocrity, they reinforce the most pernicious barrier to change. Mediocrity insidiously works its way through every nook and cranny of the organization. It anesthetizes people into passivity and even worse, creates a quicksand of generalized inertia that continually frustrates those who attempt to shake things up towards real change.

The symptoms are numerous – shoddy workmanship, impolite staff, poor internal infrastructures, insufficient training, a culture of blame, lethargy, complacency, reactivity and defensiveness, and very often, all the ills are manifested through poor customer service”. says Lohcifer of LohandBehold.

I recently had the misfortune of being slapped with a “warning letter” from my company due to a mediocre officer in charge of investigation in the company.

Please allow me to share with you my experience.

“On 24/01/2014 at around 9.30am, I accepted a call booking to pick passenger(s) at Cashew Park Condominium.

A short distance from the gate to the lobby of the first block in the condo, I saw two young men in early twenties talking to each other. One was quite plumb and the other had yellow colored hair. Both were wearing shorts and flashy T-shirts.

I stopped in front of them and used my hand signal to check whether they were the ones who made the call booking. They did not acknowledge my hand signal and gave me a surprised look. They also ignored me.

Assuming that I had arrived at a wrong pick-up point and the young men were not the passengers, I decided to leave the lobby and moved forward to reverse my taxi out of the condo.

Unfortunately, while reversing my taxi, the right side of my back door slightly knocked against the tail end of a parked 16tons lorry. The lorry did not suffered any damage as it has a steel beam bumper. My taxi had a slight scratch at the place of impact. The broken left signal light was due to an accident that happened a long time ago.

I left the condo to search for my missing passengers but ended in vain.

In the same evening, an officer from my company called me to inform me that the young man had lodged a telephone complaint against me, alleging that I had driven recklessly after the serious accident with the lorry. The officer wanted to hear my side of the story and I gave him my account of what happened as written here. He then ordered me to report the accident and send my taxi for inspection at our company workshop asap. I complied to what he instructed obediently on 28/01/2014.

On the day when my taxi was at the workshop undergoing inspection, I received a WARNING LETTER dated 27/01/2014, that I had committed a “service lapse” and it would affect performance incentive of hirer.”

I was flabbergasted and wrote them an email (after C.N.Y. so as not to spoil their festive moods):

” To: Senior Investigation Officer – Driver Affairs. Dated 03/02/2014

Re: WARNING LETTERACCIDENT RELATED CASES – At Cashew Park Condominium 20/01/2014 at 09.29hrs

Dear Sir,

I had to suppress my indignation upon receipt of your WARNING LETTER relating to an “accident” case at Cashew Park Condominium.

In my opinion, there was no ACCIDENT. If you consider lightly touching the back of a stationary lorry while reversing my taxi as an accident, then I believe no motorist in this word is humanly able to maintain an absolute clean driving record in his lifetime. If you can tell me honestly that you NEVER had any unintended or minor mishap in your driving career, I would salute you as the most impeccable motorist on earth. You are probably better than a robotic driver.

Now, in your warning letter to me regarding my accident case, you mentioned that you have carefully considered all the facts, which were obtained from a telephone call from the young adults (complainants) and my written explanation ( as written above ). 

Basically, it was a question of whether you believe the complainant side of the story or mine. I appreciate that it is a dilemma that all investigators had to face. But to arrive at a fair and accurate judgment, you ought to have indisputable evidences on your desk before you make a judgement.

In my case, I wonder what evidences you had, apart from the cell-phone call from the complainant, to firmly determine that I was guilty of reckless driving?

Did you go down to the site or made an effort to take statements from the security guard as a witness?

Did the complainant provides you with a video recording of my reckless driving? No, right? So, your facts were based merely on hear-say and therefore, it could be a pack of lies.

By the way, the driveway from the guardhouse to the lobby and the car park is a narrow lane of less than 50 meters. How could I be driving at a dangerous speed on such a short and narrow stretch of road in my 7 years old Toyota Crown Taxi?

Could it be possible that the complainant made a baseless complaint against me to spite and take revenge at me for failing to pick them up?

In any case, an In-Vehicle camera would have vindicated me.

Apparently, you decided to believe only the complainant side of the story and arbitrarily issued me a warning letter for a service lapse on that occasion and reminded me to observe all the traffic & taxi rules & regulation at all time. You also warned me to always project a good image of your taxi service.

I am proud to say that as driving a taxi is my livelihood and profession, I had always being mindful of what you had stressed in your letter. Therefore, I took your warning letter seriously as it questioned my integrity and pride as a taxi driver in your company. Nothing hurts me more than to be wrongly accused and made a scapegoat due to sloppy investigative work in your office.

As my case had elements of doubts with no conclusive evidences, it should not have warranted a warning letter. It would have been better if your esteem office had issued me an ADVISORY LETTER to remind me of the importance of upholding the company image, observe all traffic & taxi rules & regulations and also be mindful of road safety.

Honestly, your warning letter seriously affects my moral and the Performance Incentive in the EIP payout for hirer.

Maybe after another warning letter, you might chose to expel me from your company. Therefore, any warning letter is a serious matter and should be issued conscientiously after exhaustive investigation with irrefutable evidences and certainly not based on frivolous accusations or due to mediocre performance of your office operatives.

The worst practice is to ditch out a standard warning letter to drivers to quickly clear all customers’ complaints.

We are partners in the taxi business and depend on each other for the success of our business. If I could not look up to you as my partner for support, who else could I turn to?

I would love to continue our six years of partnership based on mutual respect and not on you looking down on me and vilifying me unnecessarily for whatever simple mistake I might have made.

Life as a cabby is already stressful enough with having to deal with difficult passengers, drunkards, fare cheats, robbery and assaults. That said, it would be helpful if your esteem officers do not make it worst for us.

Thank you and regards”..

This evening, a polite officer called me to advice me that they would review my case and revert asap with…...I don’t know what?. Frankly, I don’t give a shi.….anymore, now that I had said my piece.

Because, comparing my case to the poor student who to had to ditch out $400 for using the electric socket point at a MRT station, mine is like a slap on the wrist and her is like a kick to “the groin”. Click here to read Gintai’s blog on this subject (Link)

And if LTA had handled my case, I would not only be similarly doomed to mediocrity but worst, raped without mercy.

Fuck My Job and Life.

P/S: Updated on 18/02/2014.

A few days ago, I received the following company letter dated 06/02/2014:

Quote:

We refer to your email dated 03/02/2014 with regard to the above-mentioned subject.

Our management has further reviewed your case. We regret to inform you that your appeal is unsuccessful.

Please note that we encourage our taxi drivers to comply with traffic/taxi rules and regulations at all times, so as to project a good image of our taxi service.

Yours sincerely,
Senior Executive
Drivers Services

Unquote.

So be it!!!

 
Enjoy these antique stickers in my taxi…Not many around!!

 

Ghostly Trip

Old Chinese Graves in C. C. Kang Cemetery.

For my first post, I would like to share with you a real life “ghostly” encounter in intriguing details and hope you will enjoy reading it and come back to visit my blog again.

What I’m about to describe is most definitely my first and hopefully my last encounter of the ghostly kind. It’s strange and scary like hell and I hope time will erase the horrific memory of it.

Now, my buddies know me as someone who don’t believe in ghosts or anything that can’t be proven or I can’t see. I’m the biggest skeptic ever and always find a more rational explanation for odd sightings. But in all honesty, I’m a timid guy.

This was what happened.

It was about 1.30am when I dropped a student off at NTU’s  (Nanyang Technology University) hostel. A booking came in to pick someone at a columbarium near a Chinese cemetery off Lim Chu Kang Road. As the distance was near and my day taking was bad, I accepted the booking instantly and proceeded to the pick-up point. Soon I reached the columbarium after passing through a large cemetery with old Chinese graves everywhere. I had an eerie feeling as the area was dark, silent and deserted. I told myself “There is no ghost in this world..man! What are you afraid of” and turned my radio louder to calm myself.

At the columbarium, an elderly couple in pale sleeping gowns suddenly appeared from nowhere like an apparition. They ambled slowly towards my cab. From a distance, they looked downcast and dejected, unhappy in their demeanour. Under such circumstance, I withdraw from being the chatty cabby and just concentrate on sending them to their requested destination. I didn’t make any initial eye contact with them and have no idea how they look like close-up. I heard the doors closed and the lady asked feebly in a strange voice to go to Bishan ST 22, which was coincidentally a former cemetery but is now a sprawling housing estate. Off I set without a word and without looking backward. Throughout the journey, there was complete silence at the back and the only sound in my cab was the music from my radio. I felt uncomfortable but restrained myself from breaking the ice of silence.

Upon reaching Bishan St 22, the old lady said eerily in a soft voice,  Uncle.., please…stop.. near…the ……..park”. What kind of a spooky, creepy voice was that?, I asked myself, with instant images of ghosts seeking repentance flashing in my mind. I was surprised at her strange drop off point too because there were no houses nearby, only foliage of a huge park.  At 3 am, the park was dark and deserted, like the earlier cemetery. I quickly stopped where she wanted and timidly turned around to collect my fare and stole a quick glance at her. My heart missed a beat…her look……oh my god!, send me silvering with cold sweat and still haunt me in my nightmare.. Please forgive me for not saying more about her ghastly looks…I want to erase all the horrible images of it.

Looks notwithstanding, SHE WAS ALONE! I was convinced I had TWO passengers when I last heard the sound of two doors closing. Did I just met a ghost?…Anyway, she slowly paid the fare, got out and walked unhurriedly, with leaden step into the dark park, disappearing into the air like a puff of a cigar smoke. I was petrified with horror and my pant got wet.. Terrified as I was, I still got out of the cab to check that nobody was lying on the floor. I saw none!! And “ssoooof”…Off I flew like a jet. Wow…believe me, it was a true happening.

I swear never to pick any passenger near a cemetery at night again.

Please do visit http://www.taxiuncle.com (Link)to gain some wonderful insights into the life and experiences of taxi drivers in Singapore. I guarantee that you’ll have an enjoyable browsing time at this web-site.