I had always wanted to pen this for I had worked as a driving instructor with one of the BIG 3 centres in Singapore. And yes, there are only the 3 who monopolise the industry and of course a handful of old-timers who are private instructors. No new licence is given to private instructors. Hence, after the passing of the old timers, there will never be private classes anymore which are by all means cheaper and the best option for those hard-pressed financially.
Now, if you are a foreigner, it’s a walk in the park. Let’s say you come from India with an Indian licence. All you need to do is to pass your Basic Theory – and lo and behold – you have the much coveted prize – a Singapore Licence. Our licence is much respected the world over. For example, we are the only country from Asia which is recognised for conversion without taking a test in Australia. So they too know how tough it is to get a driving licence in Singapore. And for example countries like India, getting a licence is like going to a coffee shop. The more you are willing to give kopi money, the faster you can get your licence. (This is from the horse’s mouth for I have spoken to them before.)
When I was an instructor, there were different types of learners who sought to get a licence. Among them were those who used them to “cari makan” [Ed: seek a living]. They had to go through rigorous training spending thousands of dollars while their counterparts from overseas didn’t need to do that. So why the discrepancy? Why must we make it so hard for Singaporeans to get a licence when it’s so easy for the rest?
And all of those who had gone through testing in Singapore would know how you are treated by the testers. They are the kings. I have personally seen the trauma, the anguish, the emotional pain and suffering first hand among those who learn to take a licence. I have seen grown man cry because they failed the test. Why must we allow this to happen? Furthermore, what about those who had driven army vehicles during their NS? Are they given a full conversion? No, unless you clock a certain mileage. Isn’t this discriminating against Singaporeans when you allow foreigners to have it easy?
My point is, we are always talking about PMET’s. But we always forget about the average Joe. To be honest, the average Joe doesn’t have a voice for they are working hard to earn a living. But one thing smart about them is they, for one, have for the longest time voted for opposition unlike our PMET’s who had been retrenched. In good times it’s the man in white and in bad times they pick and choose their colour, unlike the Joe’s.
So can the opposition parties please make this a case for Singaporeans!!!!