January 10, 2011

Lady Taxi Driver : Near Death by Ashes

The taxi service at the Sibu Bus Terminus is fairly efficient. The black trousered and white shirted taxi drivers are from different Chinese groups and not just the traditional stereotype Heng Huas. You do have Iban and Malay taxi drivers too.

But there is one exceptional taxi driver on the day shift. She is Heng Hua from Sg. Teku and is very professional about her job. However you won't realise that she is a woman until she starts talking to you because she also wears a white shirt and she has cut her hair in a man's style!!

In fact if you see her waiting at the driver's seat you would not know that she is a woman......Here in the first photo she is first on the queue of waiting taxis and  a passenger got into the front seat not even aware that she was a woman....to him she was a "taxi driver" and her gender did not make a difference. I like the way she said it..."I drive well and I am a taxi driver...." She further told me that she had no choice but be a taxi driver as her parents did not educate her enough to be in other professions.

This is my new friend...waiting for passengers...and she had come a long long way from the day she was born in China and was almost smothered by ashes in the kitchen stove in their farm.

She is a faithful Methodist from Sg. Teku - the earliest Heng Hua Methodist Church in Sibu. Her ancestors brought the first batch of Heng Huas to Sibu in the 1910's.

Here's her touching story:
"I was born when my father and mother went back from Sibu to Pu Tien...When I was born my father asked my mother to get rid of me by "putting ashes on my face to smother me". ( In Foochow district most female children were thrown into the Min river or into the chamber pot or niu turn immediately after birth and first cry_)  My mother did not do it but sent me to a neighbour's house. That was how I was saved and I am always grateful to my mother.

Not long later my father decided to come back to Sibu again because he missed Sibu and his friends. His money had run out also and Mao Tze Dung had created a new political environment which he did not understand. My mother had already joined the revolution. My father sent for my mother but she refused to come unless she brought me."

It was karma ...Because of her her parents were able to survive the difficult years in Sibu. When she married her parents" went with her" (this was a practice in those days amongst the poor immigrant people) to her husband's family. She said she was willing to do this because her mother had saved her from "female infanticide".

How did she become a taxi driver?

17 years ago her husband became sick and she had to raise her children by herself in a way. So she took a driving licence which was easy then and she started to drive in Sungei Merah. Until today each morning she would get up at 5 a.m. to cook for her husband and family and then start her work at six.

This is just a small part of her life story...if you want some good lessons in life...take a ride in her taxi and give her some fares! She will welcome you and your friendliness.

May God bless her and her sacrifices......

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