TL;DR – Don’t get conned by fake news.
There was a post going around alleging that an African is driving Uber on his second day in Singapore.
Is it true? Can this be? A foreigner comes to Singapore and drives Uber on his second day? gasp
And here we are thinking that only people with talent are allowed to come to Singapore, not any Tom, Dick, or Harry. Why did we let this African come to Singapore to compete for jobs with Singaporeans?!
Truth is… Driver is a PR who’s been in Singapore for 15 years
But wait. If you have actually watched the video, right at the start, it sounded like the passenger was demanding to see some proof that the driver is a Permanent Resident (PR) of Singapore. The driver then said something to the effect that there is no need for him to prove to the passenger that he’s a PR.
And it turns out that the African driver in the video is a really PR. He has been in Singapore for 15 years.
Doesn’t that make it worse? Why are we giving PR to someone who needs to drive Uber? Is our PR status so easy to get?
But think about it. There’s nothing in the video to say that the driver is driving Uber full time. Perhaps he has another job and is driving Uber to supplement his income. Nothing wrong with that right?
And he has set up two companies here in that time
And if you listened to the video carefully, you’ll actually hear the driver saying that he’s retired. He said he’s set up two companies, and retired at the age of 55.
Could he be lying? Perhaps.
But could he be telling the truth? Also likely.
And if he’s telling the truth and he had set up two companies and is able to retire at the age of 55, that means he must have been fairly successful. Which also means that he probably created jobs and contributed to our economy. Isn’t that the sort of foreigners we want to welcome?
But if he’s so successful, why would he want to drive Uber? Why not just retire comfortably? Erm. Well. Perhaps he just wants to stay active.
I was in a Uber the other day. And the driver is also a retiree. He usually drives when his grandchildren are in school. Then he’ll go and pick his grandchildren up and spend time with them. Nothing wrong with retirees driving Uber, even if they don’t need the money, right?
If that’s the case, then why did the driver say he just arrived in Singapore the day before the video? Well. Again, if you have watched the video, it sounded like the driver said it because the passenger had goaded him into saying it.
We need to rise above such sensationalism
It’s disappointing that Lim Tean, a Cambridge-educated lawyer and former partner at Rajah and Tann, one of Singapore’s largest law firms, and someone with thousands of online friends and following, would ignore the details of the video and make such a post.
What’s more, it appears that he didn’t make any clarification on his post after the news article clarifying that the driver is a PR was published. That is truly disappointing.
Yes, we may disagree with many of our government’s policies. Yes, we should criticise robustly. But we should not resort to sensationalising issues and misleading people. Especially when doing so can be divisive. There are enough fault lines and tensions as it is. Emphasizing and exacerbating them will only make Singapore weaker, not stronger.
Let’s be the change we want to see.