Probably the only taxi driver in this world with a PhD from Stanford and a proven track record of scientific accomplishments, I have been forced out of my research job at the height of my scientific career, and unable to find another one, for reasons I can only describe as something "uniquely Singapore". As a result, I am driving taxi to make a living and writing these real life stories just to make the dull job a little more interesting. I hope that these stories are interesting to you too.
Since the takeover of leadership by some western “big shots” a few years ago, the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) of ASTAR, Singapore, a place I have worked for 16 years as a PI (principal investigator), a place that was once flourishing, promising, and pleasant to work in, has been in a mess. Bestowed with the kind of power they had never seen before, these once reputable scientists turned everything in the institute upside down. The previous democratic and consensus-oriented management system that had worked well for more than a decade in the past was thrown out of window and replaced by one that was marked by domineering, manipulation, and incompetence. What they lacked in experience of management, adequate understanding of the institute, and proper respect for fellow scientists as their colleagues, they made up for in arrogance, prejudice, and naked muscle of political power. Some PIs were sent packing, and some were promoted, all up to the new leadership’s manipulative and twisted standards. Despite my considerable contribution to building up this place into what it is today, I was among the first few PIs to be told to go. My employment contract with IMCB was terminated by May, 2008, without any forms of compensation given.
I was hence forced into a deeply difficult position. Becoming jobless at my age is perhaps the worst nightmare that can happen to any ordinary man, not to mention the loss of life-long career. ...
Some good examples: Driving Miss Edgy, Indecent Proposal, Out of Innocence.
If you like these stories, you might also like my 1997 travelogue on Thailand and Japan.
I discovered the Singapore taxi driver via Kaleidoscope, the blog of a theoretical physics student in India.