Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Learning to Drive

Last week, I received this SMS from my very excited daughter; “PAPA I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST AT LAST!!!”

Although she was quite angry with herself for needing 4 attempts to get that precious driver’s license, I kept reassuring her that it was not a bad performance at all. Her old man needed 3 attempts at a time – 35 years ago to be exact, when the testers were not so strict I am sure. Yes, this incident sure brings back some memories.


I took my driving lessons from a driving school located at Niven Road, near to the former Rex Theatre, and opposite the Selegie Complex. Those days, we have the ‘pow chia’ or ‘guarantee pass’ system whereby you paid a fixed fee and they will keep training you until you passed your driving test.

My instructor was a very nasty and hot-tempered fellow who drove like a demon. I often got verbally abused by him. As an engineering undergrad in the local university, being called stupid wasn’t exactly ego-boosting. Some more, when I finally passed, the guy had the gall to hint that I should give him a tip saying that his other students often gave up him a big ang pow. No way man! Not when I paid for the driving lessons and tests with my hard-earned money from giving maths tuition during my long vacation.

Speaking of tuition, I am reminded of this very nice lady who engaged me to tuition her son in Additional Maths at their home in Tai Keng Gardens. We agreed that I had to stop when my university term started. But when her son’s exams approached, she persuaded me to give him some additional last minute coaching. For those few short sessions, she paid me a handsome figure which was much more than what we agreed on.

Most of my lessons were held in the vicinity of the Queenstown Driving Test Centre at Commonwealth Avenue, just next to the present Queenstown MRT station. But for my first lesson, my instructor brought me to a secluded spot near a graveyard along Kheam Hock Road. It was here that we practised how to do parking with the wooden poles as guide posts.


Kheam Hock 1
This road off Kheam Hock Road is known as Lorong Halwa. It used to lead to a big empty area next to a cemetery.


In those days, the car practically all the driving schools used was the trusted Morris Minor, the same one that my brother Chew bought for $600. One very interesting detail about his car that I remember is the indicator. It is actually made of ‘hands’ which flipped up from the side of the chassis every time you signalled left or right.

Queenstown Driving Centre
This building which used to be the Queenstown Driving Test Centre looks deserted when I took a photo of it last Friday.






A photo of the popular L-car, the Morris Minor, courtesy of Flickr member Schockwellenreiter.





The theory test or Highway Code test should be quite interesting to my young readers. We actually had to manually move a toy car on a model of the streets to answer verbal questions put to us by the tester. Another interesting thing is that besides the date you have booked for your driving test, you can try to ballot for an additional date. After I failed my first test, I booked a date for a repeat immediately. But I managed to secure an additional, earlier date by this method. Unfortunately, I failed in that second attempt, but the date that I had book earlier was still reserved for me.

For the practical test, the first item, if I recall correctly, was the parallel parking which was held within the test centre premises. Some people don’t even make it beyond this stage. Other major items being tested were reversing from major to minor road, three point turn, clutch control on a slope and emergency braking. The tester would hold a newspaper. And when he tapped it on the dashboard you are supposed to step on the brakes. I almost failed my last test because I did not react quickly enough. My excuse was that he had tapped his papers so gently, it was very difficult for me to sense the urgency. He gave me a second chance and this time I almost drove the brake pedal to the floor.

The other major test centre was located at Maxwell Road. I believe these were the only 2 in Singapore those days. The dreaded clutch control test was usually conducted at slope along Cantonment Road as you approached the junction with Neil Road. My brother Chun Chew who took his test there has some stories to share.
(Photo from collection of National Archives of Singapore)

57 comments:

Victor said...

First, my heartiest congratulations to your daughter on passing her driving test. (So when will she buy us lunch, I mean, take us for a spin in your Toyota Wish? Haha.)

At least, I fared better than you - I passed at my 2nd attempt and no need to pow-chia some more.

>... his other students often gave up him a big ang pow. No way man!

Hmm... looks like you already have your KS (kiam-siap) trait way before you became a CS (civil servant) what, haha.

>“PAPA I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST AT LAST!!!”

Does your daughter have a habit of shouting at the old man? (All caps means shouting in email and sms, you know?) Such insolence.

Hey, before you shoot me down, I'm only joking hor.

Finally, to calm any frayed nerves, let me tell your readers a joke about this statement of yours - "We actually had to manually move a toy car on a model of the streets to answer verbal questions put to us by the tester."

A guy was taking this type of test. He was moving the toy car on a model of the streets without saying anything at all.

The tester, expecting the guy to verbally explain his actions, asked him, "Why no sound one?"

The startled guy quickly made an engine sound, "Vroom, vroom, vroom..."


Okay, okay, I will just stick to stories on my favourite topic, next time, haha.

peter said...

In the 1970s, the Datsun 1000 was introduced and students preferred this over the Morris Minor 1000. This car offered better all-round visibility and versatile for parking.

Was there not a driving school called Lambert School of Driving down at Stevens Road? Recalled one at a row of shophouses where Tudor Mall & Court now stands.

The fee per lesson/hour was $5.00 and the driver/school issued you with a card detailing lessons taken.

Keam Hock Road area was students to practise reversing into carpark lot, I remember. My first attempt, I sweated a lot because the fan in the Morris Minor was inadquate to handle my fears and confusion. Those that were planning to take tests at Queenstown came to this place.

Laokokok said...

Now I recalled - I took my High Way Code test when I was 16 (sec.4) together with almost half of my class from VS! We took the test at the school in Queenstown. Passed at the first attempt too.

Victor said...

Oh Mr Lao, you were from VS too! At that time we were at Tyrwhitt Road, right? That is another commonality between us. I was there from 1969-1974 (Sec 1 to Pre-U 2).

Read my post on VS here.

(Sorry, Mr Lam for being off-topic.)

acroamatic said...

Thanks for sharing that! Really interesting, especially the part about the toy car.

The practical is mostly the same though. Then again, I took my test in 2000. Things might have changed.

Lam Chun See said...

Victor, thanks for that joke. But I anticipated the KS attack. But tell me frankly, would you have given him a generous ang pow? I gave him a small treat at the coffee shop facing Rex Theatre, at the junction of Niven and McKenzie roads. He sulked throughout.

Lambert Driving School. Their cars had a big signboard mounted on the rear of the vehicle and was a common sight for us ACS boys in the Bt Timah/Balmoral Rd areas. I think they had a driving school at the row of shops where the present Balmoral Plaza stands.

Lam Chun See said...

Victor, you just couldn't resisting boasting that you did better than me hor? Maybe you instructor was more patient than mine? Anyway, don't be so snide ok. Doing better than me is no big deal. Even my wife managed to pass on 2nd attempt, and my father passed the first time. (Although we suspect they give chance to more mature candidates - he must be around 50 when he got his driving license)

But what I am more curious to know is how many attempts you 'topo king' friend needed.

Chris Sim said...

I've also written a post in 2005 about the day I passed my driving test. But I intentionally omitted the part about the tester asking me to help support the Traffic Police Family Day by buying the coupons for their fanfare. I was so overjoyed in having passed the test that I bought 2 coupons at $20. Come to think of it, is this considered bribery arh? But I swear he passed me because I drove like a pro! LOL

I didn't know back then, theory lessons involved the use of cars and streets models. Intereting.

Chris Sim said...

Walau eh Chun See. You also can do less with your "snide" comment hor. Go read my hyperlink up there and see for yourself how many times it took me to pass lah. Topo king some more..... it's not me ok? The driver in front dunno how to direct me...

Victor said...

Frankly, I wouldn't have given my tester a big ang pow but I think I can afford a $12 one lah. Me not so kiam siap, haha. But my tester didn't ask or even hinted leh. So I just pretended didn't know lor.

Chris said in his post (linked above): I flunked the driving test, not once, but twice.

That means he passed on 3rd attempt lor. Chris has a knack for making things less shameful than it seems. Luckily, my maths is still quite good, hehe.

My knack for making snide remarks is mostly learnt from sparring with Chris one. And lately from you too, haha.

zen said...

I failed my twice and got through the third time. I took driving lessons from a slightly hunch-back intructor who was recommended to me by a relative. The 'pow chiak' course costed me $130 and I must say this instructor was quite a committed fellow who even fetched me at Gate 2 PSA for training during lunch hour (2 hrs). He was expert in crutch control and consequently I was rather good in this area. I failed the first two test purely out of my own negligence and not the fault of my instructor. For the first test, a testor by the name of Mr Trevor, an Eurasian, tried me out at Neil Road. It was a quiet late morning without any traffic and I was silly enough to follow a bus too closely and when the bus stopped, I did the same behind it. Mr Trevor failed me by saying: "How can you stopped behind the bus ? If it stopped for an hour are you going to do the same for an hour ?" The second fiasco happened this way. I was heading back to the test centre at Maxwell Road, after displaying my crutch control skill at the slope of Cantonment Road, thinking that I was going to pass this time, but suddenly the wily tester told me to turn into a side road, and I did accordingly. He told me: "Did you notice the no-entry sign ?" - flunk. The third test was done under a very unconductive time, near to 5 pm at Tg Pagar with heavy human traffic, but before the test took place, a chubby looking tester, nicknamed Lee Dai Soh, came to hang the testing plates over both ends of the Morris Minor, my driving instructor was beaming away, from cheek to cheek. Why ? because this guy was well known for being lenient to learners. True enough after a tedious drive through at Tg Pagar, I was successful. As I did not have much money, I gave my driving instructor an ang pow of $5/-, and apparently he was quite happy.

pinkie said...

hihi, nice blog! There is definitely a big difference between now and then :)

I wonder why they scrap the toy car theory test... it sounds fun!

The Queenstown Driving Test Centre became a police station up til last year I think but it's now vacant... wonder where the police officers have moved to...

The one and only test centre during my time is Ubi... shortly the new Bukit Batok centre was ready :)

Victor said...

Zen - It's amazing that you can remember the name of the tester who failed you after 40 years!

Seems like asking you to turn into a no-entry road is a favorite trick of the testers. I was tricked that way too the first time I took my driving test.

peter said...

Aiyah you guys took so mnay attempts. let me share a secret with you.

I passed the first time at Queenstown. No sweat for a sinmple reason. It's all about confidence and how you can show that to the tester. I drove my father's car illegally for 6 months before going for the test (actually I think it was one year). I did not go for driving lessons first before driving off in my father's car. All I did was to observe his driving actions and then when I daily washed his car, I immitated that. One day, when my father was fast asleep, I took the car out for a spin in our estate. Beaming with confidence that I could reverse out of the house; down a steep gradient, and then doing "Figure 8" with ease, I proceeded one day to the main Upper Bukit Timah Road.

It was a good experience as one day, I came across a traffic policeman on his Norton bike. We were both waiting at the traffic lights and as you observe the traffic cop always stop his bike on the driver's side. He would throw stares at you and if you got cold sweat because you had no valid licence, you would panick. I did not although I held a provisional licence. I smiled at him. Later down the road, he asked me to pull to one side. Die I said: sure kena now. However he rode up to me and told me I was the first person in his entire career with the traffic police (20 years then) who greeted him "good morning".

To build more confidence I tried going up Bukit Batok Hill at Lorong Sesuai and drove into CBD as far as KIm Seng Road via Clementi Road, Ulu Pandan Road, Holland Road and Grange Road. BUt I was never a speedster. I was extremely police on the road, giving way to pedestrations, etc. Aometimes I went on dates driving illegally. When there was a speed trap, I drove with signs of maturity and politeness but there were times when there was a dead-end for me. What I usually do is to keep a look-out for at least 100 meters eyeing "escape routes". I think this contributed to my present sense of driving - drive very fast but anticipate problems ahead.

On testing day, I got this grumby fella who everyone said "sure to fail you type". We took the route through Sterling Road and back to Commonwealth Avenue. On the final lap home, I made a U-turn but decided to stop to allow an old lady to cross =from one end of the U-turn to the other. back at his desk, he remarked I drove too carefully and hope I increase my speed when I pass. I got my licence that day and that night I bruised my father's car. That was one experience which I proudly say, I drove cars without getting any knocks.

The moral of the story - you need experience and if your old man is willing then passing the test is no problem.

peter said...

One other thing I forgot to add. It helps if you drive different car models from the one you intend to use for the driving test.

My test car was a Datsun 1000 but I drove a "higher cc" car and much bigger body. I used the Peugeot 504 model. The only similarity was the manual hand gear. Because Japanese cars' pedals are less sensitive than European makes, this helps you to "feel" the car; changing gears, going up hill, reversing, slowing down. The bigger the car body, the more difficult it comes to handling but that's good. Why dont tackle bigger problems earlier for the experience?

In those days, one could walk into a car showroom to test out the car. No salesman would stop you but I think today it's not possible as they ask for valid driving licence. In my time it was not the case. Again it was a test of nerves; you don't want to dent the car and find yourself in debt and your identity exposed right?

peter said...

Chun See
What was the name of the driving school at Niven Road? Think I saw one there if my memory is still good. Near the coffee shop?

Chris said...

Peter
No wonder u passed in your first attempt. You live like a dare-devil. Garang man.

Zen
Sometimes, the tester intentionally tell u to do things juz to test u if you knew you're breaking the law. For my case, the tester and I headed to the car in the carpark. Before I drove off, I was supposed to check my left and right. I saw a car approaching on my right. But the tester told me to move on. I told him: "cannot got car coming". He retorted: "can lah, faster faster". But that car was moving closer and closer. And I said: "Cannot lah, wait". And then he remarked: "You arh... so slow!" But I passed!

Victor said...

Peter said "Why dont tackle bigger problems earlier for the experience?.

With all due respect, I think you might be the biggest problem the Traffic Police had to contend with in those days, haha.

You really should start your own blog since you have so many interesting stories to share.

etel said...

heheh I totally enjoyed reading your comment box uncle lam,

I never have the interest to take up driving, for what reason, uncle vic knows why. (there was one day he stayed back at the office just to check our routes for me, but i still lost my way... muahaha)

But its cute to see the model car example, because this is something i believe will not happen now...

Back to the topic on learning how to drive, i am learning how to psycho my boyfriend to drive me now instead!

Lam Chun See said...

Wah Peter, you really 'tua tah' (dare devil). In Cantonese, we say "tam sung moe" - grow hair on the gallbladder. In fact, I had an army buddy in Gillman Camp just like you. He drove an Alfa Romeo. Very fast driver too.

As for me, my other KS syndrome (besides 'kiam siap') is kiasi. In fact, my wife wanted to bring my daughter to practice around my neighbourhood before her test. I absolutely forbid. Frightened them with some worst case scenarios.

Actually, Peter, I think you were quite reckless, brave but reckless ... and lucky of course.

Lam Chun See said...

Question: What is worse than a '"menace" who drives like a snake? Answer: A topo-king menace who drives like a snake. Chris' account of his driving test makes fun reading.

I like his colourful language; such as "Some (driving examiners) were with testees who had just taken their test
...."

(Victor - I can't find your article of the topo king)

Lam Chun See said...

Peter: I can't remember the name of my driving school. But reading your account of how they issued you a card detailing the lessons has jolted my memory. I think I did not sign up for the 'pow chia' package which was quite pricey. I believe I signed for the fixed no. of lessons package (like the VideoEZY dvd rental package). For additional lessons, you have to pay extra.

zen said...

Victor - Apparently you are quite surprised by my good memory for names. I do not think it is totally an in-born ability. In my younger days I was an extreme introvert, as a result I became a good listener, I also like to observe other people, their body language, and their colourful dialogues. When my first tester explained to me why I failed, I noticed his name-plate on his table: "..Trevor". In short I believe good memory comes with focus attention. The problem was when coming to the 'No entry' during the second test, my attention was thrown to the wind even though it was a common trick employed by testers, as mentioned by Chris.

Victor said...

Chun See, my article on the topo king is here. (Er... do you know how to search for an article using the "search blog" box at the top of the blog?)

你想借刀杀人啊?

Zen - your good memory - I think you are losing it. The common trick was mentioned by me, not Chris. Haha.

Lam Chun See said...

Shy to say, I didn't know about this function called search blog. I know about Google blog search tho.

peter said...

Chun See:

I wont consider myself reckless, a term that refers to showing inconsideration to other road users (at zebra crossing, cyclists, the elderly or handicap) or frequently getting caught for speeding, betaing red-lights, etc. I don't have a single traffic fine nor demerit points after 35 years of driving.

Like I told you, the traffic cop thought I was very polite and so did my tester. I think at that time one had guts. Today, I wont recommend the same thing to my boys or to others (although I sat in with them during their drive in our estate whereas I single-handled the car in my time).

Lam Chun See said...

Sorry Peter. I better explain my use of the word 'reckless'. I don't mean your style of driving is reckless becos I never saw it anyway. What I meant is taking unnecessary risk with yourself. A lot things can go wrong through no fault of your own. e.g. people banging into you from behind at traffic lights. Happened to me twice. Once quite serious, once very light. The benefit is very small; but the price to pay is very high.

aiyah nonya said...

I think all instructors all impatient and verbally abusive.Drives like a maniac but ask you not to follw his way of driving ! Whether it is here or over the Causeway.They must have come from the same "sifu'.
Moving the toy car during theory....I heard it from my older siblings before.
During your theory did you have to do hand signals too ?

Lam Chun See said...

Do they test hand signals during theory? Can't remember liao. But nowadays most cars have aircon, so not sure if they still insist on this. Must check with my daughter.

In fact judging from the way many people drive, I think car manufacturers can do away with the signals and we save some money.

All this discussion about driving and hand signals reminds me of a very funny movie starring Michael Hui and his brothers where they practiced using broomsticks. I think it was Security Unlimited (摩登保鑣)

Chris said...

Chun See
My article on a complacant driver and one who does not know how to lead a careful and safe driver to his destination is here - Many Ways to Skin a Monkey, I mean, Cat.

Victor
Pse lah... I think you're the one with SHORT memory. Zen is apparently referring to my comment on how the tester tried to trick me into driving out from the parking lot when a car was fast approaching on my right lah.

aiyah nonya said...

Well,my older siblings had to do hand signals in front of the tester during the theory test.

Eg:stick out your right arm when you need to turn right.
To turn left move the right arm in a circle anti clockwise.(Stick out your left arm only if you are on a motorbike.)
Move the right arm up and down if you need to slow down.
And if you need to stop - put your hand up.

Now a days you don't want to stick your arm out of the car.Your limb will be amputated for sure.
I figure there is less traffic then than now.

They also need to interpret the traffic police's signals.

Victor said...

Chris - Please leave your squabbles out of Chun See's blog. It has nothing to do with driving (except driving some people up the wall). We can sort it out during lunchtime using our fist... er, I mean over our feast. ;)

As to who has poorer memory (and maybe even failing eyesight), please re-read Zen's comment very carefully.

Aiyah, Ms Nonya - If we stick out our right hand during turning or slowing down now, sure kena booked by TP wan - one-hand driving what, no difference from handphone driving mah. Times have changed.

Chris said...

Victor
Walau eh.. why u so arguementative one? We know who has poorer memory and failing eyesight, not to mention shaky hands (due to old age) and having to use a tripod to snap fotos. 51 going on 15. Why dun u go swing in the trees, Monkey? Hng!

Aiyah Nonya
Those hand signals remind me very much of Army also.... You know in the army, we were taught to fight a war, and silence is a matter of life and death in the battle field. So, instead of talking, we use hand signals (only in daylight, of course). Maybe Officer Lam can tell you more. He's a well-medalled ex-army officer with a heart of gold and he lurrvvess reminiscing about his good old glorious ARMY DAZE. Right Chun See? Hee.

fr said...

I must be the slowest learner-driver here. I took more than 3 tests to pass.

Chris said...

My sis passed on her 7th attempt.

Take heart. Some people who passed in the 1st or 2nd attempt are not necessarily good drivers. I know of a friend who passed on his 2nd attempt, but he likes to swerve in and out of the lanes juz to save a few minutes of his precious time. Dunno what is more precious leh - his life? or his time? LOL.

And some drivers found 10 cts in a carpark, thought they were safe drivers but still kena booked by traffic police. ROTFL.

Lam Chun See said...

Wah lau. I get booked by traffic police and you 'roll on the floor laughing'. Wonder what you would do if I got sentenced to be be caned by rottan - roll down the stair case? Good thing above 50 cannot be caned.

Victor said...

Wah Mr Lam also can joke hor.

zen said...

During the early sixties when most cars did not have airconditioners, hand signals were compulsory. However I do not remember being tested these skills during the highway code test, but if one failed to use these hand signals during the actual driving test, or used the signals wrongly, he certainly would have no chance of passing. In short, hand signals were part and parcel of the overall ability of learner-driver expected by all testers at that time.

Anonymous said...

How about the cost of driving lesson? I remembered that when I started taking driving lesson in 1977 when I was in pre-u, the cost was only $6.50/hr. The rental of the car for test is only $20

Lam Chun See said...

I am sorry. I simply cannot remember the costs/rates for driving lessons back in 1972.

Anonymous said...

I remembered that of all the driving test centre, Maxwell was considered to be easy and Queenstown was tougher. I took mine at Queenstown and it took me twice to pass. The first time was in June 77 during the sch hols. I was very KS and also hearing of friends who passed the first time, decided to have about 30 lessons. However at $6.50/hr, it wasn't not a big hole in my parents' pocket. Was very disappointed that I did not pass, my very first failure in life. The test was quite long as I was tested on every things, 3 pt turn,etc. Only took the test again in Sep77 and only after about 8 lessons, I managed to pass. Test was quite short, no 3 pt turn- in fact after reversing from major rd to minor rd somewhere in redhill, the tester asked me to go back to Qntwn test centre and was surprised that I passed!
Back in 77, all I remembered abt preu-1 was taking drv lessons after sch. and catching movies. Pre-u 1 was considered 'honeymoon'. Later in the army during NS, i was shocked to find 1 or 2 of my platoon mates from some JC had to repeat their pre-u1. I tht it was very cruel of these JCs to do that.
Anyway I digress.

Btw what is the cost of the lesson today?

wlc

Victor said...

In reply to anonymous of 4 Mar 07, Peter mentioned in his comment of 28 Feb 07 that the fee per lesson/hour in the 1970s was $5.00. This was probably in the early 70s.

When I took my driving lessons in the early 80s, the cost had increased to $8.00 - $9.00, depending on what model and how new the car was. BTW, there were no automatic cars for learners in those days although there may be a very small number of automatic cars on the road.

Lam Chun See said...

I happened to go thru the recycle tray where we dump our paper waste this morning and saw my daughter's statement of account. Let me quote you some figures from it (by the way everything computerised and done the 'e' way).

Practical trg - $58, Booking: Practical test - $20, Warming up fee - $29.40 (What on earth is that?), Vehical Rental - $105,

By the way, she worked for a few months after her A-levels as a cashier in a supermarket and paid much of it from her own pocket. Maybe, my wife topped up a bit for her.

peter said...

After the japanese cars were used as a tetsing vehicle, many students preferred the Japanese Datsun for 2 reasons (could be more)

1. Gear changing very smooth unlike MORRIS where for ladies you probably 2 hands to change the long stick. jap cars got short stick. Jap cars change gear in all directions good - like 2 to 1, 1 to reverse gear, ect. MORRIS gear always get stuck from 1 to 2 and you need force to change and to coordinate with the clutch pedal. If not done properly, you hear a sharp "Kiat.........", then tester fail you.

2. Jap cars got long body and rear window very angular. MORRIS like a hump and curved windows. Cannot get "feeling" where the rear bumper was. Wrong judgment you end up hitting the pole or the kerb.

peter said...

For my 2 boys, I gave a credit of S$1K to cover everything. They pay the difference. If one fails, sorry for you, you pay everything. if you take 4 times to pass, everything comes from your own pocket.

Other things I try to inculcate:

You take the car (regardless of the number of trips), you fill up the tank. I charge $20 for petrol/month. You must also wash and clean the car(s).
Washing/Cleaning teaches one to

a. learn about the different parts of the car (engine to the tool kit which one might need during emergency)

b. Cleanliness. The car is not a dumping ground for tissue paper (hidden in ashtrays). You check every trip whether tissues left in the car by your friends.

c. You learn how to take care of things. You learn the technique of washing/drying the car step by step - in this way responsibioity means you pay attention to details.
Life is all about paying attention to details.

d. You check for dents and check why those dents occured. Better to own up thna to push the blame on others. Also teaching them responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Just an off-topic item.
During my pre-u in 77 I was doing both the double maths + physics so it was kind of "destined" that I would end up doing engr in the univ later. I remembered talking to my driving instr. and he told me that his younger bro just grad. with a engr degree and was getting $1.6k/mth.
I believe current engr grad is getting $2.3/2.6k/mth which is about 40-50% mote than what it was in '77. But then driv. lesson is $58/hr compared to $6.5/$7 back then.

wlc

Lam Chun See said...

WLC. Interesting point you raised. But I think you might have heard or remembered incorrectly about the 1.6k starting salary for fresh engg grad in 1977. I think it was maybe around 1 to 1.1k not counting any increments for NS.

As for the price of driving, we all know that in Spore, anything related to car ownership has escalated in the past 20 years. Maybe that accounts for the unproportionate increase. In any case, I am not sure if my daughter's $58 per session is for one hour or more.

Anonymous said...

I could be mistaken about the pay. When I grad in mid 80s my starting pay was aby 1.8k. Anyway, just an observation.

Driving is certainly a much sought after skill. It is best acquired during pre-u days or NS or even varsity days because it can get to quite a hassle to go for driv lessons when you start work.
However an acquaintance of mine made an impressionable point on me about allowing his son who is 17 to go for driving lesson. He said that kids nowadays are so used to playing those X-box games of car racing that they don't have a proper concept of what is fast. Hence with so many highways, once they pass they will tend to speed.

wlc

Victor said...

WLC - The current hourly fee for learning driving on a Toyota Vios is $20 (manual)and $24 (auto) according to this photo which I took last month.

zen said...

When I visited Miwaukee some years back, a young man (undergrad) drove us around. I expected US being a big country, with vast network of roads, the drivers would be like in some action movies, hell-drivers. To my surprise the opposite is true. The motorists in general are law-bidding, thoughful and courteous. To my disbelief, my US friend told me that drunken motorists more often than not have to face jail-term. If I not wrong, their traffic laws may be stricter than the Singapore ones.

chuck said...

I heard that the current driving test allows one to use Auto cars. If one passed driving an auto car, are they not allowed to drive on the road in a manual car, whereas one who passed in a manual car can drive both auto and manual.

LCS said...

My daughter learnt auto only. I think nowadays very few people opt for manual.

zen said...

I follow the news of a Pacific Island country very closely. Practically everyday some horrific accidents occur there. The most significant one involved an MP whose car was smashed up on a highway which resulted in his lovely wife losing an arm. The youth responsible for reckless driving went to the hospital, knelt down, weeping sorrowfully and asked for pardon due to his misdeed. Isn't it too late ? Cars are termed as the prowling tigers on the roads. Motorists behind the driving wheels should spare a thought for the lives of others. All lives, without exception, are valuable, not only our own.

rasserie said...

Hey,

I took my theory test at that Queenstown building!

And I am only 27. LOL

Karmeleon said...

LOL - there's a "toy car theory test"??? No wonder I saw that on a Ch8 drama once. I passed mine at 2nd attempt at the AMK driving centre 20yrs ago. Now that driving centre disappeared already???!!!!

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