In a shocking incident, a Chinese cab driver hurled abuses at a woman and her daughter during their ride over assuming she was of Indian origin in Singapore. The woman was with her nine-year-old daughter on the ride, local media reported on Sunday. She had booked a ride on the ride-hailing platform, TADA, at around 2 pm on Saturday.
The incident came to light after the woman 46-year-old Eurasian origin Janelle Hoeden shared her ordeal on social media platforms.
Acting upon the social media post, the authority booked him and initiated an investigation into the matter.
Hoeden in her post wrote, "'He said, ‘You are Indian, you are stupid.'” She recorded on her phone the interaction which got progressively more heated.
She said the ride started uneventfully and she was talking to her child when suddenly the driver got upset that part of the road was blocked due to construction of an upcoming metro, MRT line, along the ride in Pasir Ris housing estate.
“He started shouting at me, saying that I gave him the wrong address and wrong directions,” her post read.
In the video -- uploaded on her Facebook page and an account by a TikTok user, and later shared by alternative news site Wake Up Singapore -- the driver, a Chinese man, is seen accusing Hoeden’s daughter of being less than 1.35 metres tall.
He repeatedly said her daughter was under 1.35 metres, and Hoeden could be heard replying that the child was 1.37 metres. He then called the girl “very illegal”.
It is believed the height is for the safety of passengers requiring child seats.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) states on its website that for safety reasons, all vehicles in Singapore must have booster seats or child restraints for passengers under 1.35 metres in height.
The driver shouted at the woman while driving, “You are India(n), I'm Chinese...You are the very worst kind...”
Hoeden corrected the driver, saying: “I am Singapore Eurasian, not Indian.”
Eurasians are usually tanned and at times appear to be Indian in appearance.
“As he was verbally abusive, I was afraid that he would start getting physical with me, so I told her to record,” the Singapore broadsheet quoted Hoeden as saying.
“Whether I was tanned skin, or Indian, or otherwise, it’s unacceptable what he said – it was totally uncalled for, that he pulled out the race card,” she said.
Her child was also shaken after the incident.
In comments on ‘Wake Up Singapore’s Instagram’ post that highlighted the incident, Tada Singapore said it was investigating the incident.
“At Tada, we do not tolerate racism, discrimination, or abuse. Our team is investigating this issue. Thanks to everyone who brought this to our attention,” the comment said.
The Straits Times also had a Tada spokeswoman saying that the firm was aware of the incident.
She said, “Remarks or comments that insinuate racial differences directly violate Tada community guidelines and are not representative of our company’s values.
“We have initiated an internal investigation to fully understand the circumstances and will take all necessary actions based on our findings.” She added that Tada does not condone racist comments or remarks under any circumstances, and it is committed to resolving the issue promptly and fairly.
(With PTI inputs)