A beautiful Saturday afternoon (5pm or so) at Clarke Quay, I was playing host to my visiting cousin from Hong Kong. Flagged a taxi at Clarke Quay, told the driver "Chinatown" (in English) rather than the typical "Buffalo Car Water" which typical Singaporean would say in Mandarin/Hokkien.
The taxi journey started from Clarke Quay, passed by Robertson Quay, then Century Mall as shown in the below picture. Along the road near MOM (Ministy of Manpower), I told the driver I wanted to go to "Temple Street" (in English) with a little bit of Mandarin.
The correct route to Temple Street is "Turn 1" as Temple Street is single traffic and going "Turn 2" way would be against traffic of Temple Street.
But, taxi driver drove pass "Turn 1". Nevermind, I thought he would make "Turn 2" and drop me by the main road but I would have to walk in to Temple Street.
To my horror, he "missed" Turn 2 as well and drove head on to Raffles Place/Lau Pat Sat direction.
Immediately after the taxi driver missed Turn 2, I asked him in complete Mandarin this time "Do you know where you are going???".
To Chinatown, the taxi driver said.
I pointed to him Chinatown was there and said to him you missed 2 Turns already. I asked him to quickly make a "Right Turn" but he instinctively made a Left Turn (See dotted line), which is the CORRECT WAY back to the heart of Chinatown as my suggested right turn would bring me to the far end of Chinatown.
I asked to stop at the main road (right side, near the Indian Temple). Dare he still wanted to charge me full fare of $5. I said $4 (thinking to myself I won't pursue the case if he agreed). He said ... little money only ... and wanted the $5. Then, he continued to hagger and negotiate to $4.50. I said no need, charge me $5, I have already taken down your car plate number (which I cleverly did after he missed "Turn 2") and told him I will give the appropriate authority a call.
Quickly gave him a $10 note expecting a $5 change, he gave me $5.50 change instead and said "if no money, don't take taxi!!!". I alighted the taxi with my cousin, walked off and explained to my cousin what actually happened. Taxi driver lowered down his side window, mumbling, nothing good or pleasant I was sure, and drove off.
I sure wanted to teach him a good lesson, to spank him to realise what is right and what is wrong... and not taking advantages of tourist (I believe he mistook me for a tourist. I probably spoke and dressed like one that day)
I wanted to give his Taxi Company a call but I also do not want to put his livelihood on the knife edge, knowing that a driver his age (early 50s) and to find a decent job elsewhere is not easy for him.
Anyway this aside, next time when I am in a tourist spots again taking a taxi going to another tourist spot, I will use English or a language that is not typical of Singaporean and see where the drivers will bring me to.