The Truckie

"Are you Singaporean?" asked the truck driver. It was unusual hearing the term "Singaporean" in Perth, outside the Singaporean community itself. I wondered for a second what took me aback and realised locals would ask me I was from Singapore rather than if I was Singaporean. It would be already a bonus if they didn't assume I was from China or other parts of Asia, much less guessing my nationality right or even know people of my country were called Singaporeans.

"How did you guess?"

"From your accent, mate," the truck driver went.

That chap seemed to know a thing or two about Singapore. Did he spend a few years there? Unlikely so, because he didn't seem to be the kind of "foreign talent" Singapore would look for. Yes, perhaps I was wrong in judging people by their appearances but could you imagine him in a tie and suit? He was the tradie sort and we know there is no place for a tradie in Singapore. He was a truckie, to be exact and the following conversation with him impressed me enough to share it with you.

"So, why didn't you guess I'm Malaysian?"

"Good English," he gave a toothy grin.

I chuckled for a second and asked him how he seemed to know about my region. "Oh," he went. "I've been there many times for holidays and I'm going to Malaysia for good at the end of this month." It was 31st March when the conversation took place. 

"Isn't that tomorrow?"

"Yeah, yours is my last job and I'm wrapping up."

"For good?"

The truckie shared that he drove a truck for his company for 6 years prior to making that decision to buy his own truck for $154,000, in which he took a loan out by mortgaging his house. He told me he "worked his arse off" for 6 days a week and paid it all up within 3 years. With that, he decided to call it a day and would be renting the truck to his brother for $4,000 a month and retire in Malaysia where he bought a small house, living off his truck rental. I congratulated him immediately but a lot of questions remained in my mind. Like most working men I came across, he seemed to have the patience to stop for a chat and answered every question.

I was basically asking the truckie about his income but I posed a question with a mock surprise wondering how could his brother make a living after paying off $4,000 to him. Without a moment of hesitation, he told me he made $12,000 a month. I suspected he would tell me straight off even if I didn't conceal my question. What about taxes, repayments, expenses and all? "12 grand is nett, mate." he said. I didn't know if I should believe him or not but really, he had no reasons to lie. Within a week or so, he would be frolicking in his cottage in Malaysia and I could see the earnestness in his eyes. It was unmistakable, like those eyes of a NSF in his final week to his ORD. He even encouraged me to consider driving one of those trucks as a career and told me there were plenty of jobs to go around.

We moved on to talking about Singapore and Malaysia. That was a man who knew more about the region than myself, except for Singapore obviously. Like most Aussies I met, he reckoned Singapore would be a great destination for his holiday but "he wouldn't wanna live there," but I didn't ask him for the reasons. Some things were better left unsaid. Then he went into the details about his Malaysia property and the environment around it, he seemed to have a good awareness of his situation and I could tell that he knew what he was doing. When I asked him why he chose to retire with an able body, good to go for at least another 10 more years, he told me he, "had enough."

Each of us also has a different opinion of why we have to work. One old man once said, “You work as long as you can work and you will be healthier and happier for it. If you ask me to stop working all of a sudden, I think I’ll just shrivel up, face the wall and just that.” So do we work because we want to live longer or stop working because we want to live. That really depends which side of the fence you are on. Regardless, a major factor is whether we have enough to retire. I think the definition of "having enough" is a blur line for many of us. Some of us continue to work till we die because we never reach the threshold where we can live off our passive income. Some of us never realise we could actually call it a day and depend on a smaller income and the rest, just live with a perpetual fear of lack no matter how much we accumulated for ourselves.

Before the truckie drove off, I called out at him, "How old are you, mate?"

"43, mate!"

The scruffy and shabby but an enlightened soul.


  1. hey man, your thoughts on this? :)


      sorry, forgot to paste link.

    2. I'll believe the result when those kids start using their 'problem solving' capability when they reach 21 years old to migrate, rather than posting questions on strangers' blogs to ask 'how to migrate ah', 'will I be able to find a job there ah', 'which is a good city to migrate to ah', etc.

    3. These are all quizes with 1 or 2 correct answers only. Hence computer tested.

      All "within the box" kind of scenario... they are not even as interesting / difficult as the following riddle :
      Bridge Crossing scenario.
      A takes 1 minute to cross
      B takes 2 minutes
      C takes 5 minutes
      D takes 10 minutes.
      It is dark, they must share lantern. Bridge can only take 2 person at a time. Cannot cross without a lantern. So the faster person must slow down to the speed of the slower person.

      What is the shortest possible time for all 4 to complete crossing the bridge... :-d

    4. I agree with CK. Sometimes, when I read/hear those questions, I cringe... We are taught to "problem solve" for results with clear measurements for solutions... When the measurement matrix is not so clear, or predetermined, things become difficult.
      Also no one taught us how to handle our emotions... expectations....etc..

    5. Sigh, what to do? Products and Victims of our "World class", "Number 1" education system. ;((

  2. Sounds like a good plan. 12K nett. You didn't get to ask him how to get his job, did you?

  3. Wherever we go, we need money. Even if we get to immigrate overseas, we still need money to live. If we want to have a better life, then we need a better job to earn more. Otherwise, we just have to work for longer years. Such is life.

    overseas sinkie

  4. Reading this makes me wonder... If I do have AUD150,000 in hand, I can just go buy a truck and happily collect 4k are income every month?

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  6. 19minutes to cross the bridge !!! lol I love such qwestions

  7. i think the important point is that he is keeping his aussie passport and can utilise his social/medical welfare in Australia whenever he needs it.....