Opportunities for Women

Skip bin truck entering our factory
The driver.....'s dog
Hello, this is dog

The factory went through 3 weeks of overtime since I came. By now we have just caught up with the schedule. With that crazy grinding, we were left with way too much rubbish that we could handle. The boss ordered a skip bin for us to dispose our crates, empty oil drums, boxes and other crap.

I went out of the factory, took a glance up to the driver's seat and saw a dog on the wheels. What the hell, even dogs drive trucks here? Of course I was wrong, dog was the co-driver to a middle age slim lady. Upon reversing into the workshop, she was quick on her feet and manage to hop out of the truck and went into our office before I knew it.

I had developed a habit of talking to people on their jobs lately. I'm not the chatty kind but my curiosity got better of me each time. These people were really interesting. One was the Eurasian lady who drives a 1 ton van, heavily modified at the back to accommodate a small generator. This generator powers up a small fridge and 2 food warming racks. Every morning this lady drives into the area and slam on her horn, much to my annoyance. After a few mornings I realised that is how she announce the arrival of her 'mobile canteen' to the small workforce in this area. Her customers will appear from respective companies and start to move sheepishly towards her van. Like zombies. After the hungry get their fix, canteen auntie will drive off to her next destination. I always wonder how much money she makes from this but I did not ask about that. Just general questions how she modify her van and stuff.

The other one would be mobile plumber who dropped by once. The same 1 ton van type, heavily modified at the back into a handy workshop. Plumber guy has a bench vice, pipe bender machine, cutting machine and racks for spare parts all squeezed in. He was friendly and told me how he ran his business and how his wife complained about his dirty hands at the end of each day.

Truckie Lady was just as willing to stop for a short chat just like the others. With a dog as a starter topic, it was easy for me. Dog was released from the cabin and leaped down. Within seconds he was trying to lick my face as I pat him. Truckie Lady, being a lady and a truckie, was obviously something different for a city bumpkin Singaporean like me. She told me she worked in mines for a few years prior to driving that skip bin truck. She told me she had paid up 2 houses and is currently working just to earn her living expenses and as a pastime. Semi retired. She looked in her 40s to me.

I learnt that people here wouldn't mind a short chat during their work. Be it the courier guys, truckies, suppliers, customers, pizza boy. Not at all. I heard from the lao jiao Singaporean migrants that this practice has dwindled a lot over the years. Perhaps, but it is still at a level which I find pleasant and rather surprising, as a Singaporean. You know what I mean. The fading of these practices to exchange pleasantries might have something to do with the increasing population in Perth. The less people you have around, the more glad you are to see someone, vice versa.

Truckie Lady told me it was not uncommon for women to take up jobs like hers. On the front, it looks like a tough physical job. Technically, it isn't. I saw her she carried out her job both times she was here, with relative ease. The truck did the job for her, she did the controlling and driving. 

Mr Chew, another Singaporean who contacted me earlier, shared with me that his wife took up a job as a public bus driver, taking in A$31 per hour not including overtime. They probably don't really need to work as they have done enough in their days in Singapore but are happy to take up some jobs to pass time, enjoy learning something new and of course the money comes useful too. Coincidentally, we met another bus driver when Patrick drove us to Mandurah to sightsee. He was selling his car so the trip had dual purposes. We ended up chatting about bus driving as a career. He was very encouraging about it, highlighted the pros about the job and even urge Penny to have a go at it, stressing that it was suitable for ladies.

I'll not be surprise to see a woman anchoring a boat, mowing lawn, cutting trees or inspecting drains. With no stigma of women taking up such jobs here, the job market is actually wide open for any ladies who are adventurous enough. The money is not bad too.


  1. Patrick's selling his new Mazda?

  2. KNN! I work solid 8 hrs excluding 1 hr meal break at $90! That means less than $12 a day. That lady earns 3X more than me. WTF!