There is great interest in the bus driver that fetches us from the MRT station to the army base daily. Some say he hails from the rougher parts of lower Shanghai, others say he comes from the ganglands of Taipei. But we all know he is a member of the Singaporean branch of some Taiwanese mafia because of his cool aviator shades, grey jacket and the two packs of Dunhill Reds that he smokes per day.
He drives like a madman. The potholes on the road feel more like craters under his helm. The windows on the ageing bus rattles like punctured lungs in its death throes. Where the Sunlong bus would be a lumbering hippo under any other driver, it is an aggressive and sure-footed bull with him at the wheel. Amusingly, he’s always on time right down to the minute. He probably hails from a long ancestral line of aggressive and industrious occupational drivers, chauffeurs and rickshaw pullers with anger-management issues.
Rumours and water-cooler grapevines assert that he smuggles wads of illegitimately-gained bank notes across the causeway. His coach-driving job is merely a cover. Others say he is a high-ranking enforcer of the Taiwanese mafia, in a sabbatical exile in Singapore. Others would rather believe that he is the biggest boss of the local triads who drives commercial buses as a form of therapy.
One thing is clear: we all are in consensus that the Taiwanese techno music he blasts all-day are coded messages transmitted to his underlings.