The Car-Washer

I see him on most nights, as I walk out of the carpark, pushing a trolley, or sometimes on a bicycle , laden with buckets of water and cleaning agent. Sometimes he will be wiping a car, cloth in hand.

That day, we happen to speak. He had just finished distributing his pamphlets under the wipers of each car. “Car washing. 8 pm – 12 am. Call XXX”.

“Uncle, so you wash cars? How much?”

“$40 per month. 2 times a week. Monday to Fridays. 8 pm to 12 am” He said in halting english.

From his accent, I figured that he was not local. Probably one of the many foreign workers in Singapore who held a day job in construction, building our (too) many too-tall offices and new homes, and ran a little business in the night, washing cars in the estate, in hope of earning more money to send home.

And since, it’s national day, let’s not forget the efforts of the many foreign workers who are here, particularly those like the car-washer. He, with his entrepreneur spirit is probably most like our forefathers who came many many years ago. It’s about the attempt, no matter how tough, to create a better life for themselves, and that is the Singapore story.


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