I have recently read The Taximan Story in the book Little Ironies.Here are my comments to the discussion .
What is the irony in the story?
The taximan in the story has been complaining about many young girls nowadays turning to prostitution. Almost the the whole story was about him expressing his utmost displeasure about these girls. When his daughter turn to prostitution, he was so furious and he beat her up so badly . This is evident that the taximan despises and hates these prostitutes.However, at the end of the day, the taximan is eager and like to earn money from these prostitutes whom he despises greatly. This taximan hates these prostitutes for their shameful behaviour but yet like them because he earn much of his income from them. I feel this is the irony of the story.
What are the themes raised in the story?
I feel that there are two themes raised in the story. One of them is family issues while the other is teenagers nowadays lack moral values. One of the family issues is that some parents focus more on work than their children. Being neglected, these teenagers feel lonely. They will hang out with their friends after school. Some of these friends are actually prostitutes and will influence these teenagers to turn to prostitution. Without proper guidance from their parents, they will be led astray. The teenagers' parent indirectly cause their children to turn bad. The other issue is that the family cannot afford to buy branded goods for their children. Most teenagers nowadays wear expensive branded clothes. Without money to spend, some teenagers will have to find alternatives to earn money. Some of them will turn to prostitution as it is easy money to earn.They do not care for moral values as their parents have no time to inculcate morals values in them.Why do they want to wear branded clothes? To put it simply, they want to fit in. A Quote from the book Flowers of Algernon,"Even a feeble-minded man wants to be like other man" Man have the need to fit into the society.
How realistic is this story?
I feel this story is very realistic. It is a common sight to see young girls dressed up to the nine along Orchard road. I do not believe that all of them are rich enough to dress to that extent. Some are prostitutes so they can earn such amount of money to dress up.Some even dress very scantily to attract customers along some roads. It is evident that many of these girls are prostitutes to earn money.
What do you think of the taximan? Do you feel sympathy for him?
I feel he is a responsible father. As a taxi driver, his income is not high, but he is able to raise eight children. This is not an easy task. This shows he is a hardworking and responsible father.However, he has only filled the material needs of his children. The children need their father to care and love for them,to feel the warmth of their family. He should not substitute love for money. By choosing to earn more money, he has neglected his children and therefore one of his daughters was led astray and turned to prostitution.
I feel sympathy for him. I know he has tried his best to be a good father. He has worked hard all day to earn and save money to send his daughter to a University.However, his beloved daughter had turned to prostitution. I am sure he is very heartbroken and furious.He has the right to be! But the way the punishment he meted out is wrong. I sympathise with him as he does not know that it is not right to use physical force to punish his children. This will not only hurt the children physically but also emotionally. It will also ruin the father- and- child relationship. This may have dire consequences too. The child may become more rebellious than before and not repent. The way he beats his children to teach them a lesson in the past could have forced his beloved daughter to turn to prostitution to oppose him. To teach his children to repent, he should talk to them patiently, advising them to change.If the child still refuses to repent after he has tried to talk to him or her, he should then seek professional help.
Do you agree with his lamenting?
No, I do not agree with his lamenting. Since he laments so much, he should do some thing to solve the problem. Sitting in his taxi complaining to his customers about these prostitutes all day will not get the problem solve. As he loves complaining, he should complain to the Social Welfare Department of Singapore, at least this will do some good. The department will look into the matter and the necessary actions will be taken. Not only does he make Singapore a healthier society, but also reducing the chance of his own daughter becoming a prostitute.
What about the other characters in the story? Do you feel sympathy for them?
I really sympathise with Lay Choo, the daughter of the taximan. From the way he punishes his children, I deduced that the taximan is very strict with his children. I am sure his children will live in fear, afraid that they would be scolded by their father if they did something wrong. I guess that Lay Choo and her siblings would have very little freedom too.
With little freedom, children tend to oppose their parents, therefore causing Lay Choo to lie in order to hang out with her friends. As she spends more time out with her friends than at home, It is more likely that she had mixed with bad company and thus being led astray. I really pity her. If her father was more caring and loving, she would not have been indirectly forced into a corner by her father and degraded herself to become a prostitute.