‘I’m a wood hunter’ 

I really wanted to start this series for a while especially since I’ve been taking uber regularly. If you’re wondering why I don’t take cabs, basically, I refuse to pay for a booking fee and uber works just the same way.

How Uber works

It buzzes the surrounding ‘uber cars’ and the first one that picks it up would be allocated the job.

It doesn’t have ‘peak’ or ‘off peak’ charges. What it does is it works on a demand basis. When there is a super high demand, you’d need to pay e.g. 1.2x the regular amount and it slowly increases as the demand increases.

Why Uber

  • It uses Google maps. No longer do I have to worry about cab drivers getting lost. 
  • Because it doesn’t have surcharges
  • I seemed to have better luck in getting Uber than normal cabs
  • I can book ‘uber exec’ cars which are cars that can fit more than the usual no. Of people
  • Uber has an algorithm built in. When you take the same route over and over again, it registers the fastest and most efficient route. Making it the cheapest route.

Okay, so I met a number of uber drivers along the way and I thought I should share a little abit more about their lives.

So Mr Muhd picked me up from Hwa Chong Institution and drove me back to the office at about 6pm. His profile picture showed signs of wrinkles and he had a short white beard. 

When I entered his car, it smelt musky. That long lingering scent was very obvious and after a while, it grew on me. 

I asked Mr M, the same usual questions I usually do when I’m on uber. ‘Do you do this for a living?’. 

Mr M replied ‘nope.  I’m a wood hunter’. That intrigued me. How many people do you know hunt for wood? So yes, we continued our conversation. 

He shared with that he has a business running to search and sell quality wood. What kind of wood? Agar wood turns out to be really expensive and it can daily fetch a couple of thousands per 100gm. Apparently, Chinese geomancer would burn a piece of this wood during their consultation. 

‘So why drive Uber?’ I asked.

‘Too much time on hand.’ Turns out Mr M doesn’t really need to work much these days. Our wood hunter here has found a number of younger wood hunters who would do the job for him. He has 5 sons! They’ve all grown up and found their own businesses/ jobs. Majority of them are in the oil and gas industry. His youngest, he claims is ‘too spoilt’ by the older brothers, is currently schooling at the ITE. 

Holidays are common for Mr M. He’ll bring his wife to places like Paris, Europe and his favourite, the Middle East. 

Feels at home there. 

Since he is fluent in Arabic. His other business includes selling expensive oil base for fragrances. ‘100ml for $2500’ he claims.

Before we could continue the conversation, I’ve reached my destination and dashed out to pick Z.

‘Have a good day Sir!’ I wished him well. 

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