A Strange Encounter

My taxi was caught in a traffic jam along Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 near Yio Chu Kang MRT and it was a kind of crawl stop crawl type of slow-moving traffic. As the surrounding areas did not have a pedestrian in sight, I was surprised to see a well dressed Malay man in his fifties walked towards my taxi, the man was dressed in Baju Melayu and a songkok headgear politely asked my permission before he boarded my taxi.

The Malay man told me he wanted to go to the mosque and said to me “Go straight ahead and the mosque is on the right”. I asked him if the mosque is just nearby and he nodded with a “Yes”. I started to talk to him and realized that he have just alighted from the taxi about 2 cars in front of me . I think he vaguely meant that the taxi driver have asked him to alight midway from his destination and he have paid the fare. He started to complain to me about that taxi driver who dropped him halfway just now, and mumbled words like he got friends at LTA, and they can help him to deal with that bad taxi driver. I was wondering why the last taxi driver who took him in refused to just drive that bit more distance away from his destination.

After driving for 5 minutes straight ahead and past several traffic lights, I still could not see any mosque on my right. The Malay man always told me the same thing: “Go straight and the mosque is on the right side”. I began to feel uneasy and decided to ask him where is he going and what is the name of the Mosque. To my dismay, he said he wanted to go to Mosque called Masjid Darul Ghufran at Tampines Ave 7. To be on the safe side, I checked the Street Directory for this Mosque and it was in Tampines Ave 5.

I told the Malay man that the Mosque is at Tampines Ave 5 and it is on the East side, quite far away from here, and I will reach the city if I keep going straight. I began to get nervous and suspicious of this Malay man, is he mentally ill? Maybe, I thought to myself as I now realized why the last taxi driver asked him to alight. I stopped my taxi by the side of the road, and before I could say anything, the Malay man took out his wallet and looked ready to pay me the fare, expecting me to ask him to take another taxi. I hesitated for a while and decided to ask him twice if he really wanted me to fetch him to that Mosque at Tampines and his answers are affirmative. The Malay man keep saying: “It’s Tampines Ave 5 and go straight, the Mosque is on the right” and he is late for his appointment.

I took a gamble to fetch this customer as I thought that this well dressed man may just be mentally unstable at the moment. I just kept silence throughout the journey and finally managed to bring him to the Mosque, indeed it was on the right side of the road, but not a straight road throughout the journey.

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