From The Home Front - May, 2004
On this trip back to Papua New Guinea, we had a layover in Singapore for
a couple of days. The flight from Los Angeles to Singapore ended
up taking 28 hours of travel, and then it was 7 hours on to Port Moresby.
Travel and especially long flights are tiring on the flesh, but when we
think of how missionaries used to have to travel for months by ship to
get to this part of the world, it makes us thankful that we can arrive
as quickly as we do.
Medical doctors say the term “nervous breakdown” is a misnomer because
our nervous system does not break down; however, I’m wondering if they
ever met Mr. Lee Yuan who drives a taxi cab in Singapore. He took
us to the airport. After hearing our destination, he popped the taxi
into gear and immediately started telling us his woes. We don’t really
mind someone telling us their problems, even strangers; but the more Mr.
Yuan unburdened, the louder and more irritated he got. He also kept
turning around and looking at us for approval. Since it was rush
hour traffic and we didn’t want him to get in a wreck, we gave him a lot
of positive reinforcement by saying “Oh my.” and “Isn’t that awful.”
We strained hard to understand his Chinese-English so we could properly
sympathize. As best as we could understand, he did not like any of
the Bangladeshi people who come to Singapore, the Sri Lankan people also
bugged him, the Indian people think they know more than him and he has
more talent and training than they do, and even the Chinese people who
he shares ancestry with have no sense. Then we heard about people
from the Arab countries who come into the country showing off all their
money and yet cheat taxi cab drivers. And for some reason, Americans
are silly and mistrustful of taxi cab drivers. Several times he said,
“Can you believe that?” concerning the idiocy of everyone else and then
waved his hand in the air and laughed super loud. It made me nervous
because I wondered if we didn’t join in the laughter what he would do.
Little things like that become important when a taxi cab driver has you
captive in the back seat speeding down the road. In the end, I think
he mainly wanted us to know that he was a certified welder for high-pressured
pipes and could drive any truck in Singapore. I didn’t dare voice
it, but I wondered why then he was driving a taxi cab. Anyway, it
was a blessing to see the airport come into view and to step out of that
There has been a cool breeze almost every day since we arrived back in
the PNG. It has been helping us to acclimate to the tropical heat
and humidity once again.
It was a joy to see the brethren at church services this week. We
are eager to get settled and be about the work here.
A friend in Christ,
Sister Cyd James
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