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'How much was your mum?': Driving school apologises for instructor’s offensive comments

'How much was your mum?': Driving school apologises for instructor’s offensive comments
PHOTO: Facebook/SoonTienDrivingSchool

All one student wanted was to learn how to drive. But the lesson went way off track when his instructor from Soon Tien Driving School allegedly questioned his nationality, demeaned Burmese people and insinuated that his mother was a mail-order bride.

The driving school has apologised to the student, refunded his lesson fees and are "rethinking their employment" of the freelance instructor, identified only as Anthony, its owner confirmed to AsiaOne today (Aug 28).

The apology came after the student, who goes by the handle u/emporius_opt_max, related his ordeal in a Reddit post on Tuesday (Aug 25), gaining online traction and receiving over 2,600 upvotes.

Wanting to obtain a Class 3 driving license, the student had engaged Anthony via SgDrivingInstructors, an online platform which matches students with private driving instructors.

According to the student, the lesson got off to a rough start when Anthony assumed right off the bat that he was doing a foreign license conversion course due to his deep complexion and Burmese ethnicity.

Despite voicing his discomfort, he was made to drive in traffic before even learning how to use the clutch, he said.

That wasn't all. Throughout the lesson, Anthony allegedly made offensive comments, such as insisting that Burmese drivers are "terrible".

After finding out that the student's mother was Burmese, Anthony reportedly asked, "How much did your father pay to buy your mother?"

He even stopped the lesson midway to verify that the student was Singaporean by checking his identity card, the latter said.

Following the lesson, the student approached SgDrivingInstructors to request a different instructor. However, they did not follow up with him, he said.

"Since my instructor did not change, I did not go for the lesson. I rescheduled to another day and Soon Tien Driving School made me pay $54 for 'missing a lesson'."

He only managed to switch instructors when he approached the driving school's coordinator in person, he added.

"All I wanted to do was to learn to drive a manual car, I don't mind honest questions, but this whole episode left an extremely bad taste in my mouth that I don't think I have ever felt in Singapore."

Student accepts driving school's apology

In addition to a personal apology and a refund, Soon Tien Driving School has also offered two complimentary lessons to the student.

Anthony will not receive the fees from his lesson with the student, the driving school also confirmed.

Acknowledging Soon Tien Driving School's response, the student said in a second Reddit post on Thursday (Aug 27): "I think if you have messed up, you should try to make amends, and that is what Soon Tien has done.

"I personally think they have done precisely that and am willing to let it go with Soon Tien."

However, he still has yet to hear from SgDrivingInstructors, he said.

AsiaOne has reached out to SgDrivingInstructors for more information.

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