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a Taxi Driver with PhD from Standford University, What's Wrong With Him!

Updated on September 25, 2009

Many people dreaming the PhD title. Especially the title is from the famous university. There is a man who have this title and now become a driver. What's wrong with him. Now he become"the most highly educated taxi driver in the world". Probably he is the only one taxi driver in this world with a PhD from Stanford. His name is Cai Mingjie. He never think that his live will turned 180 degree. He was formerly a scientist with a good reputation.Last education completed PhD in biochemistry from Stanford University. But now a man who had become a principal investigator in genetics IMCB cells leave that prestigious institution and choose a taxi driver career.

The news about Dr.Cai very surprising Singapore society, a country which considered have the level of higher education. As we know that doctoral degree is a guarantee to have a steady job and success guarantee also. He said that he met few taxi drivers who have high qualifications in the last few years, including those who the last job is a manager and engineer. One day was a surprised day because there was a taxi driver who gave a full explanation about the stock should be bought and which ones should be avoided. Apparently his last job is become a stockbroker.

Here’s Dr Cai on the cover of evening tabloid

He is become popular in Singapore. The story about him spread quickly in cyberspace. Most of Singapore people expressed their appreciation for the ability to adapt so quickly to her new life. And many Singapore people would be very happy if they can walk around with his Taxi and chat with Dr.Cai. Now driver image increasing into a high level because of him.

A little Biogrpaphy about Dr.Cai Mingjie

Dr Cai is a citizen of Singapore, after gaining a PhD in molecular biology from Stanford University in 1990. He joined IMCB two years later and worked as a chief researcher in the field of cell genetics. He was suspended from the Institute of Molecular and Cell biology (IMCB), a place where he had worked for 16 years. Start from November 2008, he decided to become a taxi driver.Now, a man with a lot of experience in biological curriculum and university experience, government agencies and companies driving the Toyota Crown Taxi. He said that taxi company the only business in Singapore which still actively recruiting people.

I know we are facing a global economic crisis. Many people lost their jobs and become unemployed. The result is many people become stress and because they didn't work. Do you have argument about him? I know many Hubpages member have High level of Education. And many hubbers concern about education. Are you agree with his step become taxi driver. Let discuss about this hub. I invite to all of you comment about this topic.


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    • profile image

      Neto 4 years ago

      Looks as if you have no service in and auonrd Huntingdon nr Peterborough! I can't even book to the airport! But I'm sure your system will catch on really quick, delivering better value to customers and drivers.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      My friend, pinkhawk. I agree with you. Education is important for us. But the difficult thing is how to apply our knowledge for life and useful for others. God bless you


    • pinkhawk profile image

      pinkhawk 5 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

      In life, you'll never know! But for me high education is nothing if you can't acquire self fulfillment in the things you are doing... As long as it makes you happy, then go on.. ^_^ this is intereting! ^_^

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Hi, Same. Good to see you here. I hope you enjoy this information. Thanks for coming. Cheers...

    • profile image

      same  7 years ago

      welcome to Siem Reap Angkor wat ! My name is Same a tuk tuk and taxi driver in Siem Reap .

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks, same for dropping by. I'll try to visit your site. Good to see you here.

    • profile image

      Same 7 years ago

      welcome to Angkor Best Driver ! My name is Same .

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good morning, mrellis. Thanks for dropping by. I am glad to read your comment. I give big attention to your story about taxi's driver in America. I never thought about this before. I thought taxi's driver is a nice job to do in America, especially in New York City. Wow.. we can develop taxi's business in the future. By joining taxi's driver, we can start to create a taxi empire. This is unbelievable business. I can't imagine I will get $600,000 with this job. I have to get my driving license first. But I beleive Dr.Dr. Mingjie really enjoy with this job. And I believe he get his dream become taxi driver. I never underestimate this job. I support all the taxin driver in the world. Peace


    • profile image

      mrellis 7 years ago

      I don't know what it's like driving a taxi in Singapore but here in America, depending on what city you drive in, there is potential to earn a good income. I know of more than one taxi driver that worked hard purchased his own taxi, continued to work hard and purchase more taxis. Thereby creating a good income and becoming an employer. I also know of taxi drivers that started their own sedan service. I don't know why people assume that cause you drive a taxi you are lower class. If you're a smart businessman (or woman) you can earn a lot of money, depending on what city you're in & gov't regulations. In New York City, the cost of a medallion, which allows you to own your own taxi just went to over "$600,000." Apparently owning/driving a taxi there can be very lucrative. Maybe Dr. Mingjie will start the next taxi empire. He has the education.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Good to see you here, Medical Writer. I have the same idea with you. In my country the people race to get this tittle. But I felt sad it will end with a driver job. This is the real life, my friend. I agree with you, we all difficult to get a job outside. Part time clerical job is good while waiting suitable job for you ans it match with your field. Thank you very much.


    • Medical Writer profile image

      Medical Writer 7 years ago from Great Britain

      This is very sad indeed, I feel sorry for that man. I too have an MSc and a PhD in Molecular Biology from a prestigious British Uni and cannot find a good job. The best I can muster is a part time clerical job.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks Andromida lovely comment, I'm flattered with your word. i like writing. I'll do the best for all my friends including you.I like when my hubs can be discuss for us and have benefit for us. Thanks Aqua, I pray for all the people find the best thing for their life including me. And I hope this economic recession will end soon.You have great comment.

    • Aqua profile image

      Aqua 8 years ago from California

      Very interesting hub. I think me feeling "sad" or "bad" for him would depend on how he himself feels about his new job as a taxi driver. If he's ok with it then so am I. Someone who has attained that level of education is probably still learning and challenging himself mentally, just in different ways. I'm glad to see he is employed and I sincerely hope he's finding ways to enjoy this new phase of his life.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 8 years ago

      prasetio30,great article.I wonder how you alwats find all the fascinating topics.If I need to know any interesting topic I always visit your hubs.I think Dr.Cai did 16 years of research in molecular biology thinking of how to start a taxi driver life,this economic recession has given him a golden opportunity to start his dream career.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks tim-tim, you have great perception about this topic. I agree with you.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      It is great that Dr. Cai became a taxi driver instead of going through depression and griped about it. He was lucky that they did not turn him away for being "overqualified". Isn't the word to turn people away nowadays? Heads off to him!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks Febrie. I think Dr.Cai wouldn't leave his country. I never heard about Prof Johanes Surya before, thanks for information. You have accurate sight, That Andy Lau insert in that news...hahaha.thanks again.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 8 years ago from Indonesia

      This give me a deeper insight thoughts of life. We have to be more prepare what happen next in our life, no matter how high your education and job was. Why don't Dr Cai visit Indonesia and teach the Papua kids like Prof Johanes Surya did? Maybe Dr Cai could help Prof Johanes to fulfill his dream, make one of Indonesian kid reach the Nobel Prize.

      Btw, do you know the news about Andy Lau in that newspaper? His picture is in the right side..just wondering :)

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks cally2 for comment. I agree with you. I think you have a lot of experience and meet many people with various job from any level education. you are great teacher.

    • cally2 profile image

      Paul Callaghan 8 years ago from Paraparaumu, New Zealand

      I tell the kids at school that they have a choice with education. If they want to flip burgers in Macdonalds that's great. If however the only job they can get is flipping burgers that's not so great. Education is what gives them the choice. I hope that Dr Cai chose to become a taxi driver and is enjoying it. If he is a frustrated and bitter man, that's sad.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I hope so. thanks stars439

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      I guess what matters is that bread be on his table. Being a taxi driver involves brains too. He will probably be a scientist again. God Bless.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks Irene. thanks for your story, And I think this is fact what really happen in US. I think US is the biggest country, super power with excellent income for the people who work in US. And until now, many people in my country willing to get job in US. Wow, the job with $10 per hour still not enough for living is US. For me with comparable average income in my country is still"big Money". For bachelor graduate the average income is around $250 per month. But we can't escape from this situation right now. With global economic crisis. And from your comment, open my eyes about US people who suffering and they have to survive. I hope the crisis will end as soon as possible.

    • profile image

      Tina Irene 8 years ago

      It's a very, very bad global economy, prasetio30. And from Dr.Cai's photo, it appears that he's older and older people lose their jobs first and are not re-hired. Many older people go into fields they would not have gone into before they lost their jobs because they have to have some way to support themselves, if they are able to find jobs.

      Here in the US, there are many older people (65 and older) who had to go back to work because they lost their retirement funds in the global financial crisis. I read a sad story about a 90-year-old man who lost his retirement in the global financial crisis and he had to go back to work in a convenience store for $10.00 per hour, and some older people get even less than $10.00 per hour. It's impossible to live on $10.00 per hour or less in the US but this is what is happening.

      Also, there are many people living in tents outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. These are children, young adults, middle-age adults and older adults. And the problem is getting worst and worst. In other words, it would not be a surprise if many, many more Americans end up without jobs, without food and without homes, etc., and they will end up in the streets.

      And the US politicians have done nothing about the serious problems Americans face. The US politicians have refused to come up with necessary solutions so Americans can eat and have roofs over their heads; yet those politicians live high on the hog, like "elitists". The day's coming when these politicians will be voted out of office.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks Seolover

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks to all who interesting and support this hub. I appreciate all your comment. You have many different point of view about this case. I think we all concern about education. But the god have big role in determining our life. like, our couples in life, career, job, and death. But with this condition now, the important thing to survive is how we get the "money". No matter job we get (legal job).

    • omi saide profile image

      omi saide 8 years ago

      You are special, Dr Cai. You are 1 in a billion. I wish to stay as positive as you now thru my life transitional. I wish you well.

    • profile image

      Madame X 8 years ago

      Very interesting hub. I think there is a part of the story we may not know. He worked as a chief researcher in the field of cell genetics. Maybe he had come across a situation that he thought was unethical, voiced his opposition and was then suspended. After that his conscience may have held him from going back. I can understand that and I would agree with his choice. But he still had to pay his bills so he got a job doing whatever, in this case driving a taxi. I would say that his education is what enabled him to drive the taxi - in other words, his intelligence enabled his good conscience. This is all speculation of course, but definitely a possibility considering the line of work he was in.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 8 years ago from London, UK

      I think I understand him. Sometimes people apply for jobs for months and don't get anything and in the end just give up. I would say he lost his Motivation but I am upset with his friends (if he has any). They should have sat him down, encouraged/supported him to move on. I mean, why take all the trouble to study to such a high level?

      Love your Hubs. :)

    • profile image

      gwennies pen 8 years ago

      sad story, but maybe he enjoys getting out and meeting new types of people from all walks of life. I heard taxi cab drivers lead interesting lives in taking on their new fares.(rides) He's expanding his horizons anyway. Interesting, although sometimes it has to do with age...the older we get, even though we can be more experienced, its harder to find work in your field. Younger ones are willing to accept lower wages.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      I applaud Dr. Cai for his humility, even in the face of adversity. His even letting himself be recognized is a humble and proud act. Rah, rah, for him.

    • bayareagreatthing profile image

      bayareagreatthing 8 years ago from Bay Area California

      I love and support education and consider myself a lifetime learner. Having said that, however, it is not a silver bullet to life. I think about Jesus' disciples- the first four he chose were uneducated fisherman. They were given one of the greatest tasks in human history- to be a witness of his acts and proclaim the gospel. In our time- education is often the way to get the "better jobs"...we all want money to support ourselves, but sometimes simplicity makes for a better life. Maybe this man discovered a better life by simply being a taxi driver. I am reminded of a verse in 1 Timothy 6:6

      "But godliness with contentment is great gain". Contentment is a wonderful gift!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks Zanetta and Savorai for supporting this hub. Why he was suspended from those institute, I think it become private reason.Not for public consume. Many job out there didn't match with specialization. The important things now, is how to get the money.

    • sarovai profile image

      sarovai 8 years ago

      I think education should not be the barrier to do any kind of jobs. What makes me think is specilisation in a specific subjects and leaving that line. Only rare no of people can do.

    • Zanetta profile image

      Zanetta 8 years ago


      an interseting hub. Do you know why he was suspended from Institute of Molecular and Cell biology?

      maybe his job was high stress level and he wanted a break, so he took a job that was completely different.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks Veronica and Waren. For Veronica, I agree with you 100%. We don't be shame with our job. Like you said now matter how prestigious or not. As long as this is legal job and we enjoy doing this job. And get money also. For Waren, We didn't what was Dr,Cai thinking about this job. But until now he still enjoy with his career.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 8 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      I'm sure Dr Cai is only doing it until a better job offer arrives,I hear taxi drivers make good cash these days!

      Great hub prasetio30!:)

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      It seems as if he choose a course that gave him a different outlook on life. If it makes him happy and gives him a sense of fulfillment, then who are we to judge? I think you can find a sense of fulfillment in any career no matter how prestigous or not. The fact that he is so educated is definitely an added bonus. When and if he decides to return to his previous field, at least he'll still have that to fall back on.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks Butchie98w, Pete and one2get2no for comment. All the job and doing it with happy get better result. Dr.Cai enjoy doing the new job. And the people around him give support and appreciate for his job. For Pete the taxi picture just represent taxi on Singapore.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 8 years ago from Olney

      Nice story...I once did that and enjoyed it being an investment banker.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 8 years ago

      If being a taxi driver makes him happy and he is not deprivng dependence of the former income then it is his decision. I do have a problem with the decoration on the taxi. There are too many people suffering with obesity to have it be a joke.

    • Butchie98w profile image

      Laman Richards 8 years ago from New York

      row us and sometimes we have to do what we have to do, it's work and earn a living or suffer. The choice is up to us.

      Thanks prasetio30 fo this insightful post

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks Hello and Hmrjmr1 for comment. I agree with both of you. We didn't just wait and see. We have take action. I hope this global economic crisis will end. For Hello, the victims are the employee. They didn't have anything about the directors do and the reasons why the bank become bankrupt. sometimes we have to make decisions.......Like Dr.Cai

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      When times get tough the best of us do not wallow in despair we pick ourselves up and move forward smartly, sound like the Doc is one of those folks. Great Hub my friend..

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      It is sad that the economy had come to this. The amount of hard work and then dedication later on Dr. Cai in his job must have given. Yet you hear so many times directors bankrupting big banks and industries and walk away with millions or even billions of pounds. If a bank or industriy is bankrupt how come they can have that kind of money and nobody - in power - does anything about it.


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