This aspiring tai tai parks her heels in the backseat lounge of BMW’s most luxurious saloon, complete with a chauffeur.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

This aspiring tai tai parks her heels in the backseat lounge of BMW’s most luxurious saloon, complete with a chauffeur.

My Reading Room

PEOPLE say that we’ll always remember our firsts – first trip overseas, first kiss, first car. My list of memorable firsts also includes my first chauffeur-driven experience, which took place when I was a mere teenager.

It was during our initial three months in junior college, and a bunch of us from the same secondary school were attending Chinese New Year celebrations at our alma mater.

One of my classmates had the privilege of being chauffeured to and from school daily, and she very generously offered to give us all a ride.

To be honest, I cannot recall how luxurious the Mercedes- Benz S-Class was, nor what a treat it was to be sitting in a chauffeur-driven limousine.

All I remember from that ride was the fact that all seven of us could fit into the longwheelbase saloon – one on the front passenger seat, four on the rear seats and two more on the floor behind the front seats.

It wasn’t the most glamorous of chauffeured situations, but it was an unforgettable first.

Fast forward to 2016 and I again have the privilege to be driven in a German limousine – BMW’s “S-Class”, the new 7 Series.

At the appointed time, I’m greeted by a friendly driver who welcomes me with a wide smile and an even wider rear door. I shimmy onto the backseat like I imagine a real tai tai would, and happily realise that I’m not off to do road combat today.

As many fellow motorists will agree, engaging first gear these days is like engaging battle gear. But with someone else taking the wheel, my mood relaxes and my blood pressure dips.

As we set off on our journey, I reach for the tablet beside me, which works like a remote control as part of BMW Touch Command.

I then proceed to make myself comfortable, being a temporary lady of leisure and all that – selecting my favourite radio station, adjusting the window and roof shades, as well as my seat position and air-con temperature.

The cabin’s plush Nappa leather, cocooning cushions and classy wood inlays take comfort and luxury to the next level. I really could get used to this. 

All too quickly, we arrive at our first destination, the Apple service centre, to fix my iPhone.

I normally have to contend with a long wait at the cheaper URA carpark across the road, or pay through my nose and park in the mall’s basement.

But not today. I simply hop off right in front of the lobby, and hop back in when I’m done. No more worrying about parking, or struggling with the long walk from the carpark in my high heels.

Next on this apparent tai tai’s agenda is to pick up some popiah skin for my mum’s homemade popiah feast in the evening.

After a round-island drive and two failed attempts because the shops closed early, I eventually manage to get my hands on the elusive popiah skin, and still keep my cool.

If I were driving myself, I would have been close to tearing my hair out, but with a driver, it’s just a bit of wasted time and petrol.

In fact, if I really have a driver at my disposal, I would probably have sent him to buy the popiah skin on his own. Besides driving me around, a chauffeur can also be a handy helper who takes care of my errands.

On the journey back, with two more stops en route to pick up some documents from the office as well as my daughter’s homework from school (because she spent the day at home nursing a flu), I remind myself about some urgent work that needs my immediate attention.

That’s when I really appreciate the smooth ride, courtesy of the 7 Series’ air suspension. Despite the bumps and turns, I can type with absolute ease.

Being able to work in transit means that when I get back home, I have more time to spend with my daughter. So, in a way, paying for the services of a chauffeur is also buying myself more time to do other things.

I know of people who hired a chauffeur because their Class 3 licenses were revoked due to drink driving.

While you may not want the choice to be taken out of your hands by the law, having a chauffeur is really useful when you have been out boozing.

It means that you can basically booze all you like, without worrying about Traffic Police roadblocks or wondering how you’re going to get home, or being made to feel unwelcome by the cabbie who’s afraid that you’ll do a “Merlion” in his taxi.

With your own chauffeur, you can also bid goodbye to the hassle of refuelling at the petrol station, buying parking coupons or topping up your Cashcard. And as an added benefit for the possessive tai tai, she can keep tabs on the movements of her busy businessman hubby driven by the same chauffeur.

Now, back to the Bimmer limo. I spend a busy afternoon out and about, but arrive home feeling as if I just took a leisurely cruise around Singapore, with none of the frazzled nerves and tiredness that usually accompany the end of a long multi-stop drive.

Sanity in exchange for a chauffeur’s salary. That alone is priceless, and the backseat lounge of a luxurious saloon is a bonus.


My Reading Room

Arranging atas high tea sessions and planning the next round of ritzy retail therapy are even more enjoyable from the backseat of a limousine.

My Reading Room

Living the high life, on high heels, in a chauffeurdriven limo with amenities aplenty.

More: first myself