Taxi driver in Taiwan offers free rides in return for singing karaoke

Tu Ching Liang’s videos of warbling passengers have been viewed millions of times

The Guardian
Date: 3 Jan 2021
By: Helen Davidson in Taipei

The karaoke taxi driver turning passengers into ‘superstars’ in Taiwan – video

Tu Ching Liang adjusts his yellow novelty hat, as disco lights bounce off the medical mask across his face, and speeds up his taxi.

“No one is as lucky as me, walking out the door every day rushing to go to work and not make any money,” he says, laughing.

It’s a cold day in central Taipei. Three weeks of near constant rain have worn people down and they morosely splash through shallow puddles and struggle with their umbrellas against the wind. But inside Tu’s yellow taxi – identifiable from the outside by a pink neon star on the dashboard – it’s warm and we’re listening to a previous passenger gleefully warble Despacito.

In a city that loves to sing you can find karaoke just about anywhere, including in numerous taxis. The local taxi app even has “karaoke” as a selection alongside “English-speaking driver” or “wheelchair accessible”. Stumble off the pavement and into a car, and you might find a microphone thrust into your hand and an iPad ready to play Youtube clips of any song you can think of, with lyrics.

But Tu, 57, will tell you he’s the famous one.

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