Sunday, 27 May 2012

Silliness and sucess. 1980s, Toyotas, Mercedes SLs, Porsche 911, Langes, Franck Mullers, Panerais, Seikos, you name it..

Hey man, like all guys who just passed any graduate or poly course way back then in the went out and bought a $5,500 car that was 3 years
A brand new Mercedes would have cost a whopping $18,500 !!!
Which later I regretably exchanged this really terrible to drive car for $12,000...a Mercedes 200.

I loved this car.
It was my first car...back then no COE...I sold it for $11,000.
I regret not having tried cutting the roof off to make it a T bar.
I had GREAT fun and stories in this car.
Owned it for a good 4 years or so...

It was kind of "cool" yet reeked of poor taste I had, and may still have now.
But what the heck...I had just survived 2 weeks without food in the jungles in Borneo...lost weight down to 43 kg.
Admitted to hospital for fever for 2 weeks!!!
One must live!!!

Look at the INTERIOR.
It was a Mitubishi Lambda to 100km in 16 secs!!!
Single carb.
Gravity sucks the petrol down in cornering right, and up in turning left.
It could be scary.
But it sure thought me how to drive.
By the time I met DOLLY, she was an accountant with a good group of folks who earned 3 times my salary.
I had changed to a Mercedes 200. 2nd

Dolly was atypical beach babe from Kuantan on a scholarship in Singapore.

She came from a humble family, in fact, worse off than I.
But working at the then Ernst and Whinney, she was extremely more well educated and refined.

She also drove rather fast in the new MRS Toyota, the 2nd MR2 car I was to own. The first, drove by my 60 year old mother, was specially brought in for me, as the first T bar in Singapore.
I was such a pain that they did it for me.
I was a totally insignificant customer.

I loved this car.
It was bought AFTER my brand new Mercedes 300SL ( 1990s for a whopping $420,000).
The MRS cost a meagre $120,000.

I forgot that she actually wore a Frack Muller!!!
Today..Richard Mille or MB&F (all of them except the 4, no money yet).

At $120, were getting VERY expensive, and so I slowly returned to my second love...time has her MOP dialed Lange 1 at $18,900 in 1996.

Short hair in 1996...hmmm.

The 2 kids had their "own car" which was our first MPV. The me a much better car than the Espace, which was NOT a lesson in reliability.

I was crazy enough to buy a $70,000 Mitsubishi mini suv 600cc pajero!!!
It was 1998.
I also changed to the bullet train shaped toyota estima..which I still drive TODAY..with a Porsche 911.
In fact, my daughters prefer the mid engined rear wheel drive performance of the Estima, which at 2400cc, was as good as my first MR2. 1978.

My father who loves cars...I wanted to buy the panamera for him..but he rarely drives it.

Somehow, everyone loves the balance and power of the mid engined estima!

It was the FIRST mpv to have 20 inch rims!!!
They thought I was mad..but like the mercs SL and the MR2 and the MRS...I was the first in Singapore.
Later..I was given the honor of the Tatler leadership award in 2004.
I went to visit Rolls Royce at Goodwood...only to return annoyed at the slight snobbery I felt...what the watch costs more than the car...crazy...the british marketing people who brought me around had no idea!
They had a chance to redeem their car after a week in france in 2011...years later.

Above is what cars look like after 10 years in Singapore..scrap metal or exported to a poorer world.
Below..a new life was to begin..after we spent hours at the Pompidou Paris...we were art buffs.
And Hevre Leger was to discover a

 My new life accelerated at a pace far beyond anything before 1980...the internet was born 18 years back.
I had become a celebrity of sorts.
Leveraged and powerful in a way I had no idea....I wrote stuff for the sake of simply relieving stress...and a passion for watches which I somehow still believe will become legendary artifacts of a high tech time of civilization. And these items will survive, and also become rather valuable if they were significant...just like art.

My life changed with money, came the second Porsche. What I wanted all my life..a good, reliable, safe, old man's sporting car..a 911 Carerra 2. ..with pdk and pasm for less able drivers like me.

Old friends never die.
They become my patients.

I used up another of my many lives given to me.
This crash, the Toyota MRS overturned, probably because I fell asleep at the wheel due to overwork ..smashed, at the tunnel outside of Coronation Road..along Dunearn.
2am...after a meeting with Far East boss Philip Ng.

During the impact, my camera..the Sony 700, flew up to the ceiling..worried that it may be hurt...I grabbed it.
I recall seeing the granite road inches from my head...and then a taxi below me passed by as I was air borne.
Looking at the car in the real metal...I realised how good the Toyota was..the safety saved my life..the top of the roll bar windscreen escaped damage!

Our last few company D and the bosses..we always found it tiresome.
I was fortunate to be alive to attend this one.

A begining of a new chapter in life, after the horrific crash..a trip to interview in New York(what a ball)...and there was no looking back.
The year was 2004.
Collecting watches was much safer and cheaper..(wrong).

Poor man Rich man...don't believe Robert Kiyosaki or NEED LUCK if you don't believe in God.
I do..and God blessed me for reasons I can not figure.
My family, my daughters, my wife and my parents...and my maids....were all instrumental to my happiness.

That's all it takes.

Money or not much money...

Money is better, of course...but you and living it well is best.

Everest base..stupid..but I did it. Don't. Just go for long walks up the Swiss Alps..(another story).
Free divng thru the green grotto in italy..stupid.
Crashing a car..stupid.
Going against logical safety..stupid.

I was VERY fortunate.
Stick to watch good friends too!


  1. How come you managed to buy a 400 000$ only ten years after buying a 5 500$ car?
    Out of curiosity I guess..

    This is not the only thing that was in my head after reading this entry but I will post a new comment tomorrow!

    (This website along with Purist and a few others are the ones I visit when I take a break from work!)

  2. What did I have but 2 very important things. Loving parents and a supportive wife, who was willing to live with me in my parents home. A room. Until we expected our first of 2 beautiful daughters, we did not look for another house. This was 1989. That became critical to answer to yor question.
    Life has oppurtunities unseen, and unplanned for.
    So it came to be, that I managed, without any inheritance, on a salary of $3,800 in that acquire my first property, a huge place for $800,000.
    The following 3 years to 7 years, saw all further acqusitions rise from $650,000 to over $7,000,000 in just one example.
    The expansion of Singapore from small arguably 3rd world to a world class city, was to be the horse that I was riding on, due to forces that were not at all planned.
    I see for you all, better futures than I had.
    It is unfathomable to all. Our plans may have answers to a great number of contingencies, but fate would have answers to all the rest.
    That's how one can buy another $420,000 car again...chuckles.

  3. The above answer was for Marc. I edited it for spelling. Something that a key board and my skill is not at its best.

  4. Don't worry about spelling mistakes !

    I guess success is always driven by hard-work AND luck and contingencies.
    My personal belief is that if you work hard and wisely without giving up you will "catch" some luck and contigencies at one point in time.

    Good things comes to those who wait.

    I come from Europe and in my country it is not acceptable in a cultural way to live with your parents, which is a shame, because firstly you should be able to live the way you want with who you want without be ashamed and secondly because living with your parents and therefor taking care of them is good return of what they did for you during your childhood and even adult life.

  5. Dear Marc,
    It is the same in Singapore. Most will not live with parents. It is a sacrifice. 2 years, for us was good.
    Because I or we both wanted to give our parents a chance for a better life, for what they did for me.
    We were so fortunate. Life was so unpredictable, we simply planned to get married, and when the first child comes, we would buy a family home to last for 5 or 3 generations.....and fortune smiled.
    We bought with our savings, a place large enough for that.
    And at 2% of what it would cost today.

  6. Thank you for sharing those personal thoughts with us Bernard.