Monday, September 10, 2012

Did You Hear the One About the Chinese Driver Who...

Okay, we all know the stereotypes and jokes about bad Asian drivers. But the following two related stories are real. And if they weren’t about such tragic issues, they might be re-worked into one-liners about young, spoiled Chinese drivers and their expensive toys.

Story 1: Political Scandal in China Over Playboy's Ferrari Crash

In the early hours of March 18 – just three days after the Communist Party sacked Bo Xilai as party chief of Chongqing – a Ferrari 458 Italia speeding through the streets of Beijing smashed into a wall, rebounded and crushed a railing on the opposite side of the road. One naked body and two half-naked bodies were thrown from the wreckage. The male driver, one of the half-naked bodies, died on the spot. The other two bodies, both young women, were seriously injured. After almost six months of news cover-up, it is now emerging in the media that the driver was the twenty-something year old son of Ling Jihua, a close aid of Chinese President Hu Jintao. Around the world, high speed sex parties in Ferrari’s are, sadly, nothing new. But in this extended season of discontent among the Chinese masses towards an ongoing litany of moral and legal transgressions by the country’s elite, this incident, and the government’s attempt to hush it up, is particularly lurid.

Story 2: Ferrari Ownership in Hong Kong Restricted for Drivers Under-28 Years Old

According to an article today in the South China Morning Post, insurance companies in Hong Kong will not offer coverage policies for Ferraris to anyone under 28 years old. Apparently, the car dealers and insurance companies have become alarmed at the rising number of accidents across Asia involving young drivers with more money, testosterone and arrogance than brains. In May of this year, a 31-year old Chinese man in Singapore killed himself and two others when he slammed his Ferrari into a taxi. More recently in Thailand, a grandson of the Red Bull drink creator ran his Ferrari over a policeman. Late last year in Japan, in perhaps the biggest traffic incident involving luxury speedsters of its kind, eight Ferraris and a Lamborghini Diablo were among 14 cars that crashed into each other, creating a terribly expensive pile of scrap metal and shredded carbon fiber. Lastly, there is the well-known story of Cantopop star Nicholas Tse, who in 2002 crashed his Ferrari, then placed the blame on his chauffeur, and ended up getting off lightly anyway.
Going forward in Hong Kong, if Junior wants a tony new set of wheels, someone else (presumably Dad) will have to register and insure the car. So Dad will be putting his name where only his money used to be. Perhaps then, if Junior screws up and wrecks the car, he’ll need to walk or take a minibus home to face his spanking.

The consequences of an ill-advised high speed menage-a-trois.


Q: What do you call a rich young Chinese guy behind the wheel of a late-model Ferrari?

A: No laughing matter.

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