Monday, December 13, 2004

Car Ownership.

I returned the car yesterday.

You could make a case that it was never mine in the first place. My previous employer, as part of the contract, required me to have a personal vehicle as part of the employment conditions.

Having grown up in Singapore and being indoctrinated never to overtly challenge authority - I complied. I leased a vehicle on a monthly basis in a private arrangement. Which I terminated in compliance with the terms of the contract and returned yesterday.

So I did not actually own a car. How is that very different from my peers who "own" a car (for 10 years) or who "own" a HDB flat (for 99 years)? In the rush of Nation Building, the real meaning of the word lease versus ownership seem to have been intentionally confused. And the meaning of the word mortgage seems to have been misplaced too. Understandably. Since it would indeed be hard to get conscripted serfs to pledge loyalty and lay down their lives for leased assets that do not belong to them. Nobody ever washes a rented car.

I am going to miss the car though. Being freed of the public transport grid translates directly into having more choices: quieter out-of-way places for leisure, more places to eat, more opportunities to watch sunrises, sunsets and spectacular tropical rainstorms. The convenience and the choice vehicle "ownership" brings makes me want to rush out and take up one of those no-money-down new car deals that are being aggressively promoted.


The price is way too high for me. Operating a car for these last couple months has been very expensive. The lease rental is only a portion of the cost, with other large related costs being fuel, parking fees, parking tickets, traffic offence tickets, etc. And this is before factoring in wash/wax/polish maintenance costs, repair costs for accidents and the basketload of car accessories/modifications that the car-proud would happily shell out for.

I have read about the high cost of cars in Singapore, listened to my peers lament about how expensive cars are to operate, and even crunched the numbers and tried to extrapolate the costs. I used to run a Suzuki400, but a car is a whole lot more ridiculously expensive to run in Singapore! The little experience has been highly enlightening and generally pleasant. And it has showed me exactly how bad a driver (especially in parking) I actually am!

Verdict: Nice experience, but too high a price to pay for it.

So like a summer holiday romance, it has been nice while it lasted. So long, and thanks for all the fish!


Blogger Singapore Calamari said...

Fish ? What fish ?

"Ownership" is hard to define.

Eg. A car is held in mortage. Lets take COE Out of the equation first.

Technically owned by the bank. However, if one chooses to mortage it basically because he/she just wants to have the money sitting in the bank to make the account looks good, and NOT because he/she has no money ?

When Person A takes a mortage due to lack of cash for full settlement, it makes Person A "not in control" of the possession and is subject to the whims and fancies of the bank.

Person B takes a mortage due to personal quirks. But has 1 million dollars in CASH sitting in the bank, which he/she can, at anytime, redeem the entire mortage. Person B has FULL control of the possession and the bank listens to him/her.

In this "non-technical" sense, I would say Person B has ownership of the car.

With COE, it is a 10-year renewable permit to own a vehicle. If you have lots of money, it is just a technicality. You can, own the same car, from birth till death. Just bid for it. :)

Take for example, in Philippines (I am not that familiar in USA), gun ownership. Only permitted person can possess a firearm. And it is not that expensive. So having paid couple of hundred bucks for the gun, in which it is legal as long as you have the permit to possess it, is it considered an "ownership" ?

Cost of car == Cost of Gun
COE for Car == Permit to Possess Firearm.

Ok, I am no-lawyer, and I do NOT own my car. :(

December 14, 2004 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sucks! Don't understand what you are talking about. I'm looking for some experience guy with owning car in Singapore.. But you.. wrote some bulls of comparison... again sucks

April 08, 2005 12:59 AM  

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