Sunday, 30 September 2012

Excuse me, can you buy me a sports car?

The following story is making the rounds in Singapore. A young Malaysian guy named Gaw Yu Han is trying to get a sports car for free. Not sure how serious he is, but at least Singaporeans have something to talk about.

Call him shameless or naive but a 20-year-old has sent more than 300 letters to the richest residents in Sentosa Cove asking for a "sports car sponsorship".

And as incredible as it may sound, he said 10 have responded to him within a week - though none has granted him his wish.

In a brief letter sent last Thursday, Mr Gaw Yu Han introduced himself, giving his name and age, before stating his purpose which was "the hope of finding a sponsor".

He said he likes cars and listed as his favourites Audi R8 Coupe, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and Honda CR-Z.

"May I have the courage to ask for a car as a gift from you?" he wrote.

Owners of a Sentosa Cove property, he added, "must be a person of great success" and "it will be nice to know and perhaps learn from you".

His mobile phone number, e-mail address and Facebook page were included in the letters sent to landed-property addresses he found in an online street directory.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Gaw told The Straits Times over the phone: "Call it an experiment or a request if you want."

He claimed he is the only child of parents who run a real-estate business and drive a Toyota Camry. The Malaysian, who is a permanent resident here, said he lives in a private apartment in Upper Bukit Timah.

"But I don't like to ask my parents for money. I'd rather get a sponsorship," said Mr Gaw, who has lived here for 13 years.

He also claimed he is a first-year undergraduate at Singapore Management University. But when contacted, an SMU spokesman said the school is unable to confirm that he is a student.

When pressed on why he thinks strangers would be willing to give him such an expensive gift, Mr Gaw said he was "just trying his luck".

"Anyway, I spent only five cents on a letter. And even if nobody offers a car, I can still make friends. It is important to network and have connections," he said.

"I don't expect to give anything in return. What I can offer is casual friendship."

So far, 10 Sentosa Cove residents, all Singaporeans, have contacted him, he claimed.

But they were more interested in finding out why he is doing this than buying him his dream car.

One of them, a property developer known as Victor who owns two properties at Sentosa Cove, even arranged to meet him during the F1 race last Sunday and they chatted for 30 minutes, he told The Straits Times.

Victor had asked about his background and even requested to see his identity card - but no promises were made.

"I could tell that he was not interested," said Mr Gaw, who got his F1 ticket from an uncle.

"Singaporeans will never give me a car," he said.

But he is not discouraged.

He is pinning his hopes on foreigners, who could have missed his letter because they travel frequently, he said.

"Times have changed and foreigners are the wealthy ones," he said, adding that foreigners, like those from mainland China and Indonesia, are "so rich they don't know where to spend their money on".

Yesterday, his letter was circulated on the Hardware Zone online forum, garnering 10 pages of more than 100 comments in a day, with some netizens calling him naive and shameless.

Sentosa Cove resident Adora Ang, 22, a student, who lives in a bungalow on Ocean Drive, said he is brave to give all his contact details but silly to think it would work.

After reading the letter, she texted him: "Do you think that by sending a letter you'd get a car? Try harder."

She has yet to get a response.

From The Straits Times, by goh shi ting

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