19 April 2009

Tofu Snafu

In the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, you could choose to have a personalised or vanity plate for your car:

Here in Singapore, there is no such option. However, you could bid for a car number plate. Before a series of numbers is released, the Land Transport Authority would invite vehicle owners to bid for the numbers they are interested in. The minimum bid is S$1,000/-. Numbers such as "8", "88", "888" and "8888" which are auspicious to the Chinese because the figure "8" sounds like "fa" (发 prosperity) in Chinese, are expensive. Unlike other commodities where more in quantity means that you pay more, for bidded numbers, typically the less the number of digits, the more expensive the number. Hence a single digit "8" would cost much more than "8888" which already may be worth more than S$10,000/-.

A long time ago, I saw a Mercedes Benz with a nice number plate - "EA5Y". The owner of the vehicle had probably asked for the characters to be placed close together so that it read like the word "EASY". Very clever.

I have never bidded for a number before because I don't feel I have a need for one. An extraordinary number won't look good on an ordinary car anyway. Bidded numbers usually go with luxury and flashy drivers cars. Maybe there is a need to impress upon other people that the owners are successful in life. To each his own. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people bidding for a car number. After all, they help to contribute to our government's coffers and we should be thankful that they help lighten our tax burden.

For me, I am contented with my allocated number plate. I did once fantasise about having a cheeky number plate though but was promptly admonished for having such a dirty thought.

I was therefore rather amused to read about this piece of news:

April 9, 2009

Denver — One Colorado woman’s love for tofu has been judged X-rated by state officials.

Kelly Coffman-Lee wanted to tell the world about her fondness for bean curd by picking certain letters for her SUV’s license plate.

Her suggestion for the plate: “ILVTOFU.”

But the Division of Motor Vehicles blocked her plan because they thought the combination of letters could be interpreted as profane.

Says Department of Revenue spokesman Mark Couch: “We don’t allow ‘FU’ because some people could read that as street language for sex.”

Officials meet periodically to ensure state plates stay free of letters that abbreviate gang slang, drug terms or obscene phrases.

The 38-year-old Coffman-Lee says that tofu is a staple of her family’s diet because they are vegan and that the DMV misinterpreted her message.


yg said...

better not to have personalised registration plate unless you want to be easily identified.
'who's that kayu driver?'
'there, the one with the victor69 number plate!'

Victor said...

Especially important and useful advice is "never engage in extra-marital affairs in a car with bidded number". Your spouse could spot such a car from a mile away. Not that I have such an experience though.

Victor said...

I just saw a car with the same number plate "EA5Y" a few weeks ago. Now it's a Lexus.