Aug 25, 2014

    The science of the COE

    WHENEVER I fancy a chuckle or two, I either watch Manchester United's defence or catch up on the latest certificate of entitlement (COE) figures.

    As you know, COE stands for "Cash Out Everything" (if you want to buy a car).

    The COE results for cars from Wednesday's bidding exercise all finished higher, naturally, with the cheapest premium for cars available at the giveaway price of just $65,710.

    That has got to be the most expensive piece of paper since Fernando Torres signed his contract for Chelsea.

    Apparently, these figures are generated scientifically through bids and some fancy mathematics, but I am convinced the COE guys just dangle a lollipop in front of a toddler and get him to shout some random numbers.

    Surrounded by guys in white shirts and neatly parted hair, the kid plays with his toy cars and shouts: "Er… six, five… er… seven, one and… zero! Yeah, yeah, six, five, seven, one, zero, can I have lollilop now? I need to go pee pee."

    I practically peed my pants when I read the latest figures.

    The COE prices were particularly galling this week because they were published on the same day we decided to sell our car - not here, but in Australia. And the price contrast might make you cry.

    For several years, our beloved old banger has been retiring quietly in my uncle's garage.

    There is no chance of anyone stealing the car as it is almost small enough to fit in my pocket.

    And, in Australia, they don't drive anything unless it is big enough to be rolling past the floating platform during the National Day Parade.

    Our little car is a classic Korean number. It is a reliable, fuel-efficient, practical family car for the city - and we can't give it away.

    Rather than leave it in my uncle's garage for all eternity, I called a friend living in the same Australian town on Wednesday.

    "Look, it is a good car," I said. "You can fill the tank for 40 bucks. You'll just have to get a new battery. What do you think? Maybe $500?"

    "No," she replied brightly. "You don't have to give me $500 to get rid of it."

    I was expecting her to maybe sell the car for $500 and split the proceeds.

    "No, no, I was thinking you could sell it for $500, maybe even $600. It has still got a good body."

    "You couldn't get $600 for that car even if it had Megan Fox's body."

    A strange comparison, I thought. If I happened to be in contact with Fox's body, I'd probably pay $65,710 for the certificate. I certainly wouldn't leave her in my uncle's garage.

    He still gets excited when he sees Dame Helen Mirren on TV.

    But that is the irony. Take $65,000 off the current COE price and the piece of paper would still be worth more than my old car.

    It is called supply and demand. In Singapore, there are enough folks capable of coughing up the cash for the COE. In Australia, there are enough folks who think $500 is too much to pay for a car.

    Still, if you know anyone in the market for a second-hand car, let me know. It is just $500 plus shipping - and the $65,710 for the COE.

    And it has two cup holders.

    Yeah, I know. For that kind of cash, you'd expect one of the cup holders to be Fox.