http://www.sina.com.cn   2010年02月23日 11:11   沪江英语

  香港街头经常可见奢华汽车的身影,色彩炫目的奔驰(Mercedes-Benzes)、劳斯莱斯(Rolls Royces)、法拉利(Ferraris)和玛莎拉蒂(Maseratis)等名车每天在乘客与行人面前招摇过市。

  Flashy cars are a common sight in Hong Kong, where passengers and pedestrians witness a daily pageant of boldly colored Mercedes-Benzes, Rolls Royces, Ferraris and Maseratis。

  但香港市民Jackie Rain想要比他的橙色奥迪TTS更具回头率的东西:一副写着“MR BEAN(憨豆先生)”的车牌。大约一年半以前,他在公众拍卖会上花10,000港元(1,290美元)拍得这副车牌。

  But Hong Kong resident Jackie Rain wanted something even more eye-catching than his orange Audi TTS: a license plate that reads 'MR BEAN.' About a year and a half ago, Mr. Rain paid 10,000 Hong Kong dollars, or US$1,290, for the plate at a public auction。


  In a town that levies a 100% tax on luxury imported cars, auto enthusiasts readily pay sums in the thousands of dollars to accessorize their vehicles with vanity plates。


  Ever since Hong Kong transport officials began auctioning vanity plates in 2006 to raise money for a government charity fund, the service has taken off. The process is a bit unusual: anyone wishing to buy a plate submits the proposal along with a US$645 minimum bid. Rival car owners who might fancy the same moniker, however, are free to offer more。


  Not all plates draw competition. 'WELCOME' and 'PERFECT' both sold at an auction earlier this month for the minimum. But a more popular plate reading 'FA' went for about US$18,000. Another bidder sank nearly US$12,000 into a plate that read 'STORAGE.'


  Like other luxury spending, auction proceeds have dropped since the financial turmoil that rocked the city's financial firms in late 2008. This month's auction, for instance, generated about US$281,000, down about 64% from the January 2008, auction, which took in around US$770,000.


  Chinese lucky numbers also go for big figures, and the city has been auctioning lucky numbered plates for years. In the early 1990s, one Hong Kong tycoon paid a record US$1.68 million for the single-digit registration number '9,' which in Chinese sounds like a word for longevity。


  While vanity plates are also trendy in the U.S., Americans aren't accustomed to paying much for them, and the fees are generally determined by the state departments of motor vehicles。


  Fees in California-which earmarks these revenues for various environmental, educational and other causes-amount to less than $100. In Virginia, drivers pay an extra $10 annually for the privilege of customizing a mark。


  In Hong Kong, the popularity of vanity plates has spawned a lively secondary market, replete with so-called agents who offer to attend an auction on a bidder's behalf or ferret out specific tags already held by private car owners。

  Calvin Ng在一家外国投资银行的私人银行部门工作。他说曾有人开价4,800美元购买他的奥迪跑车上的“BOWLING”(保龄球)车牌。他用标准价645美元购得此车牌。他说,这副车牌反映了他12岁以后的一个嗜好,使他回忆起与朋友一同打保龄球的那些美好时光。

  Calvin Ng, who works in the private wealth unit of a foreign investment bank, says he's been offered nearly US$4,800 for 'BOWLING,' which adorns his Audi sport car. He paid the standard US$645 fee for the plate, which, he says, reflects an obsession with the pastime since age 12. 'It reminds me of all the great times I've had bowling with my friends,' Mr. Ng says。


  Still, the opportunity to earn an easy profit is difficult to resist, and he's thought about bidding for other marks for the purpose of reselling them later. 'Nothing beats making money with no risk,' Mr. Ng says。

  一些香港公司把个性车牌用于公司的市场营销策略,而另一些显然把个性车牌与某项任务或职业联系在一起。香港金融管理局(Hong Kong Monetary Authority)为其首席执行长的座驾所配车牌为“AM 78”。观察人士怀疑该车牌暗指港币汇率保持在7.8港元兑1美元。

  Some Hong Kong companies have incorporated vanity plates into their marketing strategies, while others appear to link the plates to a mission or calling. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority provides its chief executive with a car displaying the plate 'AM 78,' which, observers suspect, refers to the Hong Kong dollar's peg of 7.8 to one U.S. dollar。

  黄氏家族在香港拥有进智公共交通控股有限公司(AMS Public Transport Holdings Ltd。)。这是一家当地的小巴公司,在香港交易所的交易代码是“00077”。几年前,黄氏家族派代表竞拍多个包含数字“77”的车牌。

  Several years ago, the Wong family, which owns AMS Public Transport Holdings Ltd., a local minibus company, had representatives bid for plates that included the number '77,' the company's trading code on the Hong Kong stock exchange。


  Vincent Wong, whose father started the company in the 1970s, says the plates help differentiate the company's green-topped minibuses from competitors on the island。

  风水大师麦玲玲(Gladys Mak)的银色保时捷装上了“FUNG SHUI(风水)”字样的车牌。她说,常规的拼法已被别人用了,所以她用U代替E。这个车牌代表了她的工作,即帮助客户确定家里或办公室里物体的摆放方位以带来最佳的活力(或气)。

  Feng Shui master Gladys Mak's silver Porsche brandishes the phrase 'FUNG SHUI.' Ms. Mak says the more conventional spelling was taken so she substituted the 'u' for an 'e.' The plate identifies her with her business, helping clients orient objects in their homes or work places to allow for optimal energy, or qi。


  In this case, the plate's advantage is also its drawback, Ms. Mak says, as police can easily spot her car. While she doesn't mind other drivers staring at her, she says unwanted attention is the reason her husband doesn't like to drive her car。

  对某些人而言,个性化的车牌也可以作为爱情的标记。一对恋人花3,870美元购买了“XXEE”。“XX”代表“kiss,kiss(吻)”,“EE”代表Ricki Leung给她男朋友Clem起的绰号“eagle eyes(鹰眼)”,因为Clem“眼很尖”。

  For some, a personalized plate serves as a token of love. One couple paid US$3,870 for 'XXEE.' The 'XX' stands for 'kiss, kiss,' while the 'EE' refers to the nickname 'eagle eyes' that Ricki Leung gave her boyfriend, Clem, for his ability to 'notice things too easily.'

  Ricki Leung在1月底的一次拍卖会上赢得这副车牌之后说,她正要去附近的车行挑选自己的新车。那会儿,她正在奔驰和路虎(Land Rover)之间犹豫不决。

  After scoring the plate at the Saturday auction, Ms. Leung said she was on her way to a nearby car dealership to pick out her new car. At that point, she was vacillating between a Mercedes and Land Rover。


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