So the Australians, it seems are so impoverished, so deeply in economic crisis, so utterly doomed, that they have to sell off their basic life necessities just to assure survival for one more miserable day. From Sydney, a heart-rending tragedy unfolds:
Luxury car dealer Normal Elkordi has never seen it this bad — financial high-flyers feeling the pinch of the global economic meltdown scrambling to sell their Ferraris for a loss.
“We’re not talking Holdens or Fords here, we’re talking Aston Martins, we’re talking Ferraris… I’ve never seen it like this before.”
As anxiety grips world financial markets and stock prices crash, the Sydney-based dealer is seeing increasing numbers of young executives come into his showroom, hoping to offload their near-new prestige autos.
It’s hard to imagine anything worse than having to sell your Ferrari in order to buy bread for your shoeless children. Surely hearts around the world go out to the suddenly impoverished people of Sydney, a lovely city that does not deserve such sudden and unpredictable disaster.
Yet it was only 11 years ago that a similar and terrible event was unfolding in Thailand. Thais really hated the IMF back then for their austerity measures, and burned a lot of effigies. But they also adapted.
Welcome to the “Market of the Formerly Rich,” a weekend affair where the baubles that sparkled so brightly during Thailand’s boom times are being sold off to pay the bills come due.
… The weekend market was the brainchild of a local Mercedes dealer who had a little time on his hands as the country slipped into recession.
Wasun Panon, who set up the market at his auto showroom, says he recognized that Thais were guilty of over-consumption, and he wanted to campaign for people to stop buying more new things, especially imported goods.
“We have bought too much of everything,” Wasun says. “Even if we stop buying things for a year or so, we’ll still have plenty to use that’s already here inside our country.”
Things were pretty tough in Thailand 11 years ago. The baht devalued from 25 to 50 per US dollar in a couple of months, companies shed jobs or just folded up, with more than 50 banks and finance companies going under.
It’s interesting that Thailand today is well back on its feet. The former market of the formerly rich is now a yuppie showplace called Log Home, filled with mostly restaurants, mostly expensive.
If you’ve worried about the tragic victims of the closing of Thong Lor Benz, fear not. No recession, no economic crisis will crush the love of the Mercedes Benz, not in Thailand at least.
So buck up Australia. You might not get that particular Ferrari back, but there are lots more where that one came from.