...the vans may be as lavishly decorated as the private railroad cars owned by turn-of-the-century industrialists.
Given the right circumstances, your business is capable of causing a mass movement with the all-new Sprinter MiniBus.
This breathy, low-key mode of camouflage is described by its proponents as “quiet luxury.” It speaks in a modulated voice, and only to fellow Quiet Luxurians. It’s an Upper East Side/Mayfair/Palm Beach kind of a thing. It’s not a Gowanus Canal kind of a thing, or, God forbid, a Zuccotti Park thing. No Zuccotti denizen would be capable of decoding the subtle nuances of this particular style. That’s how deathly quiet it is.
Okay. In 1994, I had just started teaching in North Carolina. I received a call from my mother in Berkeley. She told me that my aunt, my father's twin sister, had been murdered in her home in the Philippines, in Manila. She'd been killed by her chauffeur. Obviously, this was a terrible family time for us. We were very close to my aunt. She was my father's twin.
My aunt, as I mentioned, was a member of the Philippines' extremely entrepreneurial 1 percent Chinese minority, and her chauffeur was a member of the indigenous Filipino majority. Everybody was upset, but I, in particular, was very upset by the criminal investigation, because we went back and I asked if there had been any developments in the murder, and my uncle said, "No, the case has been closed. The suspect ... " And, actually, it wasn't even ... You know, the maids ... There were two maids who were also complicit -- they confessed. There was no doubt as to who had done the killing. But the police said the suspect had disappeared, the maids were let go, the case was closed.
I asked my uncle, "How can this possibly be?" And he said, "You're so naïve. This is the Philippines; not the United States." It turns out he wasn't just being cynical. It's true. My aunt's killing was part of a much larger pattern in the Philippines. Hundreds of ethnic Chinese are kidnapped annually, not always killed, but kidnapped all the time. The police force and the military are principally Filipino. In fact, they all are; there are no Chinese. They are sympathetic [to anti-Chinese sentiment], and often they're quoted in the papers as saying, "Look, the Chinese can afford the ransom. It's a form of redistribution." I'm not saying they condoned the murder, but they're sympathetic to the frustration of this very large majority in the face of a tiny, outsider minority that controls so much wealth and has all these servants, and seem very arrogant. The Chinese don't intermarry. They speak a different language.
In L.A. the rich 'drive' their money.
In New York they 'wea'r their money.
In New England they 'hide' their money.
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