YouTube star Tan JianHao has been driving a secondhand Maserati GranTurismo for the past three years — bought with the money he earned from making online videos.
8 DAYS: You drive a bright yellow Maserati GranTurismo. It’s a flashy ride.
TAN JIANHAO: I used to live in Vietnam when I was younger. Six years ago, I went back to visit and one of my friends was driving a yellow Maserati. Since that day, I’ve dreamt of owning one too. I’ve seen Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other sports cars, but I prefer the look of a Maserati. I contemplated buying it then but I couldn’t afford it. Finally, in 2014, I earned enough money to buy it. I don’t really want to reveal the exact amount, but I paid a six-digit sum for it. [Ed: A secondhand Maserati GranTurismo ranges from $130K to $480K.] I seldom buy things for myself, though. Whenever I make money, I put it back into my business. This is the first big ticket item I got for myself, and I think it’s my favourite possession.
How did you afford such an expensive car?
When I bought this car, even I couldn’t believe that I could finally afford my dream ride. I thought it was really cool. There were rumours online that my parents paid for my car, but I didn’t get any financial help from them at all. [Ed: After further probing, JianHao, whose funny online videos are about everyday Singaporean life, revealed that he makes a six-digit sum from YouTube annually.] There were also people talking about me in forums, saying that I went for a cheap car; and that if I had money, I’d have gotten a Lamborghini instead. I find these comments kind of annoying, but people say a lot of strange things on the Internet, so I just ignore them.
The car would make a good prop in your YouTube videos, we reckon.
Yes, I’ve used it in a few videos but I try to avoid doing that as I don't want to come across as showing off online.
What did your parents say about your splurge?
I’m a really impulsive person when it comes to buying things. When I want something, I’d just get it. I did ask my mum for her opinion [about the car], and she said: “Why are you even asking me when you’ve already made up your mind?” My mum was worried that I’d speed though. She was afraid I’d join those supercar clubs and go racing every week or something, but I never did (laughs).
Why the colour yellow?
When I first got it, it was grey. I drove it for about a year before I custom wrapped it yellow, as that’s my favourite colour. A wrap is better as compared to spray paint because I don’t have to worry too much about scratches. If there are too many scratches on my car, I can just rewrap it. Spray painting it will give it a glossier look though. Anyway, I’m not someone who cares too much about scratches. I feel that having scratches on my car gives it more character, and makes me feel more garang. As long as there’re no big dents, I’m cool with small scratches.
Your COE is expiring and you’re not renewing it.
If I were to renew the COE for 10 years, it would cost me $51,000. I chose not to as I think that my car won’t last another 10 years. I don’t want to keep spending money to repair it. I’m very attached to my car, so I’m thinking of buying another Maserati in a better condition to replace this. As for the second car, I’ll make it orange. You know, it’s like the first one was a Pikachu, and it evolved into a Raichu! (Chuckles)
Do people try to race you on the road when they see you driving such a swanky car?
There are instances when people tailgate me or try to start a race on the highway. I’m a very composed person so I’d usually just continue driving. Sometimes, I purposely drive slowly to troll them (laughs). However, one thing that really annoys me is when I see cyclists or people riding their e-scooters on the road, not wearing helmets and fooling around in a dangerous manner. They not only obstruct traffic, they make it dangerous for themselves and the drivers. Most of the time, when accidents happen, the driver gets all the blame. I [make every effort to] avoid accidents ’cos I’m very sure if anything bad happens, the headline would be something like, ‘YouTuber with Maserati hits a cyclist’. I’m a very safe driver. I really like my life and I don’t want to lose it.
You have a huge following online with 306,000 followers on Instagram and over a million subscribers on YouTube. Do you get fans trying to take photos of you and your car when you are driving?
Yes, there were a few times when I ran into my fans when I was walking to my car and they asked if I could rev my engine for them. And I would do it to make them happy. Sometimes, they take Insta videos of me revving. Other times, they would just giggle and clap or cheer for me (laughs).
A car like that must be a babe magnet.
I try not to use my car or fame from YouTube to chase girls. These are superficial and materialistic things and not qualities I want to attract girls with. My current girlfriend was impressed with the fact that I drive a Maserati but it wasn't a big deal.
What kind of songs do you play while driving?
I don’t listen to songs much. To me, the sound of my car is like music to my ears. Sometimes, I’d roll down the window just to listen to the sound of the engine.
Do you allow your friends to eat in your car?
No! I don’t eat in my car, and I don’t allow my friends to do so. It smells bad and I don’t want ants in my car. But it seems like everyone just breaks the rule (laughs). My friends have eaten McDonald’s in my car before.
Speaking of food, you are one of the guest hosts of Toggle food series Cheap Cheap vs Atas. Given that you usually review games, what was it like reviewing food this time?
I’m not good at it. When I taste something, I only have three reactions: “This is nice”, “Uh, ok”, or “This tastes like s***”. I’m not a very descriptive person so I had a hard time with this series, to be honest. It was very challenging. However, I really enjoyed the Nasi Lemak episode ’cos I loved the Nasi Lemak burger from Antoinette as it was very yummy. See, I only have a few adjectives to describe food! (Laughs)
Watch JianHao's episode of Cheap Cheap vs Atas here:
ALL PHOTOS BY KELVIN CHIA