Jeffrey Xu is so head over heels in lurve with Felicia Chin that he’d do just about anything for her, including splurging a hefty six-figure sum on a spanking new ride.
8 DAYS: We hear that you bought this car just to send Felicia to and from work. What a lucky girl.
JEFFREY XU: (Laughs) When I bought this car in the middle of last year, I did so with the idea that it would belong to the both of us. Felicia’s Mini Cooper kept breaking down last year, so she sold it. She’d wanted to get a new ride but I thought it was unnecessary as I could ferry her to and from filming. I’d let Felicia drive my car if she had to go to several locations for work in a day, and I’d take a cab instead. However, she eventually bought her own car after four months as we had conflicting schedules and it was too tedious sharing one vehicle (chuckles). In the past, I took public transport everywhere — for more than six years. I thought it was about time that I got a car as it would make things more convenient and I could drive her around too.
You took public transport for six years. That’s quite unusual for an actor.
When I first got here, I was doing quite well so I took cabs everywhere I went. Ever since my career started going downhill, I realised I had to live more humbly and I started taking the train and bus. If I had to report to work at 6am, I’d wake up at 4am and take a bus at 5am to reach my destination. No one really recognised me as I’d usually bury my head in books. It was good as I saved a lot of money.
$160,000 is no small sum.
My parents told me that if I wanted to get a car, I should invest in a good one. I totally agree with them. The BMW 318i felt very sturdy and comfortable. Everything just felt right. There’s also plenty of space for my parents when they’re here on holiday. Initially, I considered getting a Mercedes-Benz sports car but the price wasn’t as attractive, and it’s not as spacious. I paid the downpayment of $20,000 with my savings, and my parents forked out another $100,000. I’m now paying for the remaining $40,000 in monthly installments.
Your parents are very generous.
Honestly, I feel guilty but grateful. My parents have this mentality that an actor should drive a more luxurious car but I told them that they were mistaken and actors in Singapore don’t earn much (guffaws). I’ve been working here for seven years now, yet I’m still not considered a star. Our job may be glamorous to the outside world, but many people don’t really know the challenges we face. Upon hearing that, my parents decided to ease my financial burden by sponsoring a partial amount for my first ride.
What did the people around you say about this splurge?
Felicia was very supportive. She went car shopping with me and we picked out the model together. Ian [Fang] told me that I’ve made it since I’m driving a BMW now. I also had people asking me why I bought a car and not a flat instead. I’m not a Singapore PR, which means I’d have to pay a lot of taxes, so that can wait. There were also people who commented online that I’m just a rich kid, and that I must earn a lot as an actor to afford this. It was bittersweet as I felt that I received more criticism than congratulatory messages after buying the car (laughs).
Do you think your car is an extension of your personality?
Definitely. It’s modern and trendy, and reflects who I am, as I like fashionable and stylish things.
Does your car have a nickname?
Oh yes, mine is Da Bai (literally translates into ‘big white’); Felicia’s Volkswagen Beetle is Xiao Bai (‘small white’). It’s really small and cute. I’ve always wanted a white car as I’m a Christian and white symbolises holiness. White cars also look sleeker.
A white car also gets dirty very easily. How often do you wash it?
When I first bought it, I intended to wash the car myself. But I never ended up doing it (laughs). I send it to a cleaning lady, who cleans and waxes my car. She’s from China and she’s super meticulous. I’d offer her tips on top of the car wash fees but she wouldn’t take it. So now, I give her tea leaves that my dad brings from China as a gift. In fact, I just sent my car to her for a car wash last night before this photoshoot but it rained this morning just before I got here. What a pity!
Have you and Da Bai ever been victims of road rage?
Not really. I’m very easily flustered and impatient on the road, though. Sometimes, I get annoyed when people drive too slowly. If I lose my way, I’d start to panic. A few times, when I realised I was going in the wrong direction, I stepped on the brakes as I didn’t know what to do. I got honked at by other drivers and Felicia calmed me down and told me not to be nervous.
Any romantic car dates yet? It’s all the rage among K-pop stars.
We have takeaway dinners in the car from time to time. I like it because it feels very private and cosy, yet very comfortable. I’m fine with people eating or drinking in my car as long as they don’t dirty it. Once, Felicia spilled a cup of coffee and it stained my car seat. I was quite angry initially but cooled down afterwards as I was more worried about whether she was scalded by the hot drink. We wiped the car down and aired it out to get rid of the coffee smell. These days, I make sure that both of us put our drinks in the cup holders before I drive off! (Guffaws)