For The Love of Bling
There are a lot of people who love gold because they love things that sparkle. So, they buy a lot of jewellery from necklaces, to rings, bracelets, watches and some unusual gold ornaments. You see it with rappers who will not only spot gold jewellery but a whole set if gold teeth, or grilles (as they are called). The bigger the bling the higher the status. However, it is not just rappers who do this. In Thailand one man has found fame or infamy for the amount of gold he carries around. Tran Ngoc Phuc is said to wear a total of 28.7 pounds of gold or 13kg everywhere he goes. He does not go anywhere without it.
Besides the workout he inadvertently gets from lugging all that gold around. Tran is a walking liability. According to Thai news agencies who follow such bizarre stories, Tran’s gold hoard includes a 5kg gold chain with a medallion, two 5kg gold bracelets, four rings that weigh 500g each and a waist and made of gold. All this costs an estimated $550,000! With that amount of gold in one’s possession, Tran could do well with a bodyguard or two. Better still, he could get cash for gold and not have to put himself at risk like that.
That seems unlikely to happen because Tran’s affinity for the yellow metal is more than just a superficial love for bling. Tran Ngoc Phuc came from humble beginnings. He came from a poor family, but was determined from an early age to make something of himself. He had the idea to buy oil cheaper and sell it at a high price. He borrowed some money from friends and family and started this business of trading in oil. The price of oil skyrocketed almost overnight from 5,000 to 8,000 and then to 10,000 dongs. Somewhere along the line Tran met a Feng Shui consultant who told him that surrounding himself with gold would be auspicious for the Thai businessman. Tran did more than incorporate gold in his life, he took to wearing as much of it as possible to become a walking luck magnet. It seems the advice was spot on because he went on to become the owner of an upmarket and busy Karaoke bar in Ho Chi Minh City and had other business interests.
He is a mini-YouTube sensation, one of those oddities that people love to read about. Tran has embraced his celebrity and loves giving interviews and letting people into his home to see his collection of expensive things. A lot of online commentators have made comments about the health risk of being weighed down by all that gold. Again, being a Feng Shui-ed good luck magnet is one thing, walking around with all that gold and flaunting your stash for all to see can only attract thieves and robbers. He has admitted that carrying all that gold around can be uncomfortable and the only time he went to see a doctor about a neck pain he was prescribed pain medication. That doesn’t sound like sensible medical advice. Common sense would say, take the gold off! Lighten the load and sell the big clunky jewellery and get cash for gold!