All your five senses are engaged when you take the wheel of a Ferrari Roma that emphasises the concept of living a sweet life. Debra and Aries Wong tell Options how they integrate the car into their daily lives
Debra and Aries Wong met in California, where Debra is from, in 2015 at a party. Aries, who is from Hong Kong, was a guest visiting from London where he was studying.
The pair hit it off, and that friendship blossomed into a long-distance relationship for two years as Aries headed home to Hong Kong to work in his family’s financial business. The pair finally got married in 2017, lived in Hong Kong then moved to Singapore, and along the way, they had two little girls.
This is the story of a couple settling down to start a new life in Singapore to raise their family.
It can get challenging at times as they have to work around the pandemic, doing as much as they can to keep things real. In fact, after this interview with Options, the Wongs have planned a date night, just the two of them. The affection, admiration, and love they have for one another are real.
While they agree on most things, they have differing opinions about their individual driving styles.
Debra says: “I love to be chill when I drive but not for Aries, he loves to race especially on a [race] track in Malaysia.” The one thing, however, that they can agree on is the choice of car. The Ferrari is the one car marque they both adore since they bought the Ferrari Portofino. This time, their choice for a smooth drive is the Ferrari Roma.
“It feels very powerful and comforting at the same time with much more technology. I have to say it looks like a strong and powerful shark but it feels very comfortable inside,” Debra says.
Indeed, the car has been officially described as such because the design features refined styling and perfect proportions with the front of the car depicting an overhanging shark nose effect.
Aries adds: “The experience that I have with the Ferrari Roma is one of luxury. It’s very comforting. Yet the roots of Ferrari are embedded within the vehicle. And then it is adopted with high technology such as the sports mode — it is all so futuristic.” The Ferrari Roma’s 620 cv engine belongs to the V8 turbo family that has been voted International Engine of the Year four years running. There is a speed sensor that measures the turbine revolutions and this allows for the maximum revs per minute to be increased by 5,000 rpm.
Since this interview took place at the Ital Auto showroom, the Ferrari Roma sits in front of us in all its gleaming glory and we cannot help but admire the magnificence of the car. The engineers at Maranello developed some aesthetically pleasing designs such as a mobile rear spoiler, designed to retain the car’s formal elegance when retracted and guarantee the downforce essential for the car’s extraordinary performance.
A sensory journey
As the technical and aesthetics accolades roll out for the Ferrari Roma, we now know that this car goes beyond the nuts and bolts. Owning one is akin to indulging in your five senses as it adopts the Italian way of life which is Nuova Dolce Vita, or living a new sweet life in English.
Everyone who rides in a Ferrari will engage all their five senses — you admire the refined contours and curves, feel the luxury of the leather and the steering wheel in your hand, hear the purring sound of the engine and savour the smell of the crisp Italian leather.
With a car like the Roma, a whole new adventure begins as you celebrate life to the fullest.
These are experiences that Debra and Aries can relate to. Aries says that while all the five senses are equally important to him, he is very particular about his sense of smell.
He says, “I’m very particular when it comes to the sense of smell such as the scent a person is wearing, the smell of food, the smell of nature, these are all very important to me.” He adds that he pays a lot of attention to his sense of sight now that he has taken up videography and photography as a hobby.
He is also keenly aware of his surroundings and has learned how to frame a scene or an image. Debra says that her husband is also very particular about the way things feel and she cites that he has been involved in the renovation of their new home on Sentosa. It is in that same vein that Aries feels that the seat and the leather used in the car is of utmost importance to him.
It is clear that the couple enjoys their indulgences such as a meal at Michelin starred-restaurants. Debra says that Aries is the one with a sharp sense of taste as he savours each bite. “When he goes to restaurants he really indulges in mastery and how the food is prepared. For me, I love Cantonese cuisine,” she explains. At the same time, Debra loves her Italian food, too.
One would think that the Wongs have a litany of material things that they consider luxury. It is far from it, for example to Debra living the good life means having a family that supports you no matter what. Aries concurs: “I feel the same way, family is very important and that is one of the reasons why we bought the Ferrari Roma because it has four seats so the entire family can go out. This to me is living the good life.” Family is two girls — a three-year-old and another who is a year old.
The sweet life
The Wongs sound like they lead a charmed life of caviar and champagne dreams. However, what sets them apart is that they give back to those who are less fortunate. They have been photographed at high-octane charity events dressed to the nines, with Food From The Heart as their charity of choice. The organisation feeds the needy in Singapore through food distribution programmes that were founded to channel surplus food to the needy.
Aries gives us an insight into Debra’s character that no glossy fashion magazine has ever reported. Aries proudly says, “Debra is a kind person who shows empathy for those around her. For instance, she would randomly buy a cake to give it to the security guy. She says it is because they work so hard doing temperature checks for all visitors and residents where we live. I mean, this kind of gesture you don’t find too often.”
Debra returns the compliment as she reveals that Aries is a very determined person and once he sets his mind on something, he makes sure he sees it through. This helps especially now the couple work together as Debra, a former banker, has joined the family business.
They also hope that their daughters will later join in the business too. But for now, what they want to teach their children is to view people not as competition but as individuals that complement each other. Aries says: “Everyone has a role in this world. You cannot do everything alone, together we can solve problems because we all have our strengths. We should never compete, which often is the case in the corporate world.” He adds that he hopes their children will communicate more instead of through gadgets.
Debra adds that they want their children to respect and be kind to each other. “A little kindness goes a long way. Sometimes, someone may have a bad day and we should take a step back to find out why they are behaving as such. The rest, they need to figure out themselves also because I think too much excessive parenting is not good.”
The practical parents are also looking forward to the day when the skies will open and their first trip is to travel to California to visit Debra’s family, followed by a trip to Hong Kong where Aries’ family is located. Since the borders shut, the two sets of grandparents have not met their youngest granddaughter.
After we wrapped up the interview and the photoshoots continued, we wished them well and to enjoy their date night later that evening. It is all part of how they manage the pandemic and still embraces a life that is sweet, special, and spontaneous and the Ferrari Roma plays a part in the life that Debra and Aries have built for themselves.
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TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS, FERRARI ROMA
Type: 90° V8 twin-turbo
Max power: 620 cv at 5,750 to 7,500 rpm
Max torque: 760 Nm at 3,000 to 5,750 rpm
Max engine speed: 7,500 rpm
Dimensions and weight
Length: 4,656 mm
Width: 1,974 mm
Height: 1,301 mm
Wheelbase: 2,670 mm
Kerb weight: 1,570 kg
0 to 100 km/h: 3.4 sec
0 to 200 km/h: 9.3 sec
Top speed: >320 km/h
Start your Nuova Dolce Vita journey and be part of an exclusive event to discover the Ferrari Roma.