Spotted at Wong Shek Pier up on the Sai Kung Peninsula a while back... a sight that made me and my friend who saw it simultaneously think "how philosophical" and "I guess the Bimmer's owner's message might also be along the lines of "how great it is to be rich"!" (And additionally on my part -- here's something I can use for that Photo Hunt license plate theme!) At the same time, because the car bearing this license plate was parked near a public pier located in close proximity to places where people go hiking or do water sports, we also decided that the overall message could be "To be financially well off doesn't mean not being able to enjoy free fresh air, the outdoors and sporty pursuits"! :D
Of course, the more you think of the particular words on that license plate, the more associations you make with it. Among the others that have entered my mind: Hamlet's "to be or not to be" soliloquy (which I had to study at school in England, and also was fortunate to hear being uttered on stage at Stratford Upon Avon); and Cat Stevens' lovely If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out (which I was introduced to one hot summer's day in Colorado where I was at archaeological field school) with its "if you want to be free, be free, 'cause there's a million things to be, you know that there are" lines. :)
On a more sobering note, the events of the past week and a bit more in Japan also have got me thinking that "to be" also denotes survival. Not quite "to live" (somehow, "to be" seems more passive, doesn't it?) but still at least "to exist". And as the recent major disasters that have befallen the country many people (including myself) would have picked to have been the most capable of handling earthquakes and tsunamis (and even nuclear power plant crises) also have shown, to be -- as in continue to exist and survive -- sometimes really can be a major achievement in itself. And the first step on the road to renewal and recovery. Gambate, Nippon!