The Wealth of a Nation

Wealth

So...apparently according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal (link), we are now the Monaco of the east...The wealthy flock to Singapore to park their money and live it up. We are told by the government that the rich coming here is a good thing because they create good jobs for Singaporeans.

My thoughts: What a load of rich malarkey. Let's face it, the rich are here to evade paying taxes in their home countries and to enjoy being worshipped by our money worshipping culture.

The rich practically live in a different country lapping it up in a lifestyle that most of us only dream of and never see because we do not have an active paparazzi chasing these "celebrities" around the streets.

Like it or not, we have arrived in the age of class warfare. The great class divide has yawned into a gaping abyss that most of us are still blissfully unaware. How else could you explain the phenomena that Singapore is now home to the world's most expensive night club. Think about it for a second.

We are now a city where the rich and beautiful can go and live in decadent debauchery while at the same time across the street we have foreign workers and seniors who work for and live on for practically less than $10 a day. Being the home to what is billed as the world's most expensive night club is not something we should be proud of. Being seen as the home of people who pick wild kang kong because they do not make enough to afford a meal is something we should be ashamed of.

This is not the Singapore I grew up in. The Singapore I grew up in did not have people sleeping on the road as seen in this piece's accompanying photograph. The Singapore I grew up was not the playground of the rich. The Singapore I grew up in was the playground of the middle class with its dragon themed HDB playgrounds with sand that kids frolicked in. The Singapore I grew up in had neighbours who took the time to smile and help each other out. The Singapore I grew up in did not have homeless people sleeping on the streets. Nor did it have hungry people going through garbage to scavenge enough for a meal.

How did Singapore get to the point that where the contrasts between the classes got so obvious? When did the Singaporean dream turn into one where we all worship the almighty dollar like some fraudulent televangelist?

Do we envy the rich who have come to settle down in our tiny little dot, hailing it as some kind of utopia that we are unable to appreciate? I once asked a model friend of mine, the very kind of person who goes partying at what is billed as the world's most expansive club, Pangaea; if she has actually been outside of the Singaporean glamour belt (also known as the CBD and Orchard districts) and seen the heartlands. Her answer was no. Why would I since everything I could want for is in the business district?

It has to be said: Yes it is the job of the media to play up the rich lifestyle that is up for grabs in Singapore. It builds our international prestige and makes us attractive as a tourist destination as a overpriced holiday getaway. But contrary to what the media says, the rich are not invisible in Singapore. We see them every time we hear the roar of a Ferrari down the road. We see them pop up now and then on the news trumped up as some kind of saviors here to rescue us from our mundane existence. I wouldn't call these Nuevo riche aspirational figures. Far from it. And here's why:

I have just 1 question for these faceless billionaires who lurk among us...you say that you have made this your home and love this country like any of us? What have you done for this country aside from making some night club owner happy by splurging at their establishment? For all your wealth. For all your influence and trophy girlfriends. Have you ever taken the time to help make this society a better place through outreach or community work? I'm not asking them to fight crime like the proverbial batman. What I am asking for is something far more simple: does your life have meaning? Because partying your days away while throwing money at the wind in a blatantly obvious attempt to buy respect truly shows you really aren't living life. You're just in an eminence front...showing everyone but yourself just how rotten society has become.

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