Why crazy rich asians are responsible for the hardening of the social stratification in Singapore

October 23, 2018

The problem with Singapore is that MOST of the people who come to wealth are not really comfortable with the idea of money.

If they are truly comfortable with the idea of money. Then there would be no need to show off. Neither would there be any need to display wealth ostentatiously in your face which can only be considered bad taste and vulgar. Neither would there ever be a case where just by the mere act of breathing and going about their business, the rich has the unusual power to inflict pain on so many who may not be as lucky as them.

People who are really rich and truly wealthy do not need to tell everyone they are rich….they are very quiet and low profile and that is because they are very comfortable with the idea of money.

So the question is what does this problem have to do with government? Can governments wave a magic wand and make all the rich people in Singapore comfortable with the idea of money?

No!

So as you can see this is a delimma that involves every stakeholder of society itself….it has nothing whatsoever to do with government….it may possibly involve philosophy, ethics and the art of how to live well, but I really do not see where government can come in…..now if society frowns on those who display their wealth openly without restraint. Then very few rich people would actually have the incentive to show off. The problem is society actively encourages rich people to show off. Infact society glorifies the culture of mass consumption and even condones the vulgar display of wealth…..so this is a problem born and raised from the creche of society itself…..only society can prescribe a solution to this problem.

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‘Society will always gravitate towards whatever KPI (key performance indicator) it sets as the benchmark of personal and organizational success. In China once upon a time. It was very fashionable to waste food. Infact after a meal, if there was not mountains of food left over. It was considered bad form. You were considered a stingy host. But in the last five years after a vigorous campaign to penalize dinners who waste food and reward those who do the opposite….the vast majority of Chinese have successfully adjusted to this new ethical way of dinning…so it is not true to say social habits are set in stone. They can change.

But do not let mere appearances fool you. In case study of China’s anti waste food program it was not just the simple application of penalties and rewards that managed to shift public perception and modulate public behavior. More importantly there was a philosophic dimension, namely the promotion of the logic – frugality and moderation is the ideal and waste of any form is considered a sin. And this philosophy extends thru out society in various other metaphors, so corruption in the public servicen China is synonomous with waste and even considered a punishable sin.

My point is for real social change to occur within a social strata, it must be rooted at a philosophical level – that is simply another way of saying rich people must be mindful that they dont even have to be malevolent to inflict untold suffering on those who are not as fortunate as them….they can even inflict suffering on others by the mere act of breathing and going about their everyday business. This is why in Malaysia Rosmah Mansors ‘let them eat cake’ lifestyle was one of the leading causes of public resentment and culminated in the historical defeat of BN.

I am not saying if one is rich, one doesnt have the right to spend ones hard earned money. No! I am not promoting Marxism, not at all….I am simply saying one would do well to incorporate thoughtfulness into one’s personal philosophy.’

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