How to be a Crazy Rich Asian in Singapore

How to be a Crazy Rich Asian in Singapore

"I make money move"

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Warner Brothers

I've lived the low SES life for as long as I know. With the release of the Crazy Rich Asians movie in August, I devise a 10-step plan to upgrade to a lifestyle enjoyed by that 0.05% of Singapore

1. Study in an independent school
When daddy's wallet is this thicc, who cares about meritocracy? You know you're a crazy rich Asian when your parents move to a neighbourhood in Singapore where all the top independent schools are — Orchard and Bukit Timah, mainly — just so you'd get a better shot. Of course, daddy can also buy a wing so that your surname will be plastered on an old plaque to validate your existence.

2. Make sure your grandfather owns a business
Kevin Kwan, the Singapore-born author of Crazy Rich Asians himself is the great-grandson of a founding director of Singapore's oldest bank, OCBC. Think you've worked your way up and made a man (or woman) out of yourself? If your last name isn't linked to old money, you're part of the nouveau riche, a term said with so much disdain from Singapore's top 0.05%. Think: You're the Sheng Shiong to their Marketplace. You've got similar goods, but they have the expat clientele.

Janice Koh, Amy Cheng, Michelle Yeoh and Selena Tan
3. Have Chinese privilege, or an ounce of denial about it
How to do you distinguish the rich from the crazy rich? The earlier checks their privilege, the latter denies it. Majulah, Singapura.

4. Wage a war against people who use plastic straws
Talk about rich people problems (which incidentally, is the title of Kwan's third and final novel in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy). You know what's an actual problem? Not having enough food on the table. Ain't nobody got time to save the environment when you're working two jobs just to feed a family of five. 

5. Pursue a music career without any financial worries
Follow your dreams, they said. I'll gladly do a double EP release on the ennui that has consumed my life if I didn't have to beg the National Arts Council and Media Development Authority for funding, thank you very much.

6. Have serious daddy issues
Or mummy issues. Either way, your family's so rich, it's filthy enough to contribute to a therapist's cash cow. In Crazy Rich Asians, Nick's cold mother, Eleanor (played by Michelle Yeoh), uses their visit to Singapore as an opportunity to tear them apart. 

Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding and Constance Wu
7. Speak about being a global citizen and possibly, with an accent
"Oh, I'm not very good at speaking Mandarin." Yes, we've heard it all before. Before you complain that nobody in Crazy Rich Asians speaks like your everyday Singaporean, spend a day in a private members' club and listen for yourself. Altogether now: 1, 2, 3, enunciate!

8. Sign up for a membership at a private members' club
The options are endless: Pyramid Club, Straits Clan, 1880, Goh Loo Club, Madison Rooms and the new Soho House Singapore. Enjoy your riches with other rich people. Air-kissing compulsory. As*-kissing too, if you're into that brand of kinky.

9. Be clueless about how Singapore's public transport system works
What's an EZ-link card?

Crazy Rich Asians

10. Take a year off to find yourself
You totally deserve that spiritual journey of self-care because of all the hard work you did, bouncing from job to job in search of your one true passion (that's not philanthropy).

Crazy Rich Asians opens on 22 August in Singapore.