Crazy Rich Asians

Rich Singaporean Says “Rich” And “Super Rich” Got BIG Difference

A netter met up with his rich friend who complains about Singaporeans who don’t differentiate “rich” and “super rich”. Does it really matter?

I had a chance to meet one of my friends at his inherited luxury apartment recently, and he mentioned that whilst a lot of Singapore professes to be non-class-conscious unlike say some Western societies, class matters.

In fact, he casually mentioned that it was very difficult for regular Singaporeans to differentiate the upper-middle and the upper class in Singapore, and lump them all together as “rich”.

A good sociological way to differentiate:

The middle class are the “sandwich” class. These white collar workers have more money than those below them on the “social ladder,” but less than those above them. They divide into two levels according to wealth, education, and prestige. The lower middle class is often made up of less educated people with lower incomes, such as managers, small business owners, teachers, and secretaries.

The upper middle class is often made up of highly educated business and professional people with high incomes, such as doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and CEOs.

The upper class comprising only 1 to 3 percent of the population, holds more than 25 percent of the nation’s wealth. This class divides into two groups: lower‐upper and upper‐upper. The lower‐upper class includes those with “new money,” or money made from investments, business ventures, and so forth. The upper‐upper class includes those aristocratic and “high‐society” families with “old money” who have been rich for generations. These extremely wealthy people live off the income from their inherited riches. The upper‐upper class is more prestigious than the lower‐upper class.

Wherever their money comes from, both segments of the upper class are exceptionally rich.

Interestingly, he mentioned various ways to tell the difference between the upper middle and the upper class.

This includes how upper class teenagers lead more carefree lives. They go on more social outings, are less afraid to try drugs or alcohol, and are less pressured about school. Upper middle class has much more structure – earlier curfews, parents who will call the host before you go to a party, etc. A certain amount of academic achievement is expected.

Upper middle class lives in nice suburban houses. The mom may stay at home. You have to do chores because your parents are smart enough to not waste money (or at least not too much) on cleaning or gardening services. Upper class lives in large suburban houses.

Landed property in Singapore

Upper class means your first car will be an 18th birthday present, and it will be nice. Upper middle means your first car will likely be at least 5-10 years old, and you might be paying for it (another character-building exercise). It won’t be nice, but not totally embarrassing either.

Not to say the upper / upper middle class are that different. They are never in want of anything – from decent education, food, travelling, medical care, social activities and sports, entertainment. You will have the finances to pursue various recreational activities.

What I am curious about is .. do you agree that most Singaporeans are unable to differentiate upper middle and upper class? His argument is that between those 2 classes of society, the distinction is very stark (and affects dating, friendships, hobbies etc), but not so much for others outside this circle.

Serious discussion. Keen to hear some sociological perspective.

Source: Reddit u/paintingcopper