How does the crazy rich in Singapore live?

The movie features scenes of glamourous shopping abroad and opulent parties, but is this really how the rich in Singapore live? Read on to find out

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Photo: Kane Lim and Jamie Chua/Instagram 

He was at first reluctant to watch Crazy Rich Asians because he found the term "crazy rich" too negative. That was not how he viewed himself.

It was only after several people asked Mr Kane Lim about the Hollywood film that the Los Angeles-based Singaporean decided to give in - and he was pleasantly surprised at how much he enjoyed it.

The movie, now in its second week, has earned US$60 million (S$82m) globally, and has kept its No. 1 spot on the US box-office list, a feat seldom achieved by a romantic comedy.

The 27-year-old entrepreneur told The New Paper: "It was tasteful, and the fashion and jewellery were well done."


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The jet-setting shopping sprees, for instance, are not far from the truth.

Mr Lim will be off to Las Vegas next month to do just that.

The self-professed shopaholic said: "The private jets and personal shopping are accurate, as sometimes people do not want to be seen in public."

The Crazy Rich Asians character he identifies with the most is Astrid Leong (Gemma Chan), the sophisticated fashionista cousin of wealthy protaganist Nicholas Young (Henry Golding), who walks into a jewellery store and buys a pair of million-dollar earrings without a moment's hesitation.

"I would so do that," Mr Lim said. "I have walked into a designer shoe store and said, 'I'll take one pair of everything you have in every colour, I'll take it all'."

But Astrid - who has a cool exterior but warm heart - resonates with him in other ways.

Mr Lim said: "People always think I'm cold or unfriendly but actually when you talk to me, I'm always cheerful and kind."

Featured in TNP in 2014 as one of Singapore's "Rich Kids of Instagram", he has made headlines with numerous snaps of his Chanel bags, his shoe collection worth at least half-a-million dollars and his customised Ferrari on his Instagram account, which now has 103,000 followers.

But he does not just rely on family wealth (he says they run a billion-dollar business though he declines to reveal details or identities), having reportedly made his first million by the age of 20.

He knows he has his privileged background to thank for his success and lifestyle, and he identifies with Nicholas.


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He said: "I'm trying to establish myself here in LA, but of course there is pressure from the family to go home and run the business."

A Singaporean socialite in her 50s, who declined to be named, agreed that many of Crazy Rich Asians' opulent scenes are not a departure from reality.

She told TNP: "When we have parties, it is not uncommon for butlers or international staff to be flown in for the occasion."

"Neither is it uncommon for private jets to be hired, along with supermodels, (or to have) caviar."

But she said Chinese-Singaporean old-money families tend to prefer to be subtle, opting to take out their private yachts to secluded islands and keep their wealth under the radar.

While Mr Lim said some of the weddings and shindigs he's heard of or seen "can be far bigger and more elaborate than anything in the movie", some parts of the movie were also over-the-top, like Nicholas' grandmother's sprawling mansion at the fictional Tyersall Park.

He said such houses are unrealistically large, and there are only three or four such places in Singapore.