Monday, October 01, 2007

Social class in Singapore?

So today is my Industrialization and class tutorial for Singapore Society module. Well, some point that i actually realized today, that is I do believe that I am not really ignorant of the lower classes, but rather I am more ignorant of the so call upper class.

To me, the so call upper class are normally the businessmen, who are really rich such that the high salary of our ministers are not exactly comparable. To me, living in landed property are probably just considered above average, so maybe it is really considered as the upper middle class or whatever you can call it. Lawyers surgeons, yes they may draw high salaries etc, but seriously can they really live a high life? Maybe some people may think that going to eat in posh restaurants or driving around in cars like BMW or Mercedes sounds rich, but the fact is the really rich drive around in cars that are much more expensive. In terms of clothes they wear is rather vague though, because our so call branded range of clothing does not differs much in term of price. Yes to the normal us brand like Prada or Gucci maybe expensive, but what is a few thousands dollar to people whose net worth is in millions? Though I think that the items that you can be wearing which can be really expensive will be either watch or jewellery. However, when we talk about higher price tag items such as housing, maybe this will be totally different. So where do we draw the line of the upper class? I guess upper class is a more general terms suited to the larger population of the relatively well-off. For the exclusive fews who are filthy rich and spend like millions in the timespan of months, maybe we cannot consider them as upper class but rather a league of their own.

So what about the middle class and lower class? It was brought up that the different class in Singapore hardly interact with each other, which I think it is true. Even if there are interaction between people of different classes, the differences are not that big, such that they do not differ greatly in terms of financial abilities. While it may seems like our social structure is reproducing the class system, I tend to wonder whether those who are rich are truly rich generations before them, or those who are poor are always poor generations before them? While it may be true that the rich will definitely try to retain their position, but will the middle class or lower class be unable to move up forever? I do suspect that many of the rich people today started from scratch. In fact many rich people in China definitely work their way to the top, and they are in the 30s or 40s now because they work hard and probably got lucky. The fact is no one will help you to move to the top unless they have vested interests. Such is the way of the parents to always make sure their children get the best and able to live a better life, and continue to give a good life to the next generation.

So in conclusion, despite the flaws there maybe in whatever system we have, but there can never be system that will help anyone to reach the top for nothing. You need to give something in order to get something else in return. Rich people give money and power in return for their continuous position, so those middle or lower class, if are unable to provide the financial and political power, is it not their job to work harder in order to get something out of the system? Of course it is true that some people get their goals easier, but it is because their effort is contributed by their parents. These days I somehow think that it is always the mentality of the minority groups to always feel themselves being short-changed (myself included), but at the end of the day, the system is nothing but business, and everything is the survival of the fittest, in which no one owns anyone a living. Despite saying so, I still feel that the government should do something about those who have contributed to the society, instead of trying to ask them working longer.

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