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Uniquely Singapore: Home to First World Crazy Rich Asians and Millionaire Ministers, and Third World cardboard collectors and medical bill defaulters

The upcoming movie Crazy Rich Asians is set to thrust Singapore into the global arena.  Set in the Lion City, it involves almost 300 Singaporean and permanent resident cast members and production crew.

By a twist of irony, it takes a movie of such a title to push Singapore and Singaporeans into the spotlight.

In keeping with the crazy rich theme, a former Prime Minister has said that even Millionaire Ministers “are not paid enough!”

The common thread is money, money, money in sunny Singapore.

The perception – and the public relations messaging – is that Singapore is the land of milk and honey.  Utterly irresistible and alluring for people who either want to burn their money here or try and make a quick buck here. And Singapore, the money mecca, welcomes everyone with open arms.

But ordinary Singaporeans – not the crazy rich ones – find that life is not a bed of roses, with things getting more expensive by the day.

Elderly suicide reached its highest level last year while many of the elderly who are around find themselves having to clean tables and collect cardboards just to have enough sustenance to stay alive.

There are those (like taxi driver and the average Joe who has to take on two jobs to make ends meet) who die suddenly from what looks suspiciously like overwork.

There is no official poverty line, so we will never know the exact number of  people who live in poverty but safe to say, poverty is alive and well in the proverbial land of plenty.

Our politicians say they are concerned about the widening gap between rich and poor. But they themselves sit right on top of the divide.

And the divide and disparity is only exacerbated when we have Millionaire Ministers finding money no enough, and Crazy Rich Asians showcasing the money-mad side of Singapore.

It seems the rich are only worried their riches will not continue to swell. As for the poor, they are worried they will become too poor to afford medical bills and keep up with rising cost of living.

Let us never forget that there are two faces to sunny Singapore.

One is the face flushed with money, the other is hard up for pennies. One is the public relations face of plenty, the other is the authentic face of inadequacy and day-to-day struggles.