SINGAPORE (Aug 27): As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong began delivering his annual National Day Rally (NDR) speech on the evening of Aug 19, the movie Crazy Rich Asians was well on its way to making box office history in the US. While PM Lee’s speech laid out a host of welfare initiatives for ordinary Singaporeans, the highly anticipated movie celebrated the supposedly glitzy, luxe life of the city state’s ultra-rich elite.

Crazy Rich Asians is based on a book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, who grew up in Singapore. It offers a caricatured glimpse into the world of the outrageously wealthy living large, throwing lavish parties and jet-setting to exotic holiday locations. Set in Singapore and Malaysia, the book includes scenes such as an aquarobics class in the infinity pool atop Marina Bay Sands.

As a safe and modern city in one of the fast-growing regions in the world, Singapore really is home to more than a few billionaires and their families. It also counts among its residents some 1,400 so-called ultra-high-net-worth individuals, defined as people with net assets worth more than US$50 million ($68.6 million). This number is expected to hit 1,550 in four years. And, there are literally tens of thousands of millionaires here. By some estimates, one in 30 Singaporeans will be a millionaire by 2020. 

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