Adele*, 34, is wealthy beyond most people’s dreams, but she wasn’t born into a rich family; instead, she befriended some of Asia’s most privileged families and moved her way up into their world, eventually marrying into one. She shares her story with Melissa Wong.
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“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hooked on the idea of being part of the ultra-wealthy class. After I got into a prestigious junior college, I found myself surrounded by students from some of Asia’s richest, most successful and most powerful families.
For two years I got a first-hand look into their lives, from the way they spent their time to the places they frequented and the people they socialised with, and I must admit, I was obsessed with the idea of being a part of that world.
Moving up the social ladder
One of my close friends in junior college was a girl called Brenda*.
Her father was a property developer and her mother, a well-known socialite. Her family accepted me as one of their own so I was constantly hanging out with Brenda and her cousins at country clubs and upscale restaurants.I didn’t have a lot of money to spend at the time because I was still in school so Brenda’s older, rich cousins usually picked up the tab.
As the years passed, Brenda and I remained close and I became good friends with other guys and girls in her social circle. Of course, most of them were super-wealthy, too. Through them, I got to fly in private jets, ride in luxury sports cars, holiday in six-star resorts, and attend glamorous parties in some of Singapore’s biggest mansions.
By then, I’d already started working for a luxury fashion house so the scene wasn’t unfamiliar to me. In fact, most of the people I socialised with were also my clients. To this day, I still can’t believe how incredibly rich some of these folks are. I know people who have bowling alleys and mini movie theatres in their homes, man-made waterfalls in their backyards, whole teams of housekeepers, butlers, personal guards and chauffeurs, and millions of dollars worth of jewellery and sports cars. You really have to experience it to believe it.
I seemed to have no trouble fitting into this world. Sure, I hadn’t studied at an Ivy League University, didn’t drive an expensive sports car or live in a mansion, and wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but most of the time, I felt accepted.