Inequality Rocks!

As dear readers are aware, the ongoing not-knowing about whether we’re repatting or wtf we’re doing is causing me some serioso stressoso, and actually it is beginning to interfere with my fabulous lifestyle and my rigorous self-maintenance regime. I’m doing my personal training with Eva and running a ton, but I’ve been too stressed to go to yoga (which means I haven’t seen Seth this week, but you know, whatevs). Today I decided to take Froo Froo dog for a walk along Orchard Road, to clear my brain. Who knows how much longer I’ll be sashaying my way down Orchard?! A grim thought…

The Froofster, so stylish in her diamanté tutu, came upon a hound of rather more mixed descent than herself, and in the unfortunate position of being naked, but for fur. My initial reaction was to try to extricate Froo’s nose from the other dog’s intimate areas, concerned that she might catch some dreadful illness, or an even worser affliction such as to fall in love which is the worst affliction known to man and beast. Froof seemed so enamored with the mongrel that I calmed myself by means of chanting, and allowed the proceedings to unfold as they might, in spite of my better judgement. Using my third eye, I observed the encounter: this meeting of mismatched beings, this “two worlds colliding”, (RIP gorgeous, tragic Mr Hutchence, we still miss you). And a fascinating deep thought came upon me from the unlikely source of the dogs’ derrières, which served to distract me from my own predicament.

The doggies got me reflecting on this mega zeitgeist thing that all the chattering classes are chattering about:

THE SO-CALLED SCOURGE OF INEQUALITY.

Following on from my ground-breaking study on social hierarchy among Singapore expats, I’m starting to think that I should become an economist or something. I surprise myself with how much knowledge I possess on the subject. It’s like it just comes naturally to me! Amazebobs, I know.

So I for one am a mahusiv fan of inequality because without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today: vastly over-edicated, living a glamorous expat life in tropical climes, sharing said glamorous life (as well as my unrivaled expertise) with the masses, and owning a Maserati. It’s also super doops for my children because they have opportunities that other less equal people’s children don’t have, and it’s wonderful for any auxiliary staff whom we employ during our long lifetimes (made longer by proactive, preventative, private healthcare), in that they have employment. So it’s a win-win-win, I think we can all agree.

BUTTT. Butt, but, but apparently some people don’t agree. Crazybobs, I know!! Apparently some people say that it’s not ok because the rich are getting richer and the gap between the top 1% and um, all the others, is growing like never before. My response to them is, “Tell that to Dickens, babeses!”

It was abso no biggie then, and I can’t see why it’s such a biggie now.

Yet a biggie it does seem to nonetheless therefore thusly be! So like I read this v baffling New York Times article about it all and something about how things at the top become more “fractal” and stuff. I think it’s humbug jealorosity from the peeps not at the top that quite a few people now can afford to spend $179.4m on a painting, while a whole bajillion bunch of other people can’t. Can we not just be happy for those nice people who’ve worked so hard to have enough cash to spend on art? Do we even want that painting on our wall?? No, babeses, we do not. We want gigantic TVs on the wall so that we can watch Netflix and reality shows. Picasso Schmicasso.

Howsoever.

I have some non-expat friendses back in the UK who are quite unhappy about the election result (why??! Cameron will repeal the ban on fox hunting, do what-not with the Human Rights thingie, and we’ll all wake up the next day, have a cup of tea and it’ll be ok), and it’s these friendses who insist on telling me that inequality is a very bad thing.

So one friend for example – we’ll call her Miserable Marge – she goes on about the cuts in education, the National Health Service (which I think is like BUPA, but with worse hospital food), the criminal justice system, and the arts and all that. Marge says that very wealthy people can basically pay their way through life, for themselves and for their children; but families who are even marginally well-off, with both parents working, or not at all well-off, they’re struggling to stay afloat.

As an enormously empathic person, I feel for these strugglers, I really do. But my wisdom tells me that if they were meant to have money and power in this world, so it would be. Money and power are of course the most important things, as alluded to in this much-debated piece on Upper East Side housewives. (Actually, I won’t put the link in. Is the writer going to thank me for selling more copies of her book??) Maybe all those folk not in the 1% are so busy pursuing silly things like having a worthwhile, meaningful, principled, ethical existence that they’ve overlooked money and power. No wonder that they have neither!

I know what I’d rather have!!! Veuve Click at the beach club with my Expaterati girlies on an average Sunday avo, and plenty of time to create awesome expat rap. So what if my kids experience repeated “transition and loss issues”, bla bla bla?? They can have therapy when they’re older. And they’ll be able to afford it because they’ll speak six languages and run hedge funds. So I have v little time for this (frankly Communist) attitude from Miserable Marge and her cohorts.

Continuing my series of Master-Selfies, this is me paying homage to that Picasso painting. Imagine how much this version would’ve fetched! Hashtag priceless : )

Continuing my series of Master-Selfies, this is me paying homage to that Picasso painting. Imagine how much this version would’ve fetched! Hashtag priceless : )

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What Are Riches? #baffed twice in one week

Image credit: http://michellejoni.com/vajazzling/

Image credit: http://michellejoni.com/vajazzling/

When I was in bed on Sunday, recovering from my fabulous social exertions, I read an article in the NYT about v wealthy wives in NYC who don’t have jobs and are basically, the author writes, “a lot like mistresses – dependent and comparatively disempowered”. I found it pretty interesting because I too am a glamorous SAHM and, like these women, I have had a ton of education, I don’t have a paid job anymore, I am extremely well-maintained, and I have kids and help. Don isn’t a billionaire, though, so maybe we’re not totes similar. But I do get annual bonuses, and why tf not?? Equation as follows:

Don gets bonuses
> we’re married
> half of what he earns is mine
> he gets a bonus
> I get half of it.

Problem = ????

#baffed

As dear readers will know, I wanted to be an expat wife like my mother before me, her mother before her, her mother before her, and her mother before her who I’m not sure about, but did v little with her life. But that doesn’t mean that I have not made sacrifices for the good of our family. Yes, I gave up my career. I am schooled in English law, not Singaporean law. And Don’s job just happens to be in a field that is more lucrative than mine (oopsy, my bad as those nice Americans say), particularly given the opportunities for German motorway-like overtakings offered by a spell in Asia. We can’t all be experts in money laundering. So that’s totes been a sacrifice on my part.

As dear readers will also know, I have considered taking a job (though that would mean giving up my position on the board of the Singapore International Women and Trailing Spouses Association, which does wonderful charitable work throughout the region), and have simply not had the time to follow through. One of the reasons I was thinking about getting a job is that a whole bunch of other Expaterati women seem to have them all of a sudden. Sometimes it feels as if we’re dropping like flies, we brunchers, lunchers, and ladies’ nights goers. If I had a job, I would at least have an excuse not to spend most waking hours of every day of every week of every year with the irritants, like Don has. The excuse would be that if I had a job I’d have money and power, and those are the most important things, right? Obviously, because that’s what the author of the article said, and hers was an anthropologicalised study and therefore thusly truesome.

I was running all of these ideas through my mahusiv, thoughtful brain today during my vajazzling session. Michelle, the owner of the Vajaz salon, came over to say hello, and we got chatting. (We’re sort of friends, and abso nothing happened with me and her hus, as you know.) I told her about my whirlwind weekend of awesomeness, and about how we might be repatting. While I was saying how deva’d I feel about leaving Singers she made this little choking sound and told the vajazzler lady to go and check the schedule for the next customer. “I’ll take it from here”, she said.

She got in between my legs, and silently resumed the careful, decorative placing of Swarovski crystals. I felt droplets of liquid falling onto my fanny area (British fanny area; I don’t presently have the American fanny area done as I am concerned about sit-down-age), so I looked up (thankfully my honed stomach muscles are such that I can raise my head quite high) and saw that poor Michelle was crying into my said fanny area.

“Babes!!”, I exclaimed, being the spectacularly empathic person that I am, “What’s the matter?? It’s ok, I’ve done a six-month counseling course, so I’m completely non-judgmental. Feel free to talk to me. I’m listening.”

“We’re relocating!”, she said with a sob, “And that should be fine because I should be used to this after so many years of being expats, and Will has been offered a really great role, but this time… This time I finally felt happy that the kids were settled, and I could go back to work. So I opened this place, and I’ve worked my ass off to make it what it is today. Of course, I’m not earning anywhere near what Will is, so sure, it makes sense to go to the next job where he’ll earn even more. But everything that I’ve invested – not the money – I mean the time… the relationships… The relationships with my staff and my customers… All of that… Gone. Zero. And it’s not like Will even loves his job! He’s just grateful for the next step up, like I’m supposed to be grateful about him earning more money.”

“But, babes”, I said, super-sympathetically, “Him earning more money equals you earning more money! It’s a win-win!!”

“It isn’t, EJ, it really isn’t. Because I go back to square one, though at least with the experience I’ve gained this time, so I am grateful for that. But he continues on his trajectory. And if he decides one day, like we see so often over here, that marriage isn’t much more than a social construct, how stupid was I to prioritise his career over mine? Or how stupid was I to accept that him earning more was better for our family because more money meant more opportunities for our children?”

“I don’t know”, she continued, as my stomach muscles began to tire, “If he was a great artist who passionately loved his work and made the world a better place, maybe that would be worth the sacrifices. But he’s just a slightly rich person making other very rich people even richer. And those people don’t give a crap about us or anyone. So in the grand scheme of things, really, where is the meaning in all of this? I’ve found meaning in my day-to-day work with satisfied staff who have perfected their craft, and clients who leave here feeling better than when they walked in. Ok, so it’s not rocket science, and it’s not deep, but this is a place where people can get together – yes for the purpose of intimate adornment – but also to talk, and share, and relax. And that’s important. Forget power and money, what we do here is about relationships. And that’s worth something! That’s meaningful!!”

#baffed again, but because she seemed so upset I just nodded, and let her continue talking.

“And now…,” she went on, “Now I have to close this down, say goodbye to it and move on again. To the next place. Do all of that settling in stuff again. And once we’re in the next place, what then? I start again, set up another salon, and yes, I will do that. But all the time I’ll know that sooner or later, it’ll be over again. More goodbyes, more endings. It’s just tiring, you know?”

“Babes”, I said, “I do know. And it’s been so lovely that you’ve shared your thoughts with me. I totes appreciate that. But I have to run now because I have a late lunch, and then I have yoga. So why don’t we just go out for a drink some time, with the girlies. A few glasses of Veuve Click can do wonders with goodbyes and endings… Oh wait, argh, so sorry I totes forgot that you’re a recovering alco. Doh. Hashtag awkz!! How’s that going by the way? Actually, I’d better go before I’m late!”

I pulled on my clothes and ran off to pay. Busy busy busy!!