5 C's of Singapore
The "5 Cs of Singapore", namely: Cash, Car, Credit card, Condominium and Country club membership, is a term relating to materialism. It arose as a popular joke based on certain truths attesting to the unstated Singaporean cultural ethos of materialistic obsession and aspiration to achieve these things in order to impress others, both socially, economically and sociologically.
Cash is self-explanatory, and refers more to a person's spending power than the actual amount of physical money in one's pocket. Financial security and affluence is a highly desirable status symbol and for many years was the measure of a person's worth and success achieved in life, more so than other achievements (e.g. great sportsmen were not accorded the same status as great businessmen, unless they happened to be rich, of course).
Approximately 1 in 10 Singapore residents have cars. From a lowly BYD to a BMW, Porsche and even a Rolls Royce, you can find almost any make of car on the roads (provided there is a left-hand drive model). Despite high taxation on the import and ownership of motor vehicles (191% on new vehicles, an annual road tax based on engine size, and high pump prices) and a vehicle quota system known as the Certificate of Entitlement, or perhaps because of it, cars are very desirable and viewed as a status symbol despite Singapore's developed public transport infrastructure.
Cards are a visible symbol of one's financial success. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the arm of the government that regulates the finance industry, has stipulated a maximum credit limit of up to 2 months' income if the person's annual income is less than S$30,000 and a maximum credit limit of up to 4 months' income if the person's annual income is greater than S$30,000. Banks typically issue different types of cards depending on the available credit limit associating greater cachet with cards that command a higher credit limit. This automatically creates an easily identifiable sign of affluence, together with owning a car.
This refers not to the duplex/quadruplex housing developments in countries with large tracts of land, but to privately developed luxury (at least compared to government flats) apartments. Due to the limited land in Singapore, freestanding houses are very rare and generally available only to those of high social and economic standing. As such, the condominium is the most luxurious housing for "normal" people. This has generated a trend however, since government-subsidised flats are only available to citizens and permanent residents[dubious ], that a large minority of owners of condominiums are non-permanent residents.
As land is severely limited, amenities such as golf courses and country clubs are very expensive in Singapore. Therefore it is a testament to the monetary prowess of the holders of the membership cards to such establishments.