Five Cs of Singapore
"Five Cs of Singapore" – namely, [C]ash, [C]ar, [C]redit card, [C]ondominium and [C]ountry club membership – is a phrase used in Singapore to refer to materialism. It was coined as a popular observational joke about the aspirations of some Singaporeans to obtain material possessions in an effort to impress others.
Cash refers to spending power rather than physical currency. Financial security and affluence is a status symbol and for many years was the measure of personal worth and success.
Approximately 1 in 10 residents of Singapore own a car. Given 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 quota system requiring owners to acquire a hard-to-get Certificate of Entitlement, car ownership is a symbol of wealth and power.
Cards are a visible symbol of success. Singapore's financial regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has stipulated a maximum personal credit limit of two months' income given personal income less than S$ 30,000, or four months' income for all others. Banks typically issue different types of cards depending on the available credit limit, associating greater cachet with cards that offer a higher limit.
In Singapore privately developed apartments that are luxurious in comparison with those subsidised by the government convey status to the owner. Land is at a premium, meaning that freestanding houses are rare and signify even greater affluence.