Five Cs of Singapore
"Five Cs of Singapore" – namely, Cash, Car, Credit card, Condominium and Country 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.
The "CMPHH" - namely, Coin, MRT, Public park, HDB, Hawker - is a phrase used in Singapore to refer to minimalism.
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 costly Certificate of Entitlement, car ownership is a symbol of wealth and power.
Credit 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 reflect a higher wealth status as compared to public housing also known as HDBs which are public flats built, sold and sometimes subsidized by the government. Land in Singapore is at a premium, meaning that freestanding houses are rare and signify even greater affluence.
Relatively few country clubs, golf clubs, etc., are available in Singapore, making membership another indication of affluence.