Related News

Home » Feature

Grossly rich boys and girls flaunt wealth

CHINA'S fabulously rich and spoiled second generation have fueled a lot of controversy and resentment with their flashy lifestyle and disdain for others. Yao Min-G hangs out with some rich babies during a few nights on the town.

The Sports Car Club in Beijing, or SCC, has drawn a lot of attention lately after GQ China magazine quietly withdrew the July issue because it contained an unflattering article titled "Chinese Kids Who Drive Super Sports Cars." The subject was the Fu Er Dai, or rich second generation.

The magazine has not responded to questions about the issue that suddenly disappeared, then reappeared with an article about the middle class. But Netizens posted the original article, magazine layout and photo of an SCC member posing next to a white sports car.

The buzz is that one SCC member interviewed got upset when he read the article and threatened to sue, claiming the GQ reporter did not make it clear he was tape recording their discussions or ask permission.

These rich babies are not just in the capital. Shanghai has its share.

Many of these young people, both men and women, are notorious as grossly rich, spoiled brats who flaunt their wealth and openly regard with contempt those who work and have less affluence.

Cars, fashion and family wealth are riveting topics. Barbs fly when a young lady hanger-on wearing the wrong perfume is publicly humiliated by a superior "elite" lady who just returned from shopping in Paris.

These young people and their actions are often deeply resented in a society where the wealth gap is widening and riches are held by a relative few.

Shanghai Daily recently interviewed a few young men and women between 19 and 32 years old, all of whom refused to use their real names.

"I was told by my dad not to (give my name), in case I get kidnapped," according to 22-year-old Jerry (not his real name).

"I would prefer you not reveal any information that could allow people to track me down, otherwise, I will go after you," he said, half joking to this reporter at Richy Baby club, one of his latest favorite nightspots.

Others include Richy Bar in Fuxing Park, where two BMWs are always parked outside, Fame Karaoke Center at Xintiandi, costing 1,000 yuan (US$147) per hour, and the Muse club, among many more expensive places.

The cost for one night can range from 20,000 to 100,000 yuan for a small group, depending on how much they drink and how happy they are. Jerry once gave a waitress 3,000 yuan in tips, saying, "I was very satisfied with her efficiency, giving me face in front of my friends."

Their reputation is less than golden, as they look down even on gold-collar workers.

Sociologists and psychologists see deep-seated insecurity behind their rush to buy Lamborghinis and other trappings of the elite.

Famous psychologist Cai Jinlin has said that the reason they show off and discriminate against others is to achieve a sense of satisfaction and confidence.

"It shows a desire to gain respect. Those kids usually have no achievements in real life and lack appreciation from others, including their families, which make them crave respect," he said in an earlier interview.

Showing off wealth through cars, designer clothes, jewelry, wristwatches and other baubles is their way of covering up internal fears, distracting themselves so they don't have to confront their real problems. Through exhibitions of wealth they try to gain confidence and keep anxiety at bay.

Cai sums up the typical comments from experts.

Shanghai Daily followed some of these rich babies in Shanghai to get a close look at their lavish lifestyles and attitudes.

Money buys everything

"My dad told me when I was 6 that there's nothing in this world you can't buy," says Jerry, who has been hosting parties at clubs almost every night for the past two weeks.

"I want to enjoy my last happy summer in Shanghai before leaving for the United Kingdom for school, the horrible weather and horrible food."

His father, originally an exporter from Zhejiang Province and now a real estate developer in Shanghai, has bought Jerry's admission to a top-tier university in the UK, just as his friends did for their own children at all kinds of universities around the world.

"There's nothing money can not buy, it just depends on how much money you have," says Jerry, whose father didn't graduate from middle school but bought his own MBA degree.

"That's what the poor people don't understand and pretend they don't believe. All those people who tell me that I can't buy everything are just jealous of how rich I am," he says.

Jerry considers his forthcoming MBA a great way to distinguish himself among some of his other rich friends, who don't even bother to buy a degree. The certificate also gives his parents with pride and face so they can show off to their friends.

To reward Jerry for his upcoming one-year effort in the UK, his parents have agreed to let him party every day before departure. They have increased the line on credit cards "so I will have a good life in the UK."

Jerry has gotten used to all kinds of comforts since his father gave him a credit card with a 5-million-yuan (US$737,760) line of credit on his 18th birthday. Now he is a master at lavishing expensive gifts on others.

"I buy things for my relatives and friends when I want to show my kindness, gratitude or appreciation. I think that's the best way to do it, because usually they are happy," says Jerry.

Jerry's friend, Matt, is one of those who don't care about a degree at all. He just graduated from one of the best universities in Shanghai, which enrolled him after a phone call from his father. Matt hardly attended a class.

Most of his professors and classmates know him only as a name on a class roster, not a face.

He has started working at an investment company, also arranged by a phone call from his father. He has no plans for travel or for further education abroad.

"Hey, the reason people want a degree is to find a good job and make money. I already have those things, so why bother? Degrees are for those who don't have anything else," he says.

Bored and empty

Trendy Florence, aka The Princess, was interviewed right after she came back from a shopping trip in Paris, the latest episode in "my boring life."

She has all the latest collections from her favorites - Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Cartier. She also tried on wedding gowns in Paris.

Florence is marrying a young lawyer early next year and she is trying to design her own gown and have it made by one of her favorite fashion houses.

Wedding preparations are her sole, and most exciting concern. Everything else is a drag.

"Finally, there's something exciting to do. I've been so bored waiting for my parents and his parents to decide on the wedding date," she says.

As she waited, she passed the time insulting young women who hang around her rich male friends on clubbing nights.

"Those young girls are so disgusting. They try to make themselves look expensive by wearing designer brand clothes that my rich friends bought for them, but they end up looking like hookers," Florence said during a birthday party at Fame Karaoke Center in Xintiandi.

Then she went straight to a young woman wearing a Burberry dress and pointed almost directly into her face.

"Can't you understand that Burberry is for someone with more grace? How dare you put on such strong and smelly perfume with this dress," she said disdainfully.

The poor girl, target of Florence's loathing, tried to hide behind the rich guy she came with. Florence rolled her eyes at the guy who brought the silly girl and flung herself into a leather sofa.

In a moment of candor she said aloud, to no one in particular: "I'm so bored with going out, but I feel even emptier if I stay home. What should I do?"

No one answered. Everyone was doing their own thing - drinking, playing cards, flirting or singing. They're all used to her ranting.

The silence lasted almost a minute, and then a handsome waiter soon refilled her champagne glass.

"How dare we bore such a beautiful lady?" he said.

Florence immediately cheered up and the room buzzed again.

I'm not a brat

"I'm not the usual rich second generation that you imagine. I work hard even though my salary is barely enough to cover my spending for one night," says Matt.

He feels superior to almost all his friends because "I have a job, unlike those little brats who just keep partying all the time."

Before the interview, he insisted, "Don't take me for the stereotypical rich second generation."

Matt and his parents are proud of his talent in the stock market. He made his first deal four years ago, when he was only 18, with 500,000 yuan of pocket money from his mother. He earned 20 percent in four months when the market was rocketing. Those were the days when you could win by picking any stock.

Matt has to get to the office by 8am for a conference call almost every morning, which "makes me feel I'm needed and important."

Yet, the 22-year-old says he's concerned about his life path.

"Everything comes so easy for me because I'm rich and smart. I want to set my goal to use up all the money. But it's impossible, so I'm quite bored," he says.

Matt wasn't always like this.

Among all his rich friends, Matt has always been considered the smartest who worked hard in school. He was once ambitious and aimed for a top university in Beijing.

His father said no.

"My dad forbade me from applying to that university in Beijing because he doesn't have connections there. He didn't believe that I could get in with my own efforts," recalls Matt. "I listened to him. And I got in this top university in Shanghai really easily. That's when I suddenly lost all motivations and objectives in my life."

During the day, Matt looks like any other elite in the finance field, in his custom-made shirts and designer suits. He even drives a "cheap Buick" during the day, so he does not attract hatred and jealousy "from poor ordinary people."

"I can smell envy in the air, especially when I'm driving my BMW X5 at night with a pretty young girl beside me," says Matt. "Ordinary people hate me because they can never be as wealthy as I am. They are so twisted with this 'hatred-toward-the-rich' mentality."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend