The Jason Hahn Files: Hanging Out With The Filthy Rich

"You’ve never heard of [the filthy rich]. You never see their faces. They have no Instagram account. And they dress like they’re one paycheck away from being evicted from their home. Or an extra in a Jack Neo movie.”

A few weekends ago, our friend Jon threw a pool party at his home. Well, when I say home, I really mean to say “a big-assed mansion a few doors down from James Dyson’s equally big-assed mansion near the Botanic Gardens”.

“Excuse me, but why am I only now finding out that Jon Sia is ridiculously rich?” Saffy said as she stepped out of our Gojek ride and looked up at the house.

“How did you not know?” Amanda said, as she led the way to the front gate. “Have you seen his father?”

Saffy stopped in her tracks. “Wait. His father?”

Amanda pressed the bell and turned around. “Oh my God, remember a few weeks back, we were on Orchard Road? And we saw this ah pek in a tattered Penguin shirt in flip flops, swinging a Cold Storage plastic bag?”

Saffy frowned. “Yes, vaguely…”

“Yeah, well, that was Jon’s father. One of the richest men in Singapore.”

Just then the gate clicked open and as we waited for it to slide wide enough for us to slip through, Saffy said, “But how is that possible? Jon dresses like he’s in a Jack Neo movie!”

That’s how you can tell he’s really rich!” Amanda said as we sailed into a set straight out of Crazy Rich Asians. It was also filled with the kind of expensive floral arrangements you normally find in a Four Seasons hotel lobby, and more marble than the Taj Mahal. And, as Saffy later reported to Sharyn, there seemed to be more staff at the house than guests.

“Wah!” Sharyn said.

Meanwhile, Amanda was waving and blowing kisses at several friends from work and when she turned to us, she noticed Saffy’s look. “Look,” she sighed, “there’s rich and there’s ‘this is so filthy I need to shower and scrub for a day’ rich. Rich people wear a lot of new clothes and they carry the latest handbags and they’re always on magazine covers, Okay? But the really filthy rich? You’ve never heard of them. You never see their faces. They have no Instagram account. And they dress like they’re one paycheck away from being evicted from their home. Or an extra in a Jack Neo movie.”

“You’ve given this some thought, haven’t you,” I told Amanda with deep admiration.

If Amanda had had Saffy’s bosom, it would have puffed up. “Oh, totally! And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go press myself up against Jon. I hear he’s just broken up with that tramp, Melissa!”

Saffy turned to me with a glass of champagne that had miraculously appeared out of nowhere. “I can’t believe I made such a rookie mistake!”

“But why do you care?” I said. “You’ve always said Jon’s not your type.”

“Yes, but if I’d known how rich he is, I would have pressed myself up against him regardless! God, I feel sick.”

“I wonder if James Dyson is also here,” I said as I scanned the crowd of beautiful young things who seemed to have shopped at the same place because they were all wearing perfectly ironed linen shirts and beautifully cut pants, and billowy summer frocks.

Just then, Bradley Chen emerged from the crowd, buffed and tanned and smelling of sunshine after a week in Bali. He bent to kiss Saffy on the cheek. “Girrrl,” he growled. “Can you smell the money in this house?”

Saffy moaned.

“Is James Dyson here?” I asked. “I think it would cheer Saffy to press herself up against him."

Bradley paused. “Excuse me, ladies, but if anybody is pressing up against James Dyson, it’ll be me. Anyway, he’s not here. I would have spotted him. I don’t think he even lives in that house. Every time I pass by, it just looks empty!”

A few days later, news hit the grapevine that Jon Sia had dengue and had to be hospitalised.

“His platelets are down to 60!” Saffy said, who’d heard it from Jane who’d heard it from Melissa who, as soon as she heard from Jon’s mother, had flown cooing back to Jon’s bedside.

Amanda was outraged. “The nerve of that hussy!” she spat. “They’ve broken up already! He dumped her for cheating on him with Peter Wong, so what’s she doing by his side in the hospital? That shameless gold-digger!”

“You see, someone needs to explain that to me,” Saffy began. “Why would anyone cheat on anyone with Peter Wong? He’s like a marshmallow!”

Amanda smirked. “His father owns half the real estate in KL!”

Saffy’s shriek could be heard all the way in Changi. “Oh God, seriously?”

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