The eccentricities of the wealthy in Singapore, one of the highest-income countries per capita of the planet, they are a known thing of the Asian city-state. To the collections of Lamborghini cars and other prohibitively priced cars – which are usually exhibited by their owners on holidays – and the rental of islands and superyachts for parties – as the film reflected Crazy Rich Asians (“Crazy and rich Asians”) -, adds a new waste: renting a swimming pool from a private house for the high price of $ 7,000 a month (about 6,500 euros) to better cope with tropical temperatures during the quarantine.
That is the amount that a British citizen is paying to access the pool of a private house whenever he wants, according to the real estate agency Singapore Realtors, quoted by Bloomberg. The man, whose identity has not transpired, made the decision when the facilities of his urbanization were closed – one of the many where expatriates usually reside with possible, and who usually have swimming pools and other common areas– after the decree of the semi-closure of the island in early April due to the increase in cases of coronavirus during a second wave of infections. Singapore, which successfully weathered the first onslaught at the start of the year, is now one of the most affected countries in Southeast Asia, with more than 28,000 cases and 22 deaths.
Once the closure was announced — euphemistically called circuit breaker (circuit breakers) by the Island Government– and sealed the pools of the blocks in order to avoid social contact, the British turned to Singapore Realtors to weigh options. Initially, he considered renting the entire house, a bungalow located in Sentosa Cove, an elite residential area on the island of the same name in southern Singapore, but was dissuaded by the monthly fee: $ 30,000 (27,780 euros), a figure to add to the presumably high amount of rent for your home. Although the island does not reach the level of Hong Kong, where the most expensive rents in Asia are paid, the average price of an apartment in the condos is not suitable for any pocket and is around 5,000 dollars a month (4,600 euros).
“I asked him why he wanted to rent the bungalow. Is it because you don’t have a lot of space in your home? ”Says Lester Chen, the employee of the real estate company that attended the Briton. “His response was that he only wanted to use the pool because his had been closed due to the circuit breaker”, Add.
It was then that Chen came up with the proposal. He contacted the owner of the house, an imposing Balinese-style property, and he agreed to rent only the pool and garden, keeping the house closed. But with two conditions: that it be a contract of a maximum of three months, and that, if someone wanted to rent the bungalow in its entirety during that period, the agreement would be terminated. The Briton gave his consent and, for a month, has been going with his family to swim and spend the day in the garden entering through the back door, less than a ten-minute walk from his apartment.
A luxurious whim that, while still anecdotal, reflects well how confinement can vary depending on purchasing power. Especially in Singapore, where about 90% of those infected are migrant workers from South Asia, who live in crowded barracks located in industrial areas with rooms for between 12 and 20 people and bathrooms shared by several dozen.
Not far from these bedrooms, on an island of 5.7 million inhabitants that can be traveled from end to end in just 45 minutes by car, the scene is radically different. Chen assures that the British request has been followed by other similar ones; highlights those of other clients willing to rent entire bungalows in that same area, Sentosa Cove, just to enjoy its private pools and manicured gardens.
“I have rented offices, factories, apartments and bungalows. But never just the facilities of a house. That is the first time, ”said Chen. With the half-closure extended to at least June, a month longer than the initial plan, temperatures above 35 degrees and the number of millionaires on the island increasing year after year – more than 226,000 in 2019, according to a report by Credit Suisse – perhaps not the last.