I’m ‘happy’ to report that snobbery is alive and kicking. Name dropping. Flaunting of wealth. Flaunting of education. Just to name a few.
Snobs look down on people who are part of groups that they regard as inferior or flaunt their wealth in order to make others feel inferior. They say women carry the torch for snobbery dictating the likes of ‘where to live’, ‘what to wear’. ‘whom to see’. ‘what to drive’ ….. ummm, I’m not too sure about the last claim on ‘what to drive’ … but I think snobbery is non discriminating between sexes & let’s face it, its UNIVERSAL ….
Here are some accounts of snobbery which I have encountered or heard of …
Professional SNOB – A lawyer friend has had his shirts scrutinised & ties flipped .. he’s had to suffer comments such as this “What on earth are you wearing, John Master?”. “You’re a lawyer. For God’s sake get a decent shirt”. This same lawyer friend also preferred taking the LRT to the courts (those days when it was next to the Sultan Abdul Samad building) to avoid traffic jams. Needless to say, he received due admonishment for this blaspheme to the profession … “Hey, you’re a lawyer aren’t you – not an L.A. (legal assistant) – why on earth are you taking an LRT?”…. Sigh…. talk about job hazards – keeping up an appearance apparently is top priority in this profession. Well, today, this friend has stepped up and his SNOB friends would be proud of him as he drives a Merc & sports Hugo Bosses …. Apparently the new look is good for business. Clients are more confident of lawyers who are well dressed, hence they get more business. This is the very mantra preached in “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” – Robert Kiyosaki’s and Sharon Lechter’s best selling book on how to achieve financial independence through investing, real estate, owning businesses, and the use of finance protection tactics. They say the broker who is clothed expensively and drives the flashy car gets the business, as he projects the image of success & accomplishment in his ventures. …. So do not downplay the ‘importance’ of snobbery in life. It has an economic, and socio economic role to play. No wonder, a lot of car nappers now come cloaked in expensive clothes & they too drive expensive cars to hoodwink unsuspecting drivers leading up to a successful car nap …
Car SNOB – A friend of ours was recounting how knowledgeable her nephew was about cars & apparently he was raving about the Proton Persona (for reasons I have forgotten) & her nephew recommended that she buy it. She then proceeded to tell me with a cringe shaped into her face, “We are not interested in local cars like Proton….we prefer Japanese cars”. Fat Dragon & I both drove Protons then … umm… it took us from Point A to Point B…. but yeah …. the goal of snobbery achieved… it made us feel inferior… just for a few seconds maybe …. But hey, don’t underestimate the powers of snobbery, we have changed one of our cars to a Japanese car – ahahahaahahah!
Wine SNOB – A friend told us he was entertaining a customer at a BISTRO in Centre Point, Bandar Utama. The customer insisted on buying the wine. When shown the wine list (with prices ranging in the lesser hundreds) by the owner of the establishment, the customer frowned and said ‘Is that the best you can offer?”. “Get me your most expensive wine!”. A thousand ringgit wine apparently was produced & till today, this friend of ours doesn’t remember what wine it was … only the price! What a laugh! For all you know the wine was not worth half the price. The price was probably inflated during the night itself…. Well that’s what wine snobbery is about. It’s all about lables & prices.
(I had the opportunity to speak to a wine trader who travels round France to purchase boutique wines (i.e. wines from smaller, less commercialised private family owned vineyards) recently and he says that Malaysians do not really know their wines. So, they rely heavily on reviews, lables & price. Don’t be surprised if someone tells you that a certain wine, which has received great reviews, tastes good even though it has oxidised (which is not surprising given poor storage conditions and the temperature in M’sia). But I guess you can’t blame us. Traditionally, we are not wine drinkers hence we’re not so educated in the science of tasting wine .. (for an idea what to look out for, check out this link)…. but don’t tell that to the Wine Snob… lables and the size of the price matters.)
Travel SNOB – Fat Dragon & I have encountered more than a scoff or two when we told people that we planned to travel to Mt. Bromo, Indonesia. “Where?”. “Why are you going to Indonesia, of all places? “. But critics have been silenced when they saw pictures of our travels there. Another example is when I was asked by a friend where I thought would be a nice city to go ….I mentioned Beijing & I received a weird look. I guess Asians expect answers like London, New York…or whatever snob place alike … but hey – I don’t think I need to defend my answer after the Olympics this year. The city can boast of a few more places of interest which have reached an iconic status i.e. the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube … but hey – I don’t wish to impose my travel preferences on you lest I be labled a snob too…..
Job SNOB – Oh, this tops the list. The snobs of society ….. do not view free lancing, home based activities …. & being a housewife as a REAL JOB. I can attest to this being a free lancer myself and many a homemaker friend has also complained that when they are asked what they do … people just give a polite & sympathetic smile in response when you answer “Home Maker”… More than a few ‘home makers’ have found themselves trying to justify how busy they are ferrying their children & attending to the household needs …. so, I say… RELAX. There are some of us who are not SNOBS…. we may not be the majority given that snobbery is in the pink of health but “we are out there”… ! So, I’d like to toast all freelancers & homemakers out there who dare to be different, who listen to your hearts & who sacrifice yourselves for the sake of others. Kudos to you & don’t mind those who think you are any lesser. Just think of them as being foolish enough to succumb to a weak, malicious vice …. 🙂
Snobbery is really not all bad. It does have an economic role which is exploited by high end retailers. Mission: Target the branded snob. This group dictates a certain brand name as a ‘must have’. Then a group of ‘followers’ takes this for the gospel truth. They in turn flock to buy this ‘must have’ to keep up with the Jones. Believe it or not, this very mechanism keeps up the purchasing interest for branded items ………………… Just take the latest I Phone for example. A consumer who lined up 2 days to be one of the first to buy the phone during its launch in Japan, said he realized that the phone has Blue Tooth limitations but he said because its an ‘IN’ thing & since everybody raves about it as a ‘must have’, he too needed to purchase one.
Like I said, snobbery is alive, kicking & in the pink of health. A word of caution … don’t let it turn into a malicious DISEASE! Believe me, you & I are guilty of snobbery be it consciously or unconsciously, some time or other … Just be mindful that snobbery when practised with malicious intent is damaging and hurtful. And, if you’re the recipient of snobbery, hey – don’t be victimised by it. Just sit back, take the good and laugh at the bad of it.