Oct 4, 2013

Friday Shopping Confessions. 'Five Star Billionaire' by Tash Aw.

Let the judgment begin.


Look at what attached themselves to the pram at Woolies yesterday. A pair of turquoise ladies garden shoes. That's right, these clod hoppers may look like mock Crocs but they're more correctly referred to as garden shoes. I'm working on an outfit post based on these just in case you were struggling to know what to wear with yours because I know that at $5, you'll be running to Woolies yourself to get yourself a pair too.

I'll be straight with you, my new shoes won't be going gardening anytime soon. They're going to be for around the house, specifically at Baby SSG's bath time when things get wet, very quickly.




Isn't it such a relief that the weather has finally come to the party? It's been so warm in Perth recently that running through fountains in public spaces is beginning to look like a fun idea. Possibly even whilst wearing garden shoes.





There's been a bit more reading here as well. I seem to have gotten myself into a South East Asian solo book club. I've just finished reading 'Five Star Billionaire' by Tash Aw, linking to a review here for you. It was an accidental purchase on my kindle but a happy one.

'Five Star Billionaire' fascinated me. It's a novel about the people of modern Shanghai. Five ordinary people from different walks of life, all trying to follow their dreams (or just survive) in a sleek, turbocharged mega city. The glittering city of dreams that is presented to the foreign media is not the reality of Aw's characters. Poverty, corruption, addiction and deception link the five and their paths cross in a series of coincidences.


'Five Star Billionaire' gets its title from a self help book and the chapters are titled with motivational quotes. Each character has their own take on self improvement. Some follow self help gurus to the letter whilst others walk to the beat of a strong internal drive. Whatever dreams they have for themselves though, it seems that their own demons are working simultaneously but in opposition. Or perhaps it is the city itself with its millions of expendable residents to whom the influence of bribery and corruption are as much a part of their lives as the hazy smog that often envelopes their city.


In this novel, Aw has created a portrait of China that an outsider like myself would otherwise never have had the chance to observe. He writes of the daily grind for the rich and the poor, his characters make astute observations of the haves and the have nots, they challenge stereotypes. We follow the life of a young singer who shot to fame in a national talent show and we witness his fall from grace and the fall out from hisidentity crisis. A successful businesswoman can't quite seem to be rid of her past. The self help book guru may not be as successful as what his best selling books infer.


The novel was a fascinating insight into the ideas and thoughts of a society that I'd previously known precious little about.


  1. haha, I can't hate on the moc crocs too much, although I did have a giggle when I saw them in Woolies yesterday. My friend has a more normal shaped pair she swears are the best shoes for work (she's a nurse) so we are not as anti-crocs as we used to be. Still not something I'd wear though :)

    Away From The Blue

  2. I have become an SSG book (and bake) groupie.

    Not gonna judge re crocs, but remember #sequinsarekey


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