This term natural aristocracy appeared quite recently in our vocabulary that used to be inundated more with terms like coolies, washer women, seamstresses, taxi drivers, or the slightly better off teachers and civil servants. The history of most Singaporeans, other than the babas, dated back only for a generation or two and were mostly of humble origins. Many babas too were from humble origins, leaving China to look for a better life but several generations earlier than the coolies lot. Some made it and prospered but would still not consider themselves as natural aristocrats, like the pioneers of this country.
So maybe this is a new beginning for this breed of people. From what I can gather, this term must be in reference to the political elite, not the old rich babas. They became rich and powerful in one generation in political office.
In Singapore it is one of the rare places where one can become a natural aristocrat in one generation, and from very ordinary beginnings, can be faster, two terms in political office would qualify one to be a natural aristocrat I think. The normal path is to get a scholarship, become a top civil servant, general or police commissioner, then join politics. No need to depend on birth. Oops, join politics must be joining the right political party. I don’t think opposition politicians qualify as natural aristocrats.
And like all nobilities, a natural aristocrat comes with many privileges but more important is the badge of integrity, of flawless character, honour, dignity, selfless devotion to public duty, to serve the people in public service. These qualities cannot be found in opposition politicians.
What are the privileges? The right to wear all white is one, a symbol of purity and aristocracy. And once a natural aristocrat, one becomes omniprescient, all knowledgeable and all knowing and all powerful. Many would then become automatic advisors to anything, any organizations, or chairpersons or directors in organizations, private, public, commercial or social, even clans and sports associations or clubs.
It is too early to tell if this natural aristocracy is hereditary and will be passed down from generation to generation as this is just the beginning of an aristocracy class in this little republic. By the look of it, it will be. Once a natural aristocrat, forever a natural aristocrat, by birth, by hereditary, it is in the DNAs.
Would this be the beginning of a kingdom and more will be knighted as princes, lords, earls, dukes, barons, counts or what not in the tradition of European nobilities?