Bling it on: Children of Asia's richest not shy about flaunting it

Children of Asia's richest not shy about showing off

Ms Isabelle Duterte with her $4,200 Celine bag, in one of many posts showing her with her expensive, designer accessories. Mr Richard Muljadi, a grandson of Indonesian entrepreneur Kartini Muljadi, astride his two red Ferraris. Ms Chryseis Tan, daugh
Mr Richard Muljadi, a grandson of Indonesian entrepreneur Kartini Muljadi, astride his two red Ferraris. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/RICHARD MULJADI

They live their lives online, and are not shy about showing off their precious toys and presence at exotic places that most other people can only dream about.

Meet the princelings and princesses of regional political and business leaders.

While in the past only their closest friends and family members got to see these lifestyles of the rich and famous, social media platforms now bring these bling bling images to everyone.

This gilded lifestyle became fodder for Malaysian newspapers two weeks ago, when they zoomed in on Ms Meera Alyanna Mukhriz, a granddaughter of the country's former prime minister and now opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad.

The government-backed media showed her living what they said was a "celebrity lifestyle", showing her wearing designer clothes, travelling on a yacht and holidaying abroad. She is the daughter of Mr Mukhriz Mahathir, former Kedah menteri besar who is also in the opposition today.

Apart from being easy prey for political attacks, these young people could perhaps also be more circumspect about what they show off to the public.

In Malaysia, where many Muslims are turning deeply conservative, Instagram pictures by TV personality Rozita Che Wan lightly kissing her husband Zain Saidin at Paris' Eiffel Tower in 2014 and on Greece's Mykonos island in 2016 led to dozens of angry comments. She said she had to block hundreds of these netizens from her account.

In Indonesia, a tweet in August of a picture of a Koenigsegg - a Swedish sports car - by a friend of local celebrity Raffi Ahmad described the car as Raffi's new ride.

In response, a tweet from the account of the Directorate-General of Tax said: "Please inform Raffi to report on his annual tax filing if he has new asset."

Here are some other children of prominent people who like to post on their eye-catching adventures.

Chryseis Tan

Ms Chryseis Tan, daughter of Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan of the Berjaya group. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/CHRYSEIS TAN

Daughter of tycoon Vincent Tan of the Berjaya group

Chryseis often documents her travels through Instagram stories.

The heiress is chief executive of Berjaya Times Square, a giant shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur. Forbes valued her father Vincent Tan, one of Malaysia's most recognisable tycoons, at US$820 million (S$1.1 billion) this year.

Chryseis was recently engaged to Mr Faliq Nasimuddin, 32, a son of the founder of large Malaysian conglomerate the Naza Group.

She had her pre-wedding photoshoot in Venice. Dressed in a Monique Lhuillier gown, her photos were taken by Greg Finck, one of the top wedding photographers listed by Harper's Bazaar.

She celebrated her 29th birthday last month in Venice, with dinner in an emptied-out hall at the Aman Venice, where George Clooney tied the knot with Amal Alamuddin.

Isabelle Duterte

Ms Isabelle Duterte with her $4,200 Celine bag, in one of many posts showing her with her expensive, designer accessories. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ISABELLE DUTERTE

Granddaughter of President Rodrigo Duterte

Isabelle, 17, stirred a hornet's nest when she posted on Instagram photos of herself in expensive, designer garb as her father was being investigated over 6.4 billion pesos (S$170 million) worth of smuggled methamphetamine.

The teenager is the daughter of Davao Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte, 42, the elder of President Rodrigo Duterte's two sons. Davao is located in Mindanao and is also the home city of President Duterte.

Paolo's name came up in testimony given in August to the Senate by a Customs "fixer" being investigated for allegedly facilitating a shipment of 604kg of crystal meth in May. Paolo has professed his innocence.

While this was happening, Isabelle posted the photos that showed her with a US$3,100 (S$4,200) Celine bag and donning a US$750 pair of Chanel ballerina flats. She has another Celine bag, worth about US$2,700, and US$620 Gucci Ace sneakers.

Critics say the photos betray a legacy of ill-gotten wealth while supporters have told the critics to leave the girl alone.

Isabelle has managed to parlay the attention into a career in show business.

Richard Muljadi

Grandson of entrepreneur Kartini Muljadi

Lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Kartini Muljadi was the only Indonesian woman in Forbes Indonesia's 2016 50 Richest individuals, with a net worth of US$760 million (S$1 billion). Her family controls listed pharmaceutical firm Tempo Scan Pacific.

Her grandson Richard, 29, regularly shows his audience how some of that money was spent.

In one picture, he is standing astride two red Ferraris.

A short video highlights how he spends a day at home, showing him starting the engine of his red Porsche 911 Carrera, then his yellow Lamborghini, before cruising around his swimming pool in a Yamaha WaveRunner jet boat.

In another photo, Richard shows he has not one, but two, vintage watch collectors' items - the 1970s Rolex Military Submariner.

He is married to former model and actress Shalvynne Chang, 27.

Robbie Antonio

Mr Robbie Antonio with his friend Lenny Kravitz at the Art Basel Miami Beach show in 2015. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ ANTONIO.ROBBIE

Scion of Century Properties

Robbie, 39, is the son of Century Properties' owner Jose Antonio who is a business partner of US President Donald Trump.

The property scion is friends with Mr Trump's children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. Those ties have led to a US$150 million (S$200 million), 57-storey, Trump-branded tower in Manila.

In 2013, Robbie commissioned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to build him a US$15 million Manila home to house a museum for his art collection, including a series of 35 portraits of himself by some of the world's top contemporary artists, dubbed in a Vanity Fair story as his "Museum of Me".

While Robbie keeps a low profile on social media, his Instagram account has him posing with celebrities he considers close friends, such as Adrien Brody and Lenny Kravitz. He has also been photographed with Paris Hilton, who designed an artificial beach for him, and, of course, with Mr Trump.

The self-promotion and networking are part of a successful business model that Century Properties has latched on to. It builds luxury properties and has celebrity partners like Ms Hilton.

Norashman Najib

Mr Norashman Najib at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai last week. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/NORASHMAN NAJIB

Son of Prime Minister Najib Razak

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai last week created a stir amid reports that several models had been denied entry into China.

One person unaffected was Mr Norashman Najib, 27. The son of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had a seat at the show which featured models in scintillating lingerie.

He also posted a selfie with one of the models, Josephine Skriver.

His fashion show buddy? Singapore's Kishin RK, heir of property giant RB Capital.

Ashman, as he is known to friends, is well known to social media users.

He frequently documents his love for music on Instagram.

But most posts show him trailing his father on official business trips, including the ministerial meeting with US President Donald Trump in September.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 26, 2017, with the headline Bling it on: Children of Asia's richest not shy about flaunting it. Subscribe