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Why I Live In a Rich Neighborhood

written by John Chow on February 24, 2010


Last week, my good friend Neil Patel wrote a post explaining why he would never live in a rich neighborhood. While I understood Neil’s main argument, I found the post quite amusing. It’s true that Neil does not live in a “rich neighborhood.” He lives in downtown Seattle in the private residences of the Hyatt Hotel. Downtown Seattle is a business district and not really a neighborhood. However, as business districts goes, downtown Seattle has to be the richest business district in all of Washington State. So while Neil may never live in a rich neighborhood, he has no problems living in a million dollar suite and taking advantage of all the amenities offered by the Hyatt.

I currently live in West Vancouver, which happens to be the richest neighborhood in Canada. I’ve also lived in the Downtown Eastside, which is the poorest neighborhood in Canada. While I do have fond memories of the DTES, I much rather prefer my current neighborhood than my past one. As a rebuttal to Neil’s post, here’s why I live in a rich neighborhood.

Her Name Is Sally Chow

Every parents wants the best for their children. One of the main reasons we moved to West Vancouver was because of the school district. Generally speaking, the richer the neighborhood, the better the schools and West Vancouver has the highest ranked school district in the Province. They also have smaller class sizes and better equipments. Sending your child to the best school doesn’t guarantee they’ll succeed but it does mean they’ll get the best education possible and when it comes to Sally, I want to give her every advantage available.

It’s Nice and Quiet Here

West Vancouver has no industrial zones and the commercial zone is limited to one main street call Marine Drive. Pretty much everything else is residential or recreational. The city has a bylaw preventing any business from operating 24 hours a day (the 7-11 has to close for a few minutes everyday) and there are no nightclubs, bars or casinos.

You might say that sounds extremely boring but the point is I live in West Van. I don’t party in West Van. If I’m feeling the need to get into trouble, downtown Vancouver is just short drive across the bridge. The situation is ideal. I live in nice quiet neighborhood that’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the action of downtown.

It’s Safer Here

Providing a safe environment for my family is extremely important to me. Rich neighborhoods generally have a lower crime rate and West Vancouver is no exception. The city reported 2,265 criminal code offenses in 2008. By comparison, the city of Surrey had 45,655 criminal code offenses during the same period. When I walk down the streets of West Van, I’m pretty certain I won’t be the victim of a drive by shooting or mugging. I don’t feel the same way walking down the streets of Surrey.

The View Is Better

West Vancouver

I think the above photo speaks for itself.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Have you ever noticed that successful people hang around other successful people? Birds of feather really do flock together. I’m comfortable living where I am because I can relate with the people down the street. My neighbors are mostly business owners and entrepreneurs. We have a lot in common. The networking and business opportunities are much better in West Van than the Downtown Eastside.

The power of association is extremely powerful in the way it dictates who you are and how much money you make. If you want to change yourself or your lifestyle, then quite often, it will require you to change the circle of people you associate with. In order to continue climbing the ladder of success, I make sure I associate with other successful people. I thought I was doing well when I was making $10,000 per month. Then I started associating with people like Shoemoney and Neil Patel. Now, I can’t imagine living on only $10K per month.

If you aspired to be more than what your friends want to achieve, then you’re going to have to find others at your level or above and start associating with them. It’s easier to find those people in a rich neighborhood like West Vancouver than a poor one like the DTES. Birds of feather flock together. Success breeds success. This is why the rich get richer. If you want to become rich, you need to hang where they hang. While Neil may say he’ll never live in a rich neighborhood, living in the Hyatt hotel isn’t exactly poor!

Below is a video by super Realtor Jason Soprovich explaining more about West Vancouver. Give him a shout if you’re looking to move here.

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Tom | Build That List February 24, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Wow! Nice view John! When you become a parent your priorities shift and I am so glad that your daughter is your priority!

Buy 2 Pay for 1 Offer February 25, 2010 at 1:37 am

Every parents wants to deliver best to their children. We always make sure that our children should get everything before they demand.

One more advantage living in rich neighbourhood is maintaining your standard of living and that also force you to earn more and more.

Diabetis February 25, 2010 at 6:55 am

The problem is affording it.

Net Age | Web Design February 26, 2010 at 2:52 am

You got it, Pal! That is my problem too! ;-)

HiTechno Corner February 26, 2010 at 8:27 am

100% agree with you guys :D

John Chow February 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Yes, when I was single, I would never consider living in West Vancouver. Downtown or Yaletown would be much more fun.

Justin @ Monetize Zone! February 28, 2010 at 1:21 am

John, have you ever lived in Tsawwassen? I did for 3 years and it tags a very close second to West Van in average household income. Hodgeson and Toigo are some of the richest guys in Canada and both lived just down the street from where I did about a 2 minute walk from spectacular coastal Straight of Georgia view.

John Chow February 28, 2010 at 9:04 pm

No, I never lived in Tsawassen. I lived in Richmond before, which is just a drive under the tunnel to Tsawwassen.

JackNguyen.com February 24, 2010 at 11:54 pm

The hustle of downtown might be a better fit for Neil, but not a place to raise a fam.

Buy 2 Pay for 1 Offer February 25, 2010 at 1:43 am

Neil is one of the highest earning entrepreneur of internet world.

His many projects used by big companies like HP, Microsoft, P & G as well.

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 25, 2010 at 5:31 am

My wife love quiet. This would be a great neighborhood for her.

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 25, 2010 at 6:12 am

Living in the Hyatt must be fun.

Dana @ Blogging Update February 25, 2010 at 6:39 am

Yeah — sure it is fun.

Diabetis February 25, 2010 at 6:57 am

Affording it is not fun.

Net Age | Web Design February 26, 2010 at 2:56 am

Hahahahahah! We’re back on the same issue again, Mr Diabetes! Even if I could afford it I don’t think I’d be living in the Hyatt….

Dan ROss February 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm

John, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. I had the pleasure of growing up in a nice suburb in Dallas (Plano Tx). It is a haven for corporate America, has tons of parks and was known for its school district back in the day. It still is known as a top school district in the area.

My father grew up on the East side in Bathurst, New Brunswick, maybe 200 yards from a working papermill that put out quite the stench and he did everything he could to provide for the family and stressed a good education. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities my parents afforded me. My father was the first in his family to get a college degree and I was the first in the family to get a masters degree (MBA).

Vancouver, and West Vancouver in particular, is beautiful. My wife and I drove through in early December while travelling to Whistler for our honeymoon. AMAZING views!

Keep up the great work

Dan Ross

John Chow February 26, 2010 at 9:47 am

Family is what it’s all about. :)

Garen February 25, 2010 at 12:01 am

I really don’t think it matters where you live if you are happy living in a rich neighborhood or in a poor neighborhood. Maybe it would be a good idea to live in a moderate neighborhood.

For me as long as I don’t have to worry about getting mugged or shot I am cool wherever.

Birds of feather do flock together!

Buy 2 Pay for 1 Offer February 25, 2010 at 1:48 am

But living in rich neighbourhood can lower such attack.

You never want to live in such locality where drugs paddler are roaming around freely.

So why should leave things on luck.

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 25, 2010 at 5:33 am

We don’t live in a rich neighborhood, but our neighbors are really great and we don’t usually have to worry about crime.

John Chow February 26, 2010 at 9:49 am

I agree with you and if poor or moderate neighborhoods have schools ranked as high as the rich one, I may not live in a rich neighborhood.

Michael Kwan February 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

The school issue is a little chicken-and-egg.

Schools in poorer neighborhoods are typically populated by immigrants, low-income families, and so on. If they have English as a second language (not to mention cultural concerns), the children will probably struggle. It also means that the parents are less able to help them with their homework, because these parents may not be educated and/or may not have English as a primary language.

On the flip side, schools in affluent neighborhoods are typically populated by well-to-do families. The children are given every opportunity, receive additional help through tutors, and the parents (who are probably more educated and affluent) can help them with their homework. As a result, the better scores by the students may not necessarily be reflective of the quality of the school or the teachers.

Not that John would be very helpful with Sally’s English homework. ;)

John Chow February 26, 2010 at 11:18 pm

The schools in richer neighborhoods have bigger budgets to work with and as such can keep the teacher to student ratio much lower than other neighborhoods. They can also afford the latest equipment. The Lakeside school that Bill Gates went to was among the first school in the US to get a computer that got Bill his start. Had Bill gone to a school in a normal neighborhood, there might be no Microsoft today.

It’s not just schools that benefit from richer neighborhoods. You should see the West Van Community Centre. It’s insane! While the community center in East Van looks like any old building, the West Van one is a $100 million work of art with state of the art everything.

Michael Kwan March 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

That’s true too, because the parents are able to provide additional private funding. A rich neighborhood school can send their students on “field trips” to China, since the parents can pay for it. The East Side school takes a field trip to Chinatown.

Paul B February 25, 2010 at 12:45 am

When the family comes along they have to take priority. We live in a nice area but maybe you could have a word with my wife and convince her to move a little further away from the center of town?! ;)

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Just make sure that such locality should and must have basic need facilities such as hospitals, School etc.

Diabetis February 25, 2010 at 1:42 am

I am like you John, I would want to live to the richest neighborhood and give the best for my future children.

Phil-Am OSI February 25, 2010 at 2:40 am

You are right. The image itself shows how lovely to leave in that place

Dana @ Blogging Update February 25, 2010 at 6:43 am

For me, i will chose the neighborhood that match me perfectly — whether it richest or not.

John Chow February 26, 2010 at 9:50 am

A perfect neighborhood will be different for everyone because what is important to one person maybe not important to another. Most of my single friends would be very bored living in West Van.

Buy 2 Pay for 1 Offer February 25, 2010 at 2:06 am

With such kind of environment you will get everything positive –

# Peace
# Healthy Environment
# Educated surroundings
# Standard of living

And more important we work hard to get such kind of facility only.

So if you can afford than you should and you must go for it.

Garen February 25, 2010 at 2:29 am

actually I would just like a quite peaceful place to work on the beach…lol.

John Chow February 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

West Vancouver some of the best waterfront properties in the world. However, be prepare to pay dearly for it!

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Any property close to beach means high cost.

But definitely you will love breeze.

Bode'wadmi February 25, 2010 at 3:02 am

bohzo John

Ni Je Na? I ye e’ bawze’keyan.

Megwetch, bama.

Justin @ Monetize Zone! February 28, 2010 at 1:26 am

What language is that?

John is a Bozo?

How to Speak Japanese February 25, 2010 at 4:05 am

Nice view.

Priorities shift with age and responsibility.
I remember when living in the middle of the city and it couldn’t be loud enough during the nights – now I prefer the countryside and enjoy the quiteness (ok, sometimes the birds are too loud)

CNA training February 25, 2010 at 8:24 am

Exactly my view man…Priorities shift with age and responsibility and affordability

Barry | Grow Some Money February 25, 2010 at 5:29 am

Excellent post John. A post that shows exactly what kind of person you are, and what your priorities are too – something people can relate to.
While i can’t yet imagine living on $10k a month, maybe one day following your model i’ll be there, living in a rich neighbourhood too!

fas February 25, 2010 at 5:30 am

John can you please do a post on your house and show us pics of it.

JackNguyen.com February 25, 2010 at 9:39 am

I believe there’s a video somewhere of his house when he first moved in.

Columbia Mo Mortgage February 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm


I hope that isn’t going too far for John, I can see why it would be a privacy concern.

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm

John added his house photos when he shifted to that house.

Just search for house word or similar word.

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 25, 2010 at 5:30 am

Wow, that is an excellent view!

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 1, 2010 at 2:52 pm

That view make it more costlier … lollzz

infopediaonlinehere February 25, 2010 at 5:35 am

cool post

infopediaonlinehere February 25, 2010 at 5:36 am

I do agree with you….

infopediaonlinehere February 25, 2010 at 5:36 am

Our environment plays a major role in changing our attitude

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 1, 2010 at 2:54 pm

You mean our surroundings ?

infopediaonlinehere February 25, 2010 at 5:37 am

definitely crime rate is going to be less

Sarah Sarniak February 25, 2010 at 6:12 am

I live out in the country because I love being out in the middle of nowhere. The crime rate is definitely lower here too. :)

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 25, 2010 at 6:14 am

Do you live in a gated community?

John Chow February 25, 2010 at 10:05 am

Vancouver has no gated communities. However, the Lion Gate bridge that connects Vancouver to West Van is kinda like a gate.

Brett @ Internet Blog February 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm

haha a gate that can take an hour or more to get through depending on the darn traffic! Such a pain sometimes.

Michael Kwan February 25, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Actually, I don’t think that’s true. Realtors can correct me if I’m wrong, but I vaguely remember seeing a few complexes with open land stratas where several higher end homes are built. You have to pass through a gate to get to these private streets.

Dana @ Blogging Update February 25, 2010 at 6:38 am

So — i conclude that live in rich neighborhood have cons and pros.

John Chow February 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

There are pros and cons to every neighborhood.

Melvin February 25, 2010 at 7:54 am

Thats a reasonable reason. I dont know but i don’t really think neil is as frugal as what he wants his readers to know. living in a hotel is not a bad one huh!

CNA training February 25, 2010 at 8:16 am

I hope one day, I can earn 10,000$ a month and afford to raise my kid in a rich neighborhood.

Michael Kwan February 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

That’s the issue. So many people “hope” and “wish.” Very few take the steps necessary to achieve their goals.

Paul Sabaj February 25, 2010 at 8:19 am

I love the part where you say birds of a feather. I also find that the further the distance from negative people the better my attitude is. Not to say that I don’t keep in touch with old freinds who don’t share the same values and need to grow. But I do it on a m ore limited basis and surround myself with the dream builders not the dream vampires. To that end misery loves company and will try to keep you with them. Cute pics of the kid by the way. With a Dad looking out for her future and the ability to provide the positive education she already is off to a great start.

Paul February 25, 2010 at 11:33 am

I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people.” – Henry Ford

You want to be more successful than you are? Then hangout with successful people!

Columbia Mo Mortgage February 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm

That’s not always true; intelligence and success can be two extremely different things ;)

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 1, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Not extremely different but yes with intelligence you can get success.

Earl February 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm

If you’re the smartest person in the room, it’s time to move on. Truly wise people surround themselves with people smarter than they are in order to grow.

I agree with the spirit behind your post, but I’m fine in the burbs in Burnaby. It’s not as “upscale” as West Van, but my area is full of entrepreneurs and owners as well.

John Chow February 26, 2010 at 9:53 am

Burnaby is a great place. You’re not too far out from downtown and I graduated from BCIT. :)

Cath Lawson March 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

That’s reassuring Earl. I’m hoping to move to Vancouver this year and I’ve been looking closely at North Burnaby. West Vancouver looks very nice but the £ is v weak against the Canadian dollar right now.

Charles Bohannan February 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I rarely comment here John, but for this post I have to.

I too live in a safe quiet, affluent town with great schools, and it’s all for the benefit of our children. A setup like this should never be compromised.

The only problem is I have to fly (to Honolulu on another island) to get some action. Time will tell if that becomes easier. Vancouver sure looks nice, too.

John Chow February 26, 2010 at 9:55 am

I hope it works out for you. Flying just to get some action sounds like a lot of work. A lot harder than just driving a across a bridge. I’ve been to Honolulu but never to the other islands.

Columbia Mo Mortgage February 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I saw Neil’s post and agreed with it, but also see sense in why you would live in a rich neighborhood.

Personally I think rich neighborhoods are better for family environments. The friends I have who live in such neighborhoods tend to not know much about their neighbors– is that normal?

John Chow February 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

Not sure if it’s normal but I can understand it. The houses are spread very far apart because the lots of very big. This makes bumping into your neighbor while picking up the mail pretty hard.

Brett @ Internet Blog February 25, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Such a nice area. I am at a friends for a few days that lives on Altamont Pl. Even the drive up to his place is NICE.

chester February 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm

West Vancouver is a great neighborhood if you’re looking at raising a family. Really quiet, picturesque, and civil. Exactly what I’m not looking for! Give me Yaletown any day!

Tim Bourquin - MemberCon.com February 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I honestly don’t understand other bloggers’ aversion to wealth. Makes no sense to me.

I knew a bunch of sheep followers would comment on his post, “Yeah totally agree – living in a nice neighborhood sucks!”


John Chow February 26, 2010 at 9:59 am

It is funny that when Neil wrote his post everyone agreed with him and then when he wrote he lived in a million dollar hotel suite in the richest business district in Washington State, his reader agreed that’s awesome too. LOL

Trent @ Earn Money February 25, 2010 at 4:25 pm

I say live wherever you want to live or can afford to live. I would live in a rich neighborhood but I would also live in an average neighborhood. I actually used to live in Orange County, CA in a nicer area and loved it. Now, I live in a regular old neighborhood with regular people on regular houses. I don’t treat anyone differently based on where they live or how much money they make. Plus, you never know how much money someone has just based on what they look like, what they drive, or where they live. A lot of super rich people live very ordinary lives and a lot of people who appear rich are so far in debt they’ll never get out.

Ed Lau February 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I want a rich neighborhood but not one that’s quiet. I hate quiet…I like activity. I think of the apartments in Yaletown or downtown around Georgia as an ideal place for me.

I’ve been to John’s house, people…there’s nothing going on but old folks walking their dogs. I’d be bored out of my mind…even more so than living in freakin’ Richmond.

John Chow February 25, 2010 at 4:54 pm

You want to be a Neil Patel and live in a hotel. There’s a suite for sale at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Estates. You’ll be right on top of all the Olympic stuff. Only $5.25 million! :P http://www.rennierealty.com/condos/1162-1011-west-cordova-vancouver

Michael Kwan February 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm

It’s a difference in priorities. You’re a single guy and you want to have fun, be in the middle of the action. That’s understandable.

John is married with a kid. Family becomes a priority, even if he still acts like a 12-year-old. ;)

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog March 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Well if you do not like quite than call your friends and have a great party …

Personal Trainer February 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Oh my god what a life changing post!

dg February 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Its better to live in the cheapest house in a rich neighborhood, than an expensive house in a poor neighborhood.

bradleybradwell February 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I’m actually shocked that someone would suggest that living in a rich neighborhood is a bad thing. I think a large factor of people dissing people who live in upper class neighborhoods is simply because they cannot afford it themselves. Obviously this isn’t the case of Neil, but I think generally that’s the universal opinion.

I personally think that it’s natural for people who’re not as successful to associate a bad lifestyle with the rich simply because they’re trying to make themselves feel better.

I personally live in a middle class neighborhood, meaning that I do experience some criminal activity in my area. Our cars are broken into frequently, but we’ve managed to ensure all personal belongings are never left in the car. With that said, I’ve seen the West End of Vancouver (have relatives living there) and think it’s a beautiful area. I can understand why you’d want to keep your family in such a good neighborhood, considering the security and excellent schools.

All in all, I believe that you should live where you can afford. Unfortunately, there are some of those who’ve made poor decisions and are unable to afford such a place, however, everyone has the potential to do it.

Hard work pays off, and you’ve proved it.


Barry Cross February 25, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Nice post John.

Great to see you can enjoy the freedom & lifestyle that come with IM.

You’re an inspiration to us all


Barry Cross

The Padrino February 25, 2010 at 9:31 pm

His place was nice it looks like a nice apartment to live in.

Alex February 25, 2010 at 11:19 pm

West side is definitely a great place to live. Even if bums show up on the west side they get moved to the east side lol

Net Age | Web Design February 26, 2010 at 3:02 am

I’ve marvelled about your awesome view before, John. Just that will be enough reason for me to live where you do, period. Wanting to give the best for your child is the natural instinct of any parent, and good for you on being able to fulfill this need. I am sure your Sally is going to continue the proud tradition her father established.

The Off-Campus Student February 26, 2010 at 6:09 am

I live in an apartment. It’s all good and well but I yearn for a garden sometimes. Sitting out on the balcony with my laptop isn’t quite the same as in the garden surrounded by green. :)

Sergey February 26, 2010 at 8:25 am

I’ve got twins. Now they are two years old and I’m dreaming to move to place like that.

infopediaonlinehere February 26, 2010 at 8:38 am

right assessment

infopediaonlinehere February 26, 2010 at 8:39 am

true..birds of feather do flock together…either we feel bad about ourselves ….if we are too positive that will act as an instigator and fuel us to achieve big.

infopediaonlinehere February 26, 2010 at 8:40 am
Promotional Products February 26, 2010 at 9:33 am

John thanks for sharing. I think the people who complain about rich neighborhoods are the ones that can’t afford it, or have no reason to be in one.

Purple Martin Houses February 26, 2010 at 10:06 am

I have to admit, Western vancouver looks great. If I had the financial freedom to choose where I would live, it would definitely be somewhere like that. However, most people, probably even the ones who live in a community like that, don’t have true financial freedom. I am willing to bet that the vast majority of people living in those homes have mortgages on them and are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

Possibly not, but I think Neil has a good point about not spending everything you make unless you just absolutely have to.

Internetsalsa February 26, 2010 at 1:37 pm

at the same note rich kids can get into drugs easily as well. My wife does extensive research with substance abuse..and have found many rich kids (from rich neighborhoods) getting into drugs…again it depends on you….

TYCP Magazine February 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm

You made some good points. I live in a rich neighborhood & some people have called me nuts, but here’s the kicker: in their neighborhoods, they’re putting up with lots of crime & other stuff. My neighborhood is nice & calm. It’s not boring, but it’s definitely safer.

The Digital Life & Tools Blog February 27, 2010 at 7:54 am

Six of one, half a dozen of another.

Some say “cloistered”, some say “exclusive”. In reality it’s two aspects of the same thing.

Joe "The Connector" Kennedy February 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

Nice post John. I agree that many of us with children decide where to live based the quality of schools – that is a major factor.

Here in Bellevue (which I think would be considered ‘richer’ than Seattle – our neighbors across the lake) we are fortunate to have strong schools which are nationally ranked on a regular basis. Many people consider all of Bellevue “rich”, but that is certainly not true of all of us.

One of the things that I really like about where I live is the growing diversity. There are people who live here from countries all over the world – and getting to hear all types of different languages, eat different kinds of foods and meet people with lots of different backgrounds is a really great thing. Very en”rich”ing …

John Chow February 27, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Bellevue is a great place. When I’m down in Seattle, I stay at a house on Mercer Island. It overlooks the lake. http://www.johnchow.com/some-pics-from-the-mercer-island-house/

hospitalera is blogging February 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Education is priority, so yes, if your rich neighborhood gives your daughter the best education available, then go for it! SY

John Chow February 28, 2010 at 3:38 pm

The school system was the main reason we moved to West Vancouver.

Warren March 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I thought living in a nice (not rich) neighborhood would result in a safer way of life. Turns out the drug dealers make enough money here in Calgary to live in the nice (and rich) neighborhoods as well…. go figure!!!

Fike2308 March 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

too many racists in west van. you might not get mugged in west van, but you might get beat up by the cops. one wrong move and you will end up in prison. i disagree with hanging with the rich. most rich people that i know have been very competitive, selfish and will not want to share any useful information with you. there is a way to describe their behavior in chinese. 小气

John Chow March 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm

You are hanging around the wrong people and rich people won’t hang around you with that kind of attitude.