This did not come as a surprise to me. For the record, I happen to believe Agnes Lin. I remember reading about her shopping habits in the Straits Times, and it came off as so over the top that it read almost as caricature rather than an actual account of someone real.
Even if they were so extravagent, would someone really admit to such expensive habits in a period when green is the new black, even Hags are cutting back, and recessionista is the newest word in the fashion maven's dictionary?
I was once interviewed by the Straits Times via email (me being a overseas scholar and all, don't ask), and even though the subject matter was fairly innocuous, and my replies quite PC (unlike some of the content on this blog, I self censored), the reporter still managed to spin my answers to her questions to give the best possible polish to my words. I was mildly peeved, but I let it go since wtf, I don't give a rat's ass about what the Straits Times writes almost all of the time.
So I'm not surprised the Straits Times gave Agnes Lin Le Grand Editorial treatment. They so badly needed a foil for the poor folks who are genuinely suffering in these harsh times. Otherwise, the story wouldn't fly as a viable human interest story at all. Too bad for Agnes Lin though.
If you ask me, I would have suggested the Straits Times, as a foil, pick someone who probably really isn't suffering right now as a result of her pedigree, is a fresh graduate, and has tons of connections. Someone like Fazeela Abdul Rashid, who the Straits Times did feature waaay back in 2001, when the economy was also not doing well.
Oh, but if they did that, they might actually offend someone important *gasp*. Never mind the fact that a fresh graduate in current circumstances similar to Fazeela back then might actually still be really living it up while Rome burns, as compared to the much maligned Agnes Lin.
On a separate note: My opinion is that anything written by Nur Dianah Suhaimi from the Straits Times is not worth the paper it's printed on. Her writing is consistently stilted, sanctimonious and frequently masquerades as 'virtuous' advice.