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The ridiculously rich defined by the fabulous shoes on their feet

After former U.S. President George W. Bush dodged a flying shoe hurled at him in Iraq a few years ago, shoes are back in the news. Hedge-fund CEO Daniel

Shak is suing ex-wife and World Series of Poker player Beth Shak for reportedly hiding her US$1 million shoe collection from him during their divorce proceedings and settlement three years ago.

Shak claims his ex-wife never told him about her stockpile of 1,200 pairs of designer shoes when they divorced three years ago, the New York Post reported, adding the finance titan claims that she hid the US$1 million collection from him and that its value may entitle him to hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars more in their divorce settlement.

Beth Shak's website advertises her love of shoes and fashion above her poker interests, with numerous pictures of her posing in exotic heels and the Marilyn Monroe quote, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world,” the report said.

But she is not alone. For many, simply mentioning the Philippines' former first lady Imelda Marcos brings to mind her thousands-strong shoe collection, too. They are not alone.

Consider Ruan Fu (阮孚, A.D. 278-326), a senior official in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (A.D. 317-420) who got his position through family connections. Ruan, scion of a rich family and China's best known, or even the only known, collector of wooden clogs, more or less the equivalent of the Japanese geta, was once nonchalantly waxing and polishing a pair of the clogs in the presence of a visitor in his home, murmuring to himself with a sigh: “Don't know how many of these I can wear in my lifetime.” Other than this, we have virtually no knowledge about Ruan's life, and we know still less about his political achievements and his contribution to the well-being of the people he governed.

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