An Asian’s Thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians

I lived in Singapore for two years before coming to college in Maryland and I remember walking past the local bookstore and seeing “Crazy Rich Asians” under popular bestsellers in Kinokuniya.

As a young high schooler, I was beyond excited that someone out there was making strides for the Asian literary community. As a writer myself, I am proud that we are being represented in the world of fiction; however, the film made me question whether the portrayal of Southeast Asian culture was accurate.  

The film seems to glorify Singapore as this rich city-state when in reality, there are more citizens who live in government housing development buildings. The majority of people living in Singapore do not have the luxury of going to British schools, and also do not have Nick Young’s accent.

Photo by Victor on Unsplash

The plotline of the film is generic and could be played out by any other race. The whole “prince charming saving a commoner and overcoming family drama” kind of sounds like Princess Diana and Charles’ love story. I would like to think that audiences who aren’t familiar with Asian society don’t take the film at face value and think that all “rich Asians” live the way the Young family does.

The film tries its best to entertain all demographics, but in doing so does not fully represent Asians in the film because it undermines our true culture and misrepresents our lifestyle. I am glad an all Asian film is now out there for the world to see but at the same time, I hope it does not define us to the standards shown in the film.

Photo courtesy of giphy

On a more positive note, you get a glimpse of local Singaporean life in the Hawker Centre scene. I think it does give some authenticity to life in the “lion city,” and I think the abundance of food on the table is a common custom Singaporeans have when dining out with friends and family. I was happy the filmmakers filmed this scene the way they did, with all the montages of the Hawker sellers cooking the food in the kitchen and the conversations with the specific Singapore lingo such as calling older people “Uncle” or “Auntie.”

Despite some inaccuracies in the of southeast Asian lifestyle, I thought the romantic scenes were cute and gave the film a happy ending that was well deserved. After all, who wouldn't want to fall in love in such a grand mansion with the young, rich bachelor, Nick Young?