The Hype Around Crazy Rich Asians

Back to Article
Back to Article

The Hype Around Crazy Rich Asians

Rebecca Tao, Staff Writer

What does it mean to be Asian? As a minority group in America, I am thankful to be part of an academic institution with a strong Asian demographic. This has made the transition from my immigrant parents’ teachings to American life much easier. My situation is very prevalent in the lives of many Asian-Americans, but Hollywood and mainstream media have failed to represent Asians… until now.

Crazy Rich Asians is a book written by Kevin Kwan which was adapted into a movie directed by Jon M. Chu. The cast is fully Asian with main characters starring Constance Wu (Rachel) and Henry Golding (Nick). In the book, Kwan goes into detail about the dating expectations of an uptight aristocratic mother as the book is written from a multiperspective style. Eleanor Young, the mother of Nick, is adamant about her son marrying a girl in her rich circle of friends. She finds multiple methods to sabotage their relationship and destroy their bond together as her desire for prestige and class reign over her actions. This depiction of the obsession with wealth and ranking is not uncommon in Asian culture. While the popularity of arranged marriages is declining, there is still a lasting imprint on the culture for the family to interfere with and control personal relationships. Of course, the plot is not without its outrageously ridiculous, melodramatic moments which include a chapter devoted to describing the dilemmas at a bachelorette party. The balance of both relatable strong Asian-centric themes and entertaining moments delivers an enjoyable read with many references. However, many characters in the book have little personality, and those who do are exaggerated and almost animated.

Personally, this movie has been a long-awaited watch for me ever since I finished the book a few years back. The glitz and glamour included in the book is easily translated onto a screen with the main characters more three-dimensional in terms of character depth. The wealth of Asians, specifically in Singapore, does not come as a shock as the country is notoriously known for living it large. Furthermore, Rachel is frequently referred as an “ABC”, or American-born Chinese, a term that describes me and many others at AHS. Nick’s family’s discrimination and prejudice are also directed toward the fact that Rachel’s family is from mainland China. I can attest to this prejudice as Mainlanders are also stereotyped as rich but ill-mannered people. Rachel’s difficulties with adjusting to Nick’s fabulously rich life are also realistically portrayed and shows the culture difference between America and East/Southeast Asia.

Overall, Crazy Rich Asians is not a life-changing piece of literature by any means, but many parts of the book represent many aspects of Asian culture. It is worth a read if you are looking for a style similar to a chick-flick that is packed to the top with drama.