Crazy Rich Asians was written by Kevin Kwan back in 2016 which I heard about through one of my favorite youtubers, Weylie, and at the time I was really amazed with the title itself. I had never thought to search up Asian young adult books as a teenager who was reading nothing, but young adult books. The title blew my mind because I had always wanted to read books where Asian characters were the star instead of the sidekick. I was beyond happy to have found a book where I had something in common with the main characters for once. I know for a fact I have looked for books with Asian characters, but I didn’t have as much luck in the past. Thankfully while watching one of Weylie’s favorite videos she shared the book she was reading and the title alone made me want to read.
Watching the movie
I loved the whole movie! It was like watching an Asian drama only in English and based on a best seller which also had 2 sequels. I loved the casting, Rachel, Nick, Peik Lin, and everyone else was spot on to the characters in the book! I’ll be posting a book review later this week.
I definitely connected to this movie and you’re probably thinking “But Deanna they’re rich you’re not how you could possibly connect to them???” Well for starters having a single mom who is not from the U.S., but raising a child in the U.S. and having that generation misconnection was very relatable. The generation disconnection is not shown in the movie, but it is mentioned in the book. As someone who is living the actual situation trust it’s relatable and nice to see a single Asian mom represented.
My mom came to the U.S. after she married my dad in Thailand in 1993 when she was 21. Seeing the differences between Asian standards from Asians who live in Asian countries is completely different compared to our standards. I’ve experienced the standards they try to push on me
In the movie, traditional Asian parents who still reside in Asian countries are much more strict on their children’s lives. They choose what their child will study, and how their social life is. They have such high standards for marriage as well. For instance my mom is always nagging me to change my major so I can be a “doctor, nurse, or engineer” and her main reasoning is so I can make a lot of money. I know the standards are different because there is so much less freedom.
Here’s a better example,
My cousin for instance who is 12 years old is enrolled at a private catholic school in Thailand which is very expensive. On top of that she has a violin instructor come to her house on the weekends to teach her lessons. Which she completes after going to school on the weekends for special classes which is what would be equivalent to AP classes in the United States. My aunt has her daughter’s life mapped out and doesn’t allow her to have a say in any of her extracurriculars. Everyone in my family knows Best (my cousin) doesn’t like doing everything that my aunt wants her to do. I’m honestly waiting for her to rebel. My aunt wants her to grow up a certain which there is nothing wrong with, but being raised in California I see way too much control in that relationship.
In Asian cultures, traditions are held to the highest standard and it usually results in being disowned for not following traditions. Although in today’s world there is definitely more lenience with passing down traditions because times have changed. The only way you would be able to get out of following old traditions is if your parents are okay with your decisions and understand your perspective of not wanting to continue the tradition. Or if your parents also agree with the tradition being outdated and see it fit for you to spend your efforts doing something that brings you happiness instead of stress.
For instance in Thailand there is a tradition called Sin Sod where the groom has to pay the bride’s family in order to marry her. It’s seen as repaying the family for her upbringing and essentially her worth. On the flip side, in Thai culture there is nothing equivalent for men if a woman wants to marry them. Americans typically see it as a dowry which it is most definitely NOT. I know this is serious because I’ve fought my own family with Sin Sod and I might lose some family members over it because they believe I need to follow that tradition although I’ve made it very clear I am not going too.
I’m only speaking from my personal experience of what I’ve seen, but in Thai culture some of the expectations measure up equally to the ones shown in the movie. The standard for being a daughter-in-law is very much as depicted. Sure, you might think it’s a little exaggerated because their rich, but the ideals are pretty accurate. In Thailand, for instance as a daughter-in-law you are expected to live with your husband and his family unless he has his own place, but most of the time you live with his family until you can both afford something on your own. Since you’re living in his parents house you are expected to do your duties as a wife and daughter-in-law which are to please your in-laws by cooking and cleaning and taking very good care of your husband. If they don’t see you as fit they’ll tell their son to divorce you. You’re probably thinking well it’s not the 50’s why is this still relevant…well because that’s just how Asian cultures are. Even if you’re in a modern marriage where both the wife and husband work, the wife is still expected to take care of the home, husband, and their children. Which leaves the husband and his parents in control of how everything is seen. Asian cultures are very sexist to this day.
Why this was so important for me to watch?
Well to start off, seeing Asian actors and actresses has always made me happy as a child, but I never saw enough of them. There aren’t enough role models for Asians to look up too, let alone half Asians like myself. Seeing a full Asian cast representing different upbringings, cultures, ethnicities and countries was nothing but INCREDIBLE to watch! I was cheering for every character, although I knew the expected outcome because I read the book. Lol.
I’m so excited to see the sequel brought to life and I hope more Asians get cast in upcoming movies! I’ve seen Henry Golding lined up for a few more movies which I am beyond happy for ! This movie had a lot Asian critics say it wasn’t fair that half Asians were cast instead of full Asians and how they weren’t all from Singapore which I think is ridiculous because the representation matters more for the audience than it does for portraying the accuracy of the book. If you read the book and watched the movie you know the casting was SPOT ON! Half Asians have an even harder time getting roles in movies because they’re in the middle and because of appearance. Critics should have praised the casting more instead of
I loved the book and you can read all about what I thought about the book later this week on Friday! I LOVE LOVE LOVED the movie and am definitely going to buy it once it comes out! It was so awesome watching an American Asian movie where the whole cast was Asian which hasn’t happened since 25 years ago. The movie made me more proud to be half Thai and I loved seeing more Asian actors and actresses being cast and seeing a whole film which broke records because Hollywood is so racist.
I hope within the next decade more standards get broken and Hollywood changes a little bit because by the time I have children. I’d like to them to be able to see more people who look like them on screen. I’d also like to see aspiring actors like Tim from TimothyDelaGhetto and Anna from Anna Akana on youtube succeed because they have been trying to break out in the movie industry for so long now.