Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich AsiansA relative of mine once made the rather unfortunate comment that you really don’t need to travel the world, because all you have to do is go to Singapore where they have all the souvenirs you could possibly ever need. In other words, that bottle of 25 year old Laphroaig you nabbed in Scotland recently; the comfy female loincloth from Cote d’lvoire; or that stylish telmak from Turkmenistan – complete waste of time: you could have just gone to Singapore and got the exact same thing. This relative is obviously a nut case.

She did get one thing right, though, and that is that Singapore is an intriguing place and certainly worth a visit. A tiny island of a country, it takes up a dot of land in South East Asia measuring a mere 710 km². Thunder Bay has an area of 447 km² for 113,000 people, while Singapore has over 5, 300 000 people; but being the wealthiest nation in the world, Singaporeans are highly creative with their minimal real estate and phenomenal wealth.

Crazy Rich Asians is an hilarious look at the obscene wealth, complete snobbery, vicious back-biting and insane jealousies between three well-connected families in Singapore. Nicholas Young is the potential heir to an enormous bucket-full of assets from one of these families. He lives and works in New York along with his Professor of Economics girlfriend, Rachel Chu, and they live an unassuming, comfortable life there. It’s not until Nicholas asks Rachel to travel to Singapore with him to attend his best friend’s wedding, that she learns just how comfortable Nicholas really is.

Nicholas was raised never to talk about the family wealth, so it had never occurred to him that by not filling Rachel in on the details of his family, he was making a big mistake. Naturally, when the family catches wind that a marriage proposal may be in the offing,  no punches are pulled in making sure that that gold digging Chu girl is sent packing.

These excessively rich Singaporeans are extreme in all aspects of their lives, thinking nothing of spending millions on a new wardrobe of next season’s couture or spending $40 million on a wedding; because no wedding ceremony is complete without the Vienna Boy’s Choir, right? And you certainly can’t have a reception without a ferry ride to an island or a performance by Cirque du Soleil, either. These people make the House of Windsor look shabby. It’s a world where Downton Abbey goes Vegas or Dynasty does speed. Imelda Marcos’ legendary 3,000 plus shoe collection doesn’t nearly hold a candle to these folks. It’s total immoderation and shallowness. You’ll love it.


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