Summer is here! And for lazy days in the park or lounging by a beach somewhere, I love fun, lighthearted laugh-out-loud reads. Normally I like memoirs like these, but I was curious about Crazy Rich Asians because several people I follow online were reading it and seemed to enjoy it. It’s a tale about… what else… crazy rich Asians. You can take it both ways: these Asians are indeed “crazy rich”, but you can also say they are crazy and rich! This book is not to be taken too seriously which is perfect summer reading.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Think Plum Sykes’ Bergdorf Blondes or Debutante Divorcee, but set in Southeast Asia… Frivolous, frothy and plotless, with lengthy descriptions of designer clothing, pricey real estate and lavish spending….Hey, sometimes you just need to read stuff like this.
Because I come from Chinese descent like many other Filipinos, some of the character traits and peculiarities reminded me of people I know. So many attitudes and behaviours are familiar and this can be seen in places which have a considerable Chinese population like the Philippines, Indonesia and Signapore. So it was a hilarious read for me. As I was reading, I could imagine it so vividly and hear the conversations – complete with the overbearing mom’s and high pitched swearing.
And who knew that a Far Eastern fashion disaster might be described in such novel terms. “Never, ever wear green chiffon,” Mr. Kwan has one character warn, “unless you want to look like bok choy” that’s been violently abused.
The book is fiction, but these types of crazy asian families do exist, where bloodlines are traced, private detectives hired for background checks prior to marriage, private jets ridden like a cab, etc. I know this from living in Indonesia alone – where the rich have British pilots staff their private jets which the wives can take for a quick shopping trip to HongKong and in 2010 to 2011 iPods were the trendy party favor in children’s lavish birthday parties. (Note: these are for 6-8 year olds!) This book is a glimpse into the glittering world of the real jetset. It’s basically Downton Abbey for Asia haha. So for those who love intrigue, fashion and luxury this is a fun read!
The first rule of being filthy rich is you do not talk about being filthy rich. Which is why it’s always strangely exciting to catch a glimpse of how the other half lives. Take last month, for example, when word got out that a Chinese investor had snapped up a $17 million penthouse in Hyde Park for his children who are about to start university in Sydney. According to ‘sources’, the new would-be student pad boasts three bedrooms with marble ensuites and an outdoor entertainment area with 270-degree harbour views.
Stuff like this makes a person think. Is it normal to both want to punch and to be a Chinese stranger’s kids?
I finished this book in less than 3 days – way too fast – so now I am also needing your recommendations! Any other fun frivolous reads you can recommend? Please drop me a line!