Welp, after months of hype and attempts to spot where filming was done around town, the trailer for Crazy Rich Asians was finally released, and it promises to showcase the glitz and glamour of being High SES in Singapore — plus veteran actress Michelle Yeoh pulling off her best Ice Queen/Tiger Mom impression.
Based on Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name, the film’s plot revolves around a Chinese-American professor who’s swept away into the world of the filthy rich via her Singaporean boyfriend, whose family is the wealthiest in the Southeast Asian city-state. Crazy Rich Asians is supposed to be groundbreaking — it’ll be the first Hollywood flick featuring a full ensemble cast of (East) Asians; it’s a film that has Singapore as its main setting (even though a lot of the scenes were filmed in Malaysia); it’s a major blockbuster that’ll be relatable to those of Asian descent everywhere.
Actually, scratch that last bit about being relatable. The reactions and response from the very citizens of the country Crazy Rich Asians is set in have been… mixed, at best. Personally though — where’s the love for brown folks and actual Singaporean accents? Understandably, the film sticks to the source material, which itself focuses on rich Chinese Singaporeans and a non-diverse circle of friends and family, but if one were to visually bring the (very real) backdrop to the silver screen, the least one could do is to flesh out the fact that Singaporeans are not all crazy rich and not all Chinese. Still, I appreciate the Asian representation, and to be honest, Hollywood might not be ready for the fact that Asians comprise of more than just people of East Asian descent.
That’s not to say that everything in the trailer is unrealistic of course. Because, well…
The Crazy Rich Asians’ trailer is super realistic, because when have you ever seen an upper class, traditional Singapore Chinese person have non-Chinese friends?
— Sam See (@MrSamSee) April 24, 2018
But! The movie isn’t even out yet, and all concerns about the film may actually be allayed when it is released on Aug. 17. Nonetheless, the trailer is a cause for heated discussion online and will continue to rage on for the next couple of months. Check out some of the comments, criticism, and praise that the trailer received so far.
Putting Singapore on the map
Crazy Rich Asians the movie is gonna put Singapore on the map! Awesome to finally have a Hollywood film actually featuring my homeland! #honored
— Daphne Soh 다프네 (@miyake9) April 25, 2018
Crazy Rich Asians better make all Westerners be able to point where Singapore is on the map I swear to god because it’s 2018 and I don’t want to hear another “is Singapore in China” nonsense
— kei(IN HONG KONG) (@tcsf_kei) April 24, 2018
I hope the success of the Crazy Rich Asians book and movie will only create more global demand for stories about Singapore, the real Singapore where so many races, ethnicities and classes interact every day, especially as friends ✨
— xueting✨ (@bumblebeesbummy) April 24, 2018
Putting a misrepresentation of Singapore on the map
Watching the #CrazyRichAsians trailer made me realize Singapore really looks so sterile. The trailer made it look more like a theme park than a real city that people lived in!
— Mario Ortiz (@mariow08) April 24, 2018
I am gonna go on a limb and say Crazy Rich Asians is gonna portray the fantasy that Singapore Taxis are plentiful and have neon signs everywhere saying Chinese things cause we’re too English hahahahhahahaha.
— The Crispy Rendang King (@blackadlerqueen) April 24, 2018
As far as I can tell from the trailer, Crazy Rich Asians has nothing to do with Singapore. It only has Chinese people, MBS and the Merlion. There’s SO much missing.
— Dilys (@o_dilly) April 24, 2018
The absence of Singapore’s ethnic diversity
Also, “Crazy Rich Asians” dangerously propagates the model minority myth & celebrates material wealth that is based on the exploitation of brown Asian labor. In Singapore, where the movie happens, 56% of domestic workers are Filipin@s & 32% are Indonesians. The movie erases them.
— EJ Ramos David, PhD (@ejrdavid) April 25, 2018
how ppl gonna say crazy rich asians is representation when it’s set in singapore without any other races other than chinese when the chinese are the majority. Singapore have malays, indians and other races too you know.
— Syn (@synistere) April 23, 2018
checked the tag and love that global audiences are super excited for #CrazyRichAsians but this is your gentle and slightly worried reminder that the Asians in Singapore and Southeast Asia aren’t all just Chinese/East Asian ppl -K
— the kaya toast (@thekayatoast) April 23, 2018
People gonna watch Crazy Rich Asians and think that Singapore’s:
1) all out Chinese
2) we all speak with American/British accents
On the other hand, a movie full of Asians, I guess?
— عاتكة / Atiqah (@attyarr) April 24, 2018
The lack of Singlish
the only problem with CrazyRichAsians’ trailer is: majority of the story seems to be set in Singapore and yet i hardly hear any Singlish being spoken. that feels kinda unnatural. 😛
— Sven McWilliams Banewood™ ️ (@nihilvanum) April 24, 2018
If Crazy Rich Asians wants credit for Asian representation in Western media, they should have hired an accent coach. The Singaporean characters all speak in British or American English, instead of Singlish. The setting feels completely inauthentic and lazy #CrazyRichAsians
— Sesse (@heyyy_jesseee) April 24, 2018
Love the Crazy Rich Asians trailer and excited to see it, still wish there were more brown people and people speaking Singlish
— Grace Lau (@gracemlau) April 24, 2018
1) why does it look like everyone in the bg is Chinese when Singapore is rly ethnically and racially diverse
2) why does everyone speak like that when we speak Singlish, not English with a heavy American/British accent
— Natalie Wee (@natweewriter) April 23, 2018
Singapore = Asian Wakanda
Saw the #CrazyRichAsians screening last night and can confirm that it is our Black Panther. Singapore is basically Chinese Wakanda. Seriously though it’s the first ever American film with an all Asian cast @awkwafina is hilarious and ya’ll should go see it
— Brandon Foo (@foolywk) April 24, 2018
— Alicia Soller (@AliciaSoller) April 25, 2018
Amidst all the excitement (and wariness) for Crazy Rich Asians, I would like to remind everyone that Singapore is a very real place – it is not all glitz and glamour like the trailer suggests, and it is definitely not the “Chinese Wakanda” like I saw someone tweet.
— aradhna. (@thebitterbeast) April 25, 2018
The colonialist, colorist, capitalist history on which elite Chinese-Singaporean’s wealth is built is reason #62 NOT to compare Crazy Rich Asians to Black Panther. Wakanda this ain’t.
— Mark Tseng-Putterman (@tsengputterman) April 25, 2018
just saw a facebook comment calling Crazy Rich Asians the Asian Black Panther and Singapore the Asian Wakanda. Makes sense cos as we all know Singapore was never colonised & we have the world’s most powerful element, which is uh…. tin?
Giant Arrowanna Fish?
— cultural_icon_mÀn (@stephdogfoot) April 24, 2018
I’ve noticed a lot of Asian Americans, specially East Asians, commenting about Crazy Rich Asians as being a landmark for representation, and even comparing it to Black Panther. It’s neither, and not all representation is good representation.
— Diane Wong (@XpertDemon) April 24, 2018
In defense of Crazy Rich Asians
crazy rich asians may not be the best kind of representation we deserve, but a big budget hollywood movie set in singapore made by asians from all over (including singapore itself) is nothing short of a net positive for everyone in the long run
— yay! (with teeth) (@ribombeeee) April 24, 2018
I can’t believe some Singaporeans are mad cause “Crazy Rich Asians” aren’t representive of Singapore.
Guys it’s a MOVIEEEEEE and definitely far superior than your Mediacorp trash tbh.
— miss-cunt-strued (@luxedlyani) April 24, 2018