The value of all things crazily rich and Asian

Asia today rides on China's current ascendancy - its share of world output has been growing dramatically from 4 per cent in 1990 to a projected 21 per cent in 2022. Asian capitalism is hardly egalitarian; a third of China's wealth is held by 1 per ce
Asia today rides on China's current ascendancy - its share of world output has been growing dramatically from 4 per cent in 1990 to a projected 21 per cent in 2022. Asian capitalism is hardly egalitarian; a third of China's wealth is held by 1 per cent of citizens. This may explain why China's image managers are so embarrassed by Crazy's garish materialism, and they may prevent the movie from being shown there, says the writer.PHOTO: REUTERS

Neither Kevin Kwan's novel Crazy Rich Asians nor the movie based on it should win any prizes as literature or film. Yet, the Crazy phenomena - both the best-selling book, its sequels and the smash movie - represent a critical moment not only in Asian, and Asian-American, history, but also in how we look at race.

Crazy Rich Asians is about an on-again, off-again, on-again romance between a young Singaporean oligarch and a predictably plucky Asian-American woman.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 30, 2018, with the headline 'The value of all things crazily rich and Asian'. Print Edition | Subscribe