Living in the palatial Tyersall Park in Singapore, Shang Su Yi and her clan seem to have more money and power compared to the British royal family. Her grandchildren, including Nick Young and Astrid Leong, were brought up in the most aristocratic way, went to the best schools, and even had British accents. Their lives seem a little far-fetched, right? So what can us Pinoys possibly have in common with the characters of the best-selling book Crazy Rich Asians?
Well, here are few things:
1. They speak multiple languages.
Most of the Singapore-based characters speak Singlish, which is a combination of English, Malay, Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, and other Asian languages. Perhaps one thing we Filipinos take for granted is our ability to speak different languages, whether it's a combination of English and Filipino, English and Bisaya, or all of the above plus some Bekingese. Kris Aquino is the perfect example:
2. Everyone has an opinion on everything.
The most glaring example in the book is almost everyone's disapproval of Rachel, but there are a lot of other instances where the characters assert their opinions. Like those times Eddie Cheng would take control of his family's clothes, behavior, and overall public image. Another would be Corinna Ko-Tung implying that wearing Prada from head to toe is tacky (though I'd have to agree with her on that).
3. It's a huge deal when someone brings a guy or girl home.
The upper echelons of Singapore society assumed Nick was going to marry Rachel just because she was the first girl he brought home. Our relatives probably assume the same when we first introduce our partners to them. 'Di ba pwedeng honest lang?
4. Their family meets up on a weekly basis.
It's probably an Asian thing in general, but the Young-Shang-T'sien clan has dinner at Ah Ma's every Friday night. Our families are also accustomed to this, whether it's dinner at lola's house or mall weekends with the fam.
5. They also have that one chismosa relative.
Dubbed "Radio One Asia," Cassandra Shang was ultimately responsible for spreading the news about Nick bringing Rachel home to Singapore. Does she remind you of any of your relatives (ehem I'm talking to you, tita "town crier")?
6. Free things are ~*lyf*~.
You'd think the old-money rich would care less about getting things for free, but just look at what happened at Araminta Lee's bachelorette party. The women—who can surely afford everything in the souvenir shop—went crazy over the free designer goods on display. We probably won't ever experience that sort of thing in our lifetimes, but isn't free food at the office just the best?
7. They fly economy.
They may have enough money to buy their own private jets (yes, with an "s"), but the likes of Felicity Leong and Bao Shaoyen would much rather fly economy than spend quadruple the amount for first class tickets. Not like we have a choice, but the idea of the person next to us on the plane potentially being a real-life Young is pretty cool. Note: This is something that applies to the baby boomers in the story, but especially not to Eddie who's kapal enough to want to borrow a friend's plane for two consecutive round trips.
8. They have a sense of "utang na loob"
Colin Khoo didn't really want to celebrate his bachelor party Bernard Tai-style, but he felt the need to indulge him because the latter's father was the largest minority shareholder in his father's company. The concept of utang na loob is something that's so ingrained in our culture that it doesn't even have a direct English translation.
9. It's not something to be proud of, but they also put a premium on being maputi.
When they found out that a distant relative's new wife was Indonesian, the titas of Singapore quickly passed judgment and assumed she was maitim. A few chapters later, Eleanor's email to her estranged son included a remark about how the said wife was actually "very pretty and [had] very white skin." This is unfortunately something that happens in our society too, but we will never tire of reminding you that you don't have to be maputi to be pretty!