The Jason Hahn Files: Let's Talk About 'Crazy Rich Asians'...

"'I mean, it’s quite fun trying to work out who the characters really are [in 'Crazy Rich Asians'],’ Amanda went on, ‘but, I mean, it’s not as if it’s 'War and Peace' or anything like that.'"

Months after she was given it as a birthday present, Amanda has finally finished reading Kevin Kwan’s bestseller Crazy Rich Asians.

“It’s not high literature though, is it?” she said the other day as she closed the back cover, put the book on her lap, and looked up at the ceiling and sighed.

Saffy shot a glance at me.“I mean, it’s quite fun trying to work out who the characters really are,” Amanda went on, “but, I mean, it’s not as if it’s War and Peace or anything like that.”

Saffy sighed. “Thank God it’s not, because if that book had been published today, it would have been in the sale bin by tomorrow!” 

She paused. “I really enjoyed it. Quite fun to read about Singapore without all the usual angst and depressed characters who are always hanging around void decks.”

“What I’m saying is that we could have written this book!” Amanda told her. “And then we’d be so rich now!”When Saffy repeated the conversation to Sharyn, her best friend rolled her eyes so far back she practically had rear vision. 

“Aiyah, you tink so easy write novel meh? If so easy, I oh-so write one ah, I tell you!” she said, shaking her head at the foolish pipe-dreams of some Harvard graduates.

“Dat Kevin Kwan so crah-va hor, write about the tai-tai and dee-ah secret. If he write about poor people in Singapore, who want to read?”

“Maybe people would read it if he wrote it, now that he’s famous?” Saffy suggested.

“What for you want to read about poor people?” Sharyn demanded. “You or-redi poor, why you want to waste money and buy a book and read about your own life?”

Saffy stiffened. “Excuse me, but I am not poor!”

“Okay lah, but you are not rich. And den hor, the rich people look at you, confirm dey tink you are poor one! Like you tink Mr Chan, our CEO, even know where the MRT station is?”

“Oh God, that’s just so depressing!”

“Yah lor! Why you tink I always buy 4D?”

Meanwhile, Amanda thinks that Sharyn may just have come up with the next big Singaporean bestseller. “No really!” she said the other day. “I honestly think Crazy Middle-Class Singaporeans would be such a bestseller! We’re middle-class! We could write it!”

Saffy looked doubtful. “It doesn’t really roll off the tongue though, does it? The title, I mean.”Amanda airily waved her hand. 

“Oh, we can always call it something else later. It’s just a working title.”“But what would it be about? What crazy things do we do?” Saffy asked. 

“I go to bed by 10pm! I eat takeaway lunches at my desk and every year, we take the same one week holiday to Bali!”

By the thoughtful silence and faraway look in her eyes, you could tell Amanda realised she’d hit a major snag in her quest for literary fame and Hollywood riches. Who, as Saffy later pointed out, would pay good money to watch Henry Golding sweat through lunch at Lau Pa Sat and then take the MRT home every night to his walk up in Toa Payoh for dinner with his mother, Michelle Yeoh? 

“Unless the whole movie he is naked lah!” Sharyn offered.Saffy brightened. 

“Oh my God, totally! Him and that Glee kid!”

“Which…” Amanda began“Dere… dat Hally Shooom!” Sharyn translated. Still mystified, Amanda turned to Saffy. “Harry Shum Jr!” said Singapore’s widely acknowledged Sharyn Whisperer. 

“Oh him!” Amanda sighed. “He is gorgeous. I mean, he was always gorgeous on Glee, but now that he’s been going to the gym… I mean, is he even legal?”

“Oh who cares?” Saffy puffed, now firmly in the grip of illegal cinematic lust. “Just a movie with Henry and Harry! The entire movie with just the two of them! Naked! And they wouldn’t even have to actually do anything! They could just walk up and down Orchard Road!”

“Ay,” Sharyn nudged Saffy. “Don’t forget Pierre Pung hor! In this movie, he oh-so naked, right?”Saffy moaned. “Totally! I completely forgot about him! Okay, the cast is Pierre Png, Harry Shum and Henry Golding. And they’re naked! The whole time!”

Sharyn clapped her hands. “And der title is Crazy Hot Naked Sing-gah-pore-ian’!”

“Oh my God, Shazz, that’s just genius!” Saffy told her, her voice vibrating with admiration. 

“Can you imagine the queues at Cathay? The whole country would come to a standstill!”Amanda looked into her future and saw dollar signs. "We’d be rich!”

“Filthy rich,” Saffy said.

This story first appeared in 8 DAYS issue #1453 (Aug 23, 2018).

Photo: Warner Bros 

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