I recently watched Crazy Rich Asians and outside of my take away that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie was the way the film branded Singapore. In particular, I loved the clothes, the culture, and particularly the food. Before I get into the culture, I am aware of the controversy that the movie dealt with and still deals with regarding the movie’s decision to focus primarily on Singapore’s Chinese. Chinese in Singapore make up the majority demographic, but there is a large contingent of Malays, Indians, and other ethnicities which make up a quarter of Singapore’s citizens. You can read more about this in a New York Times article titled, For Some Viewers, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is Not Asian Enough.
I am not using this platform to address these issues as this is my blog and I wanted to celebrate the achievement of branding in the sense of engaging the audience. I have to tell you that Singapore has instantly risen to the top of my list of locations that I plan on visiting very soon. The actors and people depicted in the movie played their roles well, but the movie’s success I believe is on the environment created around them.
The movie showed off Singapore in an attractive and alluring way to the Western world. The film became a sort of visual postcard on why you should visit here. The costume designer Mary E. Vogt, set decorator Andrew Baseman, and production designer Nelson Coates deserve applause for their work on the film. There is something to be said for the power of blending old-world aesthetics with the modern day. They were able to consistently drive these points home from the family home, the wedding, and the first few scenes of Singapore when Rachel, Nick, Araminta, and Colin attend Lau Pa Sat also known as Telok Ayer Market for satay.
I thought the decision of introducing the audience to Singapore in this way smart. The environment of the market fast-paced filled with people enjoying themselves is something you rarely see these days. These type of group moments are few in far between in film or even real life. I think that is why we all enjoy markets and food courts so much well at least those that do not have anxiety. Outside of the satay, the one dish could not get enough of thinking about was ice kacang. This combination of ingredients in one dessert all I can say is where can I get a bowl. I included videos in the bottom for those interested in learning about what goes into making both dishes.