‘Crazy Rich Asians’: A Glimpse At Singapore’s Crazy Lifestyle | Review #2

If you’ve not heard of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ yet, I think you’re actually living in a cave because that’s basically impossible: this movie has been the “talk in town” for months now, but it actually has almost as much lovers as it has haters, which was to be expected. However, something else interested me in that story.


Crazy Rich Asians’: A Bit Of Background

This movie is based on Kevin Kwan’s bestseller book of the same name first of a trilogy followed ‘China Rich Girlfriend‘ and ‘Rich People Problems‘. Most of the story is set in Singapore, because the male main character has his whole family living there.

The Story. – You would believe a movie attracting so much attention has an interesting plot but actually it hasn’t. It’s your basic romantic movie plot, with a guy and a girl, loving each other, who’ve been together for a year. The guy takes the opportunity of having to go to his best friend’s wedding to ask his girlfriend to tag along and at the same time, meet his family.

She eventually meets the family, but doesn’t get along with the mother (what a shock!) because apparently, she’s not good enough for her son – so the mother-in-law gets in the way of her son’s relationship, breaking them apart. However, the girl makes a fight for it, and they end up together once more.

The Twists. – There are two twists added to that story:

  • the family is Chinese, and actually quite traditional;
  • and it is one of Singapore’s richest one, which is saying something knowing that Singapore gathers some of the richest people on Earth.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the story, even though it is basic because a story doesn’t have to be complicated to be entertaining, and I loved the film. I’ve even started reading the book, which is also quite good.

But of course, that same story has been a story ever since stories have been invented (story-ception?) and, well, in this particular case, it actually gets quite old.

Plus the fact that everything seems very superficial: the background stories, the  conversations, the character development, the shots… you can end up pretty bored if you don’t know what you’re getting in advance.

The trailer says it all:

So What’s The Fuss All About?

The Good Sides. – The film has mainly been the talk in town for one thing: its cast is ENTIRELY Asian. Which has (apparently) never occurred in a Hollywood production.

So Westerners get excited because it means mentalities are finally changing, and Easterners get excited because they see it as a new era.

Also, the film is actually quite funny as well, but for the first time in a big Hollywood production, in an Asian kind of way, meaning there are a lot of inside jokes for Asian people.

Goh Peik Lin character, talking to Rachel about how she thinks her mother-in-law sees her, taking into account Rachel is an Asian who’s always lived in the USA.

She just thinks you’re some like unrefined banana. Yellow on the outside, and white on the inside.”

The Bad Sides. – But not everyone likes it. The movie was expected to reach a climax point upon its release in China, but it’s been a true disaster.

Mainly about the fact that the outstanding majority of Chinese people are not rich at all, and such a display of Asia’s richest people lifestyle can in fact seem bitter to them, which I can understand.

Such a depiction of distorted reality of Asia goes in fact directly against their life (and spirit) principle of yin and yang, and rips apart the equilibrium and balance that is supposed to be one’s main goal in life.

If you’re interested in this topic, I suggest you go and read this article, that is actually quite well written: (amongst many, many others)

The Reasons Why You Should Go And See It

  1. It’s entertaining. Most of the characters are quite funny, though also quite cliche, but it’s not that annoying.
  2. It’s a great introduction to what life in Singapore’s life is like. At one point in the movie, you can see the characters go to a hawker center, a Singaporean food court, and have the best time eating some of the best food they ever tasted, which is really accurate. Some hawker stalls even have Michelin stars! / Every location the characters go to in town is also accurate, meaning that locals actually go there, and the love of BIG and BIGGER parties is also very true. So all in all, it’s 80% accurate.
  3. Michelle Yeoh plays in it. She plays the mother-in-law. Michelle Yeoh’s like the Asian Queen for me. I’ll never forget her part in ‘Memoirs of a Geisha‘. Unbelievably accurate acting.
  4. A very original Original Soundtrack. It was soooo funny to hear ‘Yellow’ (Coldplay) sung in Chinese, as well as a jazzy song in Chinese which I currently listen to all day (Sorry not sorry!).

Hope you enjoyed reading my blog post about ‘Crazy Rich Asians’! This blog post is the first movie review I write, but I always wanted to write reviews about movies, having always been quite a film-lover myself!

All in all, I must have seen about 300 movies in my life so far, and always have a HUUUUUGE list of must-watch I have to go through! (same as books really, my list always seems to expand by itself…)

In any case, if you liked to read me don’t forget to like this blog post and subscribe to my blog to know when I publish more content!

Thank you so much for reading,

And until next time,

Lilly

aka The French Hat

Adapting To My Whole New Life | Sat’Update #1

Day: Saturday 1st December (afternoon).

Location: Starbucks, at Bugis+ (Singapore Mall in the city center).

Last event(s): finding an apartment in Singapore, moving in and starting on my new job.

Next event(s): going to IKEA to find what furniture I’m missing for my apartment.

Current state of mind: tired but getting used to Singapore.

Current state of body: still completed knackered + lacking sleep and food.


So these Sat’Updates are going to be a great way for me to talk to you directly through my blog! 🙂

Okay. So last Saturday I moved into my newly found apartment here in Singapore, which finally allowed me to breathe a little bit. I was so worried for the week before guys: I just couldn’t seem to find good apartments, even though I was visiting a lot of them. Everything was either too old or too expensive or both. Or too far away.

In the end, I found an apartment that was just right for me, and after that, I slept for almost 2 days straight: worrying so much had exhausted me, and I also wanted to be at the top of my game for my new job starting the next Monday (November 26).

My week was very tiring, and challenging, but now that weekend is here, I’m starting to feel better, and a bit more used to the city and its way of living. Starting to get my marks here. 🙂

For now, things are still a bit hectic, because I still don’t have internet at my new place: I’ll be getting it in 10 days, on December 10th, and after that everything will be back to normal I promise!

I have a LOT to tell you about my first days here, and my first thoughts and impressions, so stay tuned for lots of interesting and insightful contents!


Until next time, take care of yourself,

Lilly,

aka The French Hat

‘Traveling’ In Translation: In-Between Worlds | World Tour #9

Yes this title is an attempt to make a pun with the title of Sofia Coppola’s masterful movie ‘Lost in Translation‘, which you would all have watched, I am sure.


So we left Las Vegas with a somewhat sore feeling. After being forced to get a cab from the hotel to go to McCarran International Airport, when no other option was left to us, and waiting for several hours at the airport (where we felt more at ease than anywhere else in Vegas at that point), we eventually took off and escaped from the Nevada desert, happy as ever to leave the sounds of the slot machines behind us.

It was Monday the 23rd of July, and on that day I set foot in Los Angeles for the first time in my life.

Those Weird Hours In Between

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We had almost 24 hours until our next plane, which would carry us in more than 10 hours, to Japan.

Things went smoothly, so we didn’t have to think about it. From the airport, we took the free shuttle to our hotel (what a change after Las Vegas!), checked in the huuuuge beautiful room we booked and we proceeded to chill out.

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We didn’t even go out of the hotel to explore Los Angeles a bit, but honestly we weren’t in the mood to do so. Things are a little blurry but from what I can remember, we went to the hotel restaurant and ate very good food, and then I watched a movie my father had told me about on the flight that day, which I had wanted to see ever since it was released in 2004: ‘Flight Plan‘ with Jodie Foster, a thriller set on a plane which was interestingly written, but scared me about planes when I wasn’t even scared…

Preparing Yourself For A Whole Other World And An Inevitable Culture Shock

All I could think about was counting the hours separating me from leaving the US and FINALLY landing to Japan, and seeing it for myself, after so many years of wondering how it would be like.

For the record, I have been learning Japanese for almost 2 years now, and obviously learning about the culture as well, from many different sources (YouTube, books, TV shows, Netflix, documentaries, social media and so on). So I already knew a lot about Japan. In fact, in some ways even more than I knew about the US… That’s something I’ve already talked about, but what I knew from the US before our trip all came from 70s to 90s TV shows and movies. Nothing current.

I had the same level of excitement for Japan that I got for New York City, which is saying something because I had wanted to go to New York since before I could even have memories… I can’t even describe how happy I was.

That night I couldn’t sleep very well either, which was expected…

I knew well enough how much of a disorientation and culture shock we would feel when arriving in Japan, and what’s more, in Tokyo. I tried to explain it as much as I could to my father. I remember I told him about:

  • the fact that the weather there was extremely hot and humid (because it was summer), which neither of us had ever felt before;
  • the fact that nothing was his size there (my father’s really tall), especially in Tokyo and especially after staying in the US for 2 weeks, where everything is too big;
  • the fact that people smoke in restaurants, but aren’t allowed to smoke in streets except in very specific areas;
  • the fact that there is A LOT MORE PEOPLE everywhere, especially in Tokyo;
  • and of course the simple fact that we were going to leave one continent for another, and not any one of the continents: we were going to leave the America for Asia! Which would have been okay if either of us had ever been to Asia before, but we hadn’t. A huge culture shock was inevitable.

He listened alright. And as I talked about it, I tried my best to really think about it. But in the end, neither of us was truly prepared for what was coming.

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Ever wondered where Sofia Coppola got her title from for her famous movie? Well I’ll just leave that quote here for you to think about…

“Poetry is what is lost in translation. It is also what is lost in interpretation.”

Robert Frost

Until next time,

With love,

Lilly

I Left France For Singapore! | J’ai quitté la France pour Singapour | Expatriation #2

MY SECOND VLOG: I LEFT FRANCE FOR SINGAPORE!

On my YouTube Channel Lilly Out And About!

Don’t forget to go and subscribe to it to support me 🙂


MON SECOND VLOG : JE PARS SEULE A SINGAPOUR !

Sur ma chaîne YouTube Lilly Out And About !

N’oubliez pas d’aller vous abonner pour me soutenir 🙂

The Big Move! | Le grand déménagement ! | Expatriation #1

MY FIRST VLOG: THE BIG MOVE!

The big day has arrived: I’ve uploaded my very first vlog on my brand new YouTube channel! As promised I’ve created a YouTube channel for vlogs, videos about Singapore, expatriation tips, and even more to come! My channel name is Lilly Out And About! Don’t forget to go and subscribe to it to support me 🙂

I’m really getting into this vlogging thing actually, so I may upload daily vlogs, we’ll see! I’m guessing everything in my new life in Singapore will be interesting to see, but of course let me know whether you’d like to see specific content!

I really hope you like it, I’ve put my heart into this! ❤


MON PREMIER VLOG : LE GRAND DEMENAGEMENT !

Le grand jour est arrivé : j’ai posté mon tout premier vlog sur ma toute nouvelle chaîne YouTube ! Comme je l’avais promis, j’ai créé une chaîne YouTube pour mes vlogs, vidéos sur Singapour, astuces sur l’expatriation, et bien plus à venir ! Le nom de ma chaîne YouTube c’est Lilly Out And About ! N’oubliez pas d’aller vous abonner pour me soutenir 🙂

En fait j’aime vraiment bien vlogguer, donc je vais peut-être faire des vlogs quotidiens, on verra ! J’imagine que tout ce que je vais vivre ici sera intéressant à voir, mais bien sûr n’hésitez pas à me dire si vous souhaitez voir du contenu en particulier!

J’espère que vous aimerez, j’y ai mis tout mon coeur ! ❤

Bear With Me: I’m Only Switching Continents! | Sat’Update #1

Day: November 17 (morning).

Location: at a friend’s house, in Suresnes (Parisian suburbs).

Last event(s): leaving my apartment in France.

Next event(s): expatriation in Asia coming in approximately 30 hours.

Current state of mind: not ready for what’s coming tomorrow.

Current state of body: completed knackered.


I just wanted to update you guys on my life because everything went so fast I didn’t have a chance to post anything on my cherished blog for about 2 weeks!

Those last two weeks easily were the busiest two weeks of my entire life: I’ve moved out of my apartment in Versailles (France), said goodbye to Versailles Palace, and that took my friends and family (and I) three days in total (saturday morning until monday evening). For three days, I had to stay alert without discontinuing, which was extremely exhausting.

But I’ve done it, and now I’ve moved out and most of my stuff is in transit, between here and there… Lost in Translation? haha just kiddin’, I’m way too tired to make witty remarks xD

I’ve even vlogged everything so that you’ll be able to see! We’ll talk about my YouTube channel and its future in another blogpost, but I’m just saying: you’ll have a Moving Vlog coming your way soon 🙂

Soooo yes, my main photo for this blogpost is quite blurry on purpose: this is only meant as a teaser for my upcoming vlog!! Tell me whether you’re excited about it, I sure am myself!!!

Anyway, I am leaving France tomorrow evening, and I’ll be arriving in Asia on Monday afternoon.

IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?!


See you on my next round of adventures!

Lilly,

aka The French Hat

Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8

We left San Francisco feeling refreshed and reconciled with the United States… Little did we know we would spend the worst 3 days of our trip in Las Vegas, despite us being so excited to go!


Can an introduction get more gloomy than that?

The thing is, we didn’t enjoy Las Vegas as much as we would have liked to. It all started on the evening of July 21st, Saturday, which was the day we flew out to Las Vegas from San Francisco.

We just started off from the wrong foot I think.

Slot Machines Everywhere

Our first impression of the city, or rather the airport, was actually funny: the first thing we saw when entering the airport after land-off were slot machines, right at the exit of our gate! We were in Las Vegas for sure, no doubt about it!

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And then, we went outside.

Oh. My. God.

That heat. 40 degrees Celsius, 104 degrees Farenheit. If you’ve never been in a desert, you can’t understand what I mean but my skin actually tingled under this heat!

The Hunt For Public Transportation

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Getting out of the airport, we tried, and I do mean we tried, to take a public transport to join our hotel. But there was nothing available. It was basically impossible.

There was public transport, we could see buses going around, but it said on the bus stop you couldn’t go on board without a ticket but there wasn’t any ticket machines ANYWHERE, neither outside nor inside the airport. We asked, no one could answer, no one knew.

That was incredible. So, to recap, in every single country, in every single town, you had a choice of either take the public transit from an airport, or take a cab, to go in town.

But not in Las Vegas.

Because you see, if you’re coming to Vegas it means you’re prepared to waste your money, so why not start right now?!

I was boiling. My father was pissed off. We were FORCED to pay 20 dollars each to take a taxi.

The Land of Ocean’s Eleven

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The Legendary Strip, Las Vegas

Anyway, after that experience, we arrived at our hotel, which was a bit ex centered from the Strip, but actually fine. Despite the fact that the staff was late for more than 2 hours to give us our room. But, let’s talk about nicer things.

One of my favourite movies of all times is Ocean’s Eleven, both:

  • the first film of 1960 with Frank Sinatra playing a perfect Danny Ocean, and also Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop,
  • and the remake of 2001, with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and so on.

And one of my favourite quotes from the film was dancing in my head while we went outside again in the heat, to go and see our first casino: the one and only Caesar’s Palace.

“You guys are pros. The best. I’m sure you can make it out of the casino. Of course, lest we forget, once you’re out the front door, you’re still in the middle of the fucking desert!” Reuben, adressing to Rusty and Danny

LV

The Caesar’s Palace was actually incredible both outside and inside: this was to become my favourite of all the casinos, thanks to the atmosphere, the architecture and the decorations inside. I loved it!

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My father being a fan of Gordon Ramsay, we went to eat at one of the many restaurants he holds in Vegas, and it was absolutely delicious… The Pub & Grill was inside the Caesar’s Palace, and it wasn’t even that expensive!

 

 

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After that we went for a walk inside the casino, which took us about an hour just to see one side of the casino, and the sights were incredible: the giant shopping mall (because beside playing, the only thing left to do is shopping) felt like it was outside, thanks to the huuuuuuge illusory sky, put under the high ceiling.

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Okay, THAT illusory sky was incredible. I can’t say otherwise, and we were awed that first night.

We went to bed on a rare kind of hype: we knew that most people around us in that desert would not sleep that night, stuck in front of slot machines, blackjack and poker tables, where we left them.

New York City isn’t the only city that never sleeps after all.

The Hunt For The Best Casino

“The Strip” is how you call the boulevard containing the bulk of the most famous casinos in the world. It starts from the Las Vegas Sign “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” at the south, that you will most certainly see if you come to the city by road.

Here is the Strip:

The Strip

As you can guess on this map, the casinos are HUGE buildings, built one after the other on either side of the boulevard.

After that first night, my father and I proceeded to go and see all the casinos:

  • The Flamingo: it seemed a bit old next to the others, like coming straight up from the 70s. Lots of tables to play card games, as I can recall.
  • The LINQ: we definitely passed through it to go and see the Venetian but I can’t remember a single thing about it! In fact, the casinos all looked the same except the most famous ones.
  • The Venetian and The Palazzo: okay. The Venetian rivaled with my favourite casino so far, the Caesar’s Palace. That casino was incredible both outside and inside. They had recreated Venice’s gondolas and canals! And Saint Mark’s Square! The Palazzo was the five star hotel of the same complex.

 

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  • Trump International Hotel: by the time we got out of the Venetian complex, it was midday, and when we looked at our next destination, we saw another building, far away in the distance, that looked ENTIRELY made of gold: of course it had to be the Trump Hotel. It was too far away, and looked a bit ‘too much’… but I bet the view of the Strip from there is incredible.
  • Treasure Island: we didn’t end up going either because it was too far away and the heat was unbearable…
  • The Mirage: I remember this hotel-casino perfectly because of its decorations inside: they had recreated a jungle under a glass roof with sounds of tropical fauna and flora being broadcasted!
  • Next was Caesar’s Palace that we’d already explored the night before, so we only passed through it. We also ate there, but the food wasn’t that great. Or maybe it was the heat that got the best of me.

By that time, after seeing all those things that looked incredible but absolutely insane considering we were in the middle of the desert, our enthusiasm began to decrease slowly. Such a display of who got the best decorations, inspiration, and theme… all of this with water in any form, it was nonsense!

We made a halt at our hotel on Flamingo Road, and took a little nap before going out again.

  • The Bellagio: ahhhh, the famous one, the one from Ocean’s Eleven, in front of which is shot the most beautiful scene of the whole movie – maybe one of the best scenes EVER (if you don’t know what I mean, go and watch it RIGHT NOW: here). It was beautiful inside, and we wandered around for quite a long time.
  • The New York Hotel: from the Bellagio we took the air train to the New York Hotel. Besides Venice, Paris, and Rome, there was a hotel (with a giant mall inside again) around the theme of New York. A Broadway version of NYC streets were recreated inside, with big luminous signs and such
  • The Luxor: Okay, that one was insane too. It had the shape of an enormous Egyptian pyramid, and the hotel rooms were disposed along its sides, all the way to the top!

 

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  • Mandala Bay, The MGM Grand, Excalibur…: we saw the outside we gave up seeing each and every casino because they were so far away from each other, and the heat really was unbearable. You have to realize, it was 45°C, 113°F. It made my skin prickle, actually boiling under the sun! However, we did see the MGM Grand but it wasn’t that great compared to the other casinos we saw. Or maybe we were just fed up to see the same thing again, and again.

What Shocked Me In Vegas

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  • No security to enter the buildings: I was so used to France’s terrorism counter-plan that I was shocked to see we could enter and exit any of the casinos and hotels without being supervised or checked. Of course cameras were everywhere, and considering I looked underage (despite being almost 25…) I was told off by cashiers walking around many times, when I approached some tables and walked among slot machines (before I told them my age, obviously). Which makes room for another funny quote from Ocean’s Eleven:

“I know more about casino security than any man alive, I invented it, and it cannot be beaten. They got cameras, they got locks, they got watchers, they got timers, they got vaults, they got enough armed personnel to occupy Paris!

… Okay, bad example.” Reuben, addressing to Rusty and Danny

  • Air conditioning & fountains everywhere: could Vegas be more of a pain in the ass of the Earth? I think not. All this fun is actually destroying our planet. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do some researches about Lake Mead and how Las Vegas literally drained it over the last few years, alongside other phreatic tables… So of course, it depressed me after a while.
  • People dressed like strip dancers all the time: even during the day! I can understand the need of being almost naked under the heat, and especially during the night, but during the day? It was like people were partying non-stop! And of course that’s what they did.
  • People allowed to smoke & drink everywhere, inside & outside: I witnessed with my own eyes the absence of restrictive laws in the Nevada state… but it was too much. People were going crazy. Hopefully we didn’t smoke, and only drank a little bit.

The End Of The (S)Trip

All in all, we spent 2 nights and 2 days in Vegas, from Saturday the 21st until Monday the 23rd, and it was too long; we eventually got bored on Monday morning and went back to McCarran International Airport 3 hours early.


And that concludes our trip to Las Vegas, which I won’t talk about again. Sure it was something to see once in your lifetime, but only once! I’ll probably never go back again for visiting, maybe for work and even then, I think I’ll pass. Vegas wasn’t for me!

And our journey continued from there to Los Angeles!

Until next time,

Lilly

aka The French Hat


Want to know what happened next during our summer trip around the world? Keep up with our adventures in my World Tour series!