Superb Blurb: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Utterly ridiculous. Fantastically absurd. 80% dropped names (brand and sur), 20% story. This book is pure fluff. A lavish, nonsensical tower of cotton candy. Cotton candy made from heirloom sugar imported from a private island off the coast of India, flown on a private jet (upgraded from a B-2 Spirit), infused with coupé grade saffron and hand-pollinated and hand-picked vanilla from Madagascar, packed in an Hermes Rose Gold and Diamond Crocodile Birkin container, and served in a diamond-encrusted cone. Laughingly silly and, yet, there are people like this.  I know them.

In what is arguably the most materialistic city on earth, a city where the key mantra is prestige, the tongue-waggers within Hong Kong’s most prestigious chattering circles would agree that Edison Cheng lived a life to be envied. They would acknowledge that Eddie was born into a prestigious family (even though his Cheng lineage was, frankly, a bit common), had attended all the prestigious schools (nothing tops Cambridge, well… except Oxford), and now worked for Hong Kong’s most prestigious investment bank (though it was a pity he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor). At thirty-six, Eddie still retained his boyish features (getting a bit plump, but never mind—it made him look more prosperous); had chosen well by marrying pretty Fiona Tung (Hong Kong old money, but what a shame about that stock manipulation scandal her father had gotten into with Dato ‘ Tai Toh Lui); and his children, Constantine, Augustine, and Kalliste, were always so well-dressed and well-behaved (but that younger son, was he a bit autistic or something?).

Edison and Fiona lived in the duplex penthouse of Triumph Towers, one of the most sought-after buildings high on Victoria Peak (five bedrooms, six baths, more than four thousand square feet, not including the eight-hundred-square-foot terrace), where they employed two Filipino and two Mainland Chinese maids (the Chinese were better at cleaning, while the Filipinos were great with the kids). Their Biedermeier-filled apartment, decorated by the celebrated Hong Kong— based Austro-German decorator Kaspar von Morgenlatte to evoke a Hapsburg hunting schloss, had recently been featured in Hong Kong Tattle (Eddie was photographed preening at the bottom of his marble spiral staircase in a forest-green Tyrolean jacket, his hair slicked back, while Fiona, sprawled uncomfortably at his feet, wore a claret-colored gown by Oscar de la Renta).

In the parking garage of their building, they owned five parking spots (valued at two hundred and fifty thousand each), where their fleet consisted of a Bentley Continental GT (Eddie’s weekday car), an Aston Martin Vanquish (Eddie’s weekend car), a Volvo S40 (Fiona’s car), a Mercedes S550 (the family car), and a Porsche Cayenne (the family sport utility vehicle). At Aberdeen Marina, there was his sixty-four foot yacht, Kaiser. Then there was the holiday condo in Whistler, British Columbia (the only place to be seen skiing, since there was semi-decent Cantonese food an hour away in Vancouver).

Eddie was a member of the Chinese Athletic Association, the Hong Kong Golf Club, the China Club, the Hong Kong Club, the Cricket Club, the Dynasty Club, the American Club, the Jockey Club, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, and too many private dining clubs to recount. Like more upper-crust Hong Kongers, Eddie also possessed what was perhaps the ultimate membership card – Canadian Permanent Resident Cards for his entire family (a safe haven in case the powers that be in Beijing ever pulled a Tiananmen again). He collected watches, and now possessed more than seventy timepieces from the most esteemed watchmakers (all Swiss, of course, except for a few vintage Cartiers), which he installed in a custom-designed bird’s-eye maple display console in his private dressing room (his wife did not have her own dressing room). He had made Hong Kong Tattle’s “Most Invited” list four years in a row, and befitting a man of his status, he had already gone through three mistresses since marrying Fiona thirteen years ago.

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