This chapter critically interrogates the politics of cultural translation in the Hollywood romantic comedy, Crazy Rich Asians, which is adapted from Singaporean American author Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel of the same title and directed by Asian American director Jon M. Chu. Situating the film within the discourse of the economic rise of Asia, I read Crazy Rich Asians as a cinematic instance of cultural translation that embodies the contradictions of mediating cultures in a global context. Far from an ignorant and naïve process, Chu’s filmic translation hews to the narrative of Asia’s spectacular rise in order to empower Asian Americans in white America. Such an appropriative mode of translation is, however, not unproblematic, as it is predicated upon the convenient erasure of Southeast Asia in a capitalist narrative that pivots around a China-dominant Asia. This is a grand narrative that postcolonial Singapore partakes in as part of its national self-branding. Yet simultaneously, the film’s poetics of excess also operates as a visual rejoinder to its parodic potential and self-critique: that its affirmation of global Chinese capital is based upon an amnesia of Singapore and Southeast Asia at large, where capitalism has engendered profound inequalities along racial and class lines. Copyright © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Grace V.S. Chin; individual chapters, the contributors.
|Title of host publication||Translational politics in Southeast Asian literatures: Contesting race, gender, and sexuality|
|Editors||Grace V.S. CHIN|
|Place of Publication||Oxon; New York|
|ISBN (Print)||9780367470234, 9780367741099|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|