Six in ten Singaporeans think Crazy Rich Asians constitutes ‘cultural appropriation’

Six in ten Singaporeans think Crazy Rich Asians constitutes ‘cultural appropriation’
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However, four in five think the film will boost tourism in the country

While Singapore-set film ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ has been a hit at the box office, Singaporeans have mixed feelings over the movie, new research from YouGov shows.

The survey of Singaporeans shows that many have reservations about certain aspects of the film. Overall, six in ten (59%) believe the movie constitutes cultural appropriation. However, while those who either have watched or want to watch the film believe it does constitute cultural appropriation, those who don’t want to view the movie disagree.

However, they are more positive in other areas. The film features an all-Asian cast, something welcomed by Singaporeans with nine in ten (89%) believing that Hollywood needs more Asian representation. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority believe the movie is beneficial to both Singapore’s tourism industry (88%) and that of Southeast Asia as a whole (84%).

While the film has created a stir, the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans have not yet watched it. Although nine in ten (90%) have heard of the movie and/or book, just 15% have seen the film since it premiered last month. However, almost half (49%) are interested in viewing it in the future.

Kevin Kwan

Singaporeans also have mixed feelings towards Kevin Kwan, the author of the book that the film was based on. Kwan defaulted on his National Service (NS) obligations and faces a fine of up to SGD 10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years. While almost two-thirds (65%) believe he has made Singapore proud, the remaining 35% disagree.

Jake Gammon, Head of YouGov Omnibus in APAC: “Crazy Rich Asians has caused a stir in Singapore since its release. However, many people have mixed views about it, with many acknowledging its potential power in boosting tourism while also feeling that it represents cultural appropriation. Only time will tell whether more people come to experience Singapore first-hand after seeing the film or whether it shapes their view of the country and some of its citizens.”

**Results based on 1,003 Singaporeans surveyed by YouGov Omnibus.