Reading: Rich People’s Problems by Kevin Kwan


The final book to Kevin Kwan’s best-seller trilogy, I enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians and Rich People’s Problems best. The denouement moves quick in this final book and is a real page-turner. I suppose I particularly enjoyed it for its anecdotal history of the war and Japanese occupation, My late grandmother used to tell us similar stories and we lost our late grandfather at in his late 20s to the Japanese occupation when my dad was born.

I loved all the bits about Su Yi the Matriarch, her diaries, secret affair (and the plot twist in offspring and will) as well as the anecdotal nuggets on her prized vintage possessions.

According to what we were told growing u – which I’m not sure how much of it is embellishment, my own late grandfather Ah Ye was a really successful businessman who also spoke English, French and German and was way ahead of his times with many businesses from trading to textiles and also owned aces of fruit trees and rubber plantations.

I suppose that was all shortlived as his name doesn’t appear in our history textbooks alongside the pioneer philanthropists and plantation magnates like Tan Kah Kee, Whampoa etc. It turns out that my great grandfather was one of the founding members of Singapore’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

My late grandmother was a second wife with 7 children and the bulk of the inheritance went to the first and only son of Ah Ye’s first wife. If any of that wealth remained in the family and grew over generations, that would probably put my life in the league of all these people I went to school with (MGS and ACS feature heavily in Kwan’s books.)

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