What are your thoughts on the movie Crazy Rich Asians?

I liked it, I guess as a Chinese-Canadian I’m glad to see a Hollywood movie come out that finally portrays Asian men in a positive light. In too many Hollywood movies, Asian girls and Asian men have been portrayed in a dichotomous way with double standards: Asian girls always the hot young beautiful sex fantasy for the white protagonist (see: Lucy Liu, Brenda Song, Jamie Chung, Zhang Ziyi etc) and the Asian guy some nerdy or kung fu stereotype (see: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Ken Jeong, Jimmy Yang the latter two who is coincidentally in this movie).

But for the first time since Bruce Lee’s films back in the 1970s we see Asian men being portrayed in an American movie… looking masculine. The scenes with the abs and topless and stuff is actually a huge barrier breaker more than people realize – how many American films have you seen where an Asian guy has been shown like that? again I don’t think since Bruce Lee. and that was 40 years ago.

The plot itself is nothing special – its typical Korean drama affair – but its the significance of this movie being a Hollywood racial barrier breaker that is the big deal here.

And not just that, but the cast is perfectly cast. All of the main characters more or less resemble who they are in real life. Constance Wu was born in Richmond, Virginia, she is that scrappy Asian American girl who finally made it big in Hollywood with Fresh Off the Boat. Henry Golding is that charming, handsome half-Asian guy who had never acted in any film before. Gemma Chan is a posh, sophisticated goddess who graduated from Oxford – prim and proper just like her role as Astrid. Awkwafina was once an unemployed New Yorker – now she’s a successful actress and music artist and just as quirky and funny as her role here.

These Asian American / Asian British stars lived the American Dream, and I think much more than the actual movie itself, I enjoyed the movie for its significance in bringing Asians (especially for men) back into a positive light once again. No more stereotypical kung fu / nerdy guys.. this proves to Americans (Korean drama fans already know this) that Asian men can be both masculine and sexy and be romantic..

What would happen if China opened up trade during Qing Dynasty and modernized early?

Would entirely change China’s history. If Qing emperors weren’t so close minded and xenophobic and actually opened up their country to trade circa 1700s, everything would change.

First of all, China would be the first to industrialize in Asia, not Japan. If Japan did not industrialize first, it would have lost to China and the Sino-Japanese Wars (both of them) would end up with Japan being defeated. The Opium wars similarly might not have ended up as lopsided as it did. Same for Boxer Rebellion. If the late Qing emperors (after Qianlong) were actually competent (let’s not forget Dowager Cixi made some crucial mistakes as well), China’s Qing dynasty might have lasted another 100 years.

China would not have lost Hong Kong to the British. They would have not have lost Taiwan to Japan. Korea would likely still have been taken over by Japan but it’s possibly Japan would not have taken over Manchuria because Qing would have defended that.

If Qing held on to their territories and defended themselves well and had competent emperors, Xinhai revolution would not have happened and ROC would not exist which also means PRC would not exist. If Qing lasts another 100 years, your guess is as good as mine because I have no idea honestly what would have happened there. It’s probable that Japan would not have become as powerful as it was, the Japanese Empire would be weakened, China would have been stronger, and perhaps that would have led to a Cold War era with three superpowers: USA, USSR and China. Likely China would end up closer to something like Russia’s government today? Which ironically, is not too different from what China is now. (but China would have avoided the Mao-era with the famines / cultural revolution)

Are South Koreans arrogant and superficial as they say to be?

No, not in general. I find Koreans to be actually quite humble about themselves and perhaps insecure as well. You gotta understand Korea is a very Confucian country and has a strict hierarchy. As a general rule you cannot show arrogance to your boss or higher ups, it’s not tolerated. You must show humility.

Most Koreans live cookie cutter lives where they are expected to study all day as a student and work all day as an adult. When I suggested to my Korean friends to start their own company, or work abroad, they were too scared to take any risks like that and lacked any confidence in their English, also most Koreans are very loyal to their parents and don’t like to be far away from them.

Do most Koreans think they are better than Chinese/Japanese? For that I don’t think so because in general Koreans don’t really care about geopolitics. Many Chinese pre-occupy themselves so much with making enemies with Koreans/Japanese but for Koreans they are mostly apathetic to that. I’ve never heard Koreans say that their country is the best, merely they have pride in their country (but that is normal for any country’s citizens). So I must say I don’t think Koreans are arrogant at all. Even the most beautiful girls I met in Seoul or Busan would not generalize and say that their women are better than Chinese/Japanese women.

On the other hand I have experienced quite the opposite with another certain group of people Tong Zou’s answer to Are the Chinese people losing their natural humility and turning arrogant?

As for superficial, in the appearance sense yes Koreans are superficial. They will judge you on your hair, your clothes, your style, your makeup, etc. In the materialistic sense, not really. Not as much as Chinese are anyways. I’ve never had any Korean girl ask me about my salary (many Chinese girls do this to me), nor are they interested in what brands or stuff I wear or what car I drive. None of my ex-girlfriends cared about that at all. So I must say that Koreans are superficial but not as materialistic as people believe.

Keep in mind, people like to call me a Korean sympathizer or a Chinese traitor or whatever (most recently I shared a post on my profile talking about how China boycotting Korean goods because of the THAAD was an extremely petty move and got hate for it from Chinese people), but if you look at all my answers, I always write what I believe to be the truth and to be as unbiased as I can. It may seem like I write alot of anti-Chinese or pro-Korean posts but it’s not because I am taking sides, I am just writing from what I have experienced personally in my life, having lived in China and lived in Korea, and making lots of Chinese and Korean friends. For example I say negative things about Korea too: Tong Zou’s answer to What do non-Koreans dislike about Korean culture and Korean people? As you can see I am not biased to any race or culture. I consider myself a Canadian above all else. That means I don’t blindly believe everything the CCP does is good, nor do I hate Chinese nor do I think Koreans are the best, or anything. If I have disagreements with Chinese people, its because I think they are too biased to their own country, not because I hate China and am a traitor or US puppet or something, so… I hope people can understand that.