Crazy Rich Asians, the hyped rom-com about the rich elite of Singapore, which just got released in the States last week, has already gotten into controversy as some Asian netizens were not too happy with lack of representation of ‘brown Asians’. Based on a book written by Kevin Kwan, the film did amazingly well in the US box office albeit having a majority Asian cast. But the author himself might be facing bigger problems than (mis-)cultural representation if he ever stepped foot in his home country, Singapore.
Apparently, Kwan skipped his mandatory national service and left the country without a valid exit-permit when he moved to the States at age 11. To date, Kwan is still a Singaporean citizen, and if convicted, will face a SG$10,000 (RM29,968) fine and 3 years of jail time according to Singapore’s Ministry of Defence.
No wonder he was suspiciously missing when the movie premiered in Singapore on Tuesday. While some of the stars of Crazy Rich Asians walked down the red carpet with hundreds of fans cheering them, Kwan was absent although he did attend the premier in Hollywood.
Singapore’s defence ministry revealed that Kwan “failed to register for National Service in 1990” even though notices and letter were sent to his overseas address. As such the known author committed offences under the enlistment act.
In Singapore, male citizens are required to undergo two years of national service when they turn 18. They can either serve in the military, police or civil defence force. Kwan attempted to give up his Singapore citizenship in 1994 but his application and following appeal were rejected due to his negligence to complete national service.
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