Crazy Rich Asians From A Crazy Not-So-Rich Asian Perspective

Picture this.

You’re 5 years old: Your dream job is a princess but if that doesn’t work out, you’ll be an actress/singer instead. The world is yours and you don’t see yourself different from any of your friends. You love yourself and everyone else for who they are. Your biggest problem is deciding whether to colour in crayon or texter.

At 12: Still blasting Hannah Montana and the soundtrack of a very popular Disney Channel movie with a lead who looked kind of like you… But claimed for years she was Mexican/Hispanic… but you know for sure she’s half Asian hmm. You’re obsessed with The Twilight Saga and at lunch you and your friends role play but you can’t be Bella, or Alice, or Rosalie – you can be Leah (the Native American supporting character). Btw, bringing a home cooked lunch to school, especially if it involves rice is ‘different’, and not in a good way but your mama’s cooking is delicious so you let the haters hate. But the thought does creep in – sometimes you wish you were white.

At 15: Writing and telling stories is your favourite thing and you are still so in love with performing. You’re geared with dance, singing and acting training and experience. Sushi is now very cool and trendy. Your classmates make racist jokes because they ‘forget’ you’re a person of colour or because ‘you’re not like the others’. You audition for the lead of your school musical – that Disney one that you so dearly love that meant to display diversity. You lose out on the supporting lead to a stereotype white girl. You are an advocate for the most talented and therefore appropriate person doing the job… The lead cast is 100% white. Your favourite movies/TV shows consist of a Caucasian cast, if there was an Asian – they played a minor role, you don’t remember the character let alone the actor. When people hear you want to be involved in showbiz they give you a look (oooh, acting is tough, there’s not a lot of roles for…). You take a look at available jobs and they’re looking for white girls – blonde and blue eyes, brunette and big eyes etc. You want to be so proud of your cultural identity but still can’t help occasionally but imagine how convenient it would be to be white or at the very least, a natural blonde. You think they’re right. Maybe you’re not profitable as a lead. You think back to when there was an Asian lead character and besides London Tipton and Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels #badass, nothing really stands out. All the other roles seem to be martial arts, restaurant owner related or a friend to the lead.

You’re now 20: Up until this point, you became increasingly disappointed with Hollywood and their casting choices that made Asian actors second class, casting white actresses in roles that should’ve gone to equally talented Asian actors. You first watch this movie with your best friend. The final scene plays out and by this point you have both cried from laughter (Awkwafina & Ken Jeong are gold wow) and gotten emotional (the wedding oh my), you are now crying tears of joy with the perfect ending to a wholly marvellous movie. We exit the theatre and she says “That was amazing, I forgot they were Asian.” We have become so accustomed to white people telling stories on screen, many people in the industry saw a movie such as this one high-risk but if you can imagine, on a world population scale, being Asian is the majority so it’s astounding the last American made movie with an Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club (1993) – 25 YEARS AGO?!?? You get home and begin to cry again, you cannot believe you just witnessed a beautiful love story for mainstream viewing loaded with a crazy talented fully Asian cast with an obviously incredible production crew. You watch it for a second time but now with your family. Your parents say they could watch this film over and over again.

You are so proud to be Asian, worthy of being represented as intelligent and eloquent, as beautiful and elegant, as sexy and well-dressed, as relatable and multidimensional, and just as a human with a great story. You hope everyone sees this movie. You never want a young girl who looks like you or the cast of Crazy Rich Asians to doubt her dreams are achievable because of a dry spell of representation. You are so much more than your race and to have a movie that displays that but happens to show the cultural side of being Asian is so important. You are so proud.

This is the movie you needed more than you knew.

With love and light always, M ♥️

 

’16 Going On ’17

200Dear 2016,

The time has come to say goodbye and with that may you take away any negative energy left with you.  Thank you for allowing me to meet some of the most beautiful people inside and out I have ever known – the circle of people I was surrounded by this year was just so good and I hope it continues that way. To those that left, whether you come back or not is entirely up to you – I am grateful for the times we shared and will never forget our moments together.   Thank you for providing me a year of firsts and memorable ones they were. You’ve been a rollercoaster and I don’t think I have ever been filled with so many different emotions in a short space of time… I experienced full on joyful laughter whilst crying hysterically. Curse the insomnia and the anxious nights but that all shaped the outcome of today and though at the time I did not remember, I feel safe knowing I will never be thrown a challenge too big for me to overcome. I am grateful for the lesson/s that there are no guarantees and understanding that nothing should be forced, not even the force that should always be with you 😉 Thank you for the blessings and opportunities you graced upon my family, friends and I. 🙂

200-1

Dear 2017,

Welcome! As usual we will continue to dream big and I am so excited for what is in store for everyone. I hope more and more people come to the realisation that Black Lives Matter and that this is a year forward for feminism – and no I do not mean the feminazi but for feminists.  I also hope that Asian and other ethnic actors are given more opportunities to be the leading lady/man. The reality is that you may not be a whole lot greater than last year, but it is in the hope that you could be that makes it great.  I hope we as a collective learn that only love will drive out hate, and that means a lot more than adding a hashtag in front of a trend, it is in times like today that actions are what are needed and even if we are far away from the trouble and burdens in our world that we do what we are able to. Like always, there will be personal obstacles – hopefully not too harsh but even so we’ll just embrace it. Ready or not, let’s make this year a memorable one. I’m sure the best is yet to come.

365 new days means 365 new chances. Don’t waste a single one. I wish you and your family a safe and happy year filled with good things! My choice of poison is champagne… Whatever yours may be, celebrate responsibly x 🙂

With love and light always, M ❤

18 Important Things I’ve Learnt Before 18

I’d like to think I’ve been taught some really useful life lessons on this journey so far and before I become a legal adult (18 damnnn), I’d like to share with you 18 of my favourites.

  1. It’s all about priorities… Prioritising wisely is probably one of the best pieces of advices I could give someone right now. 
  2. Friends will come and go and that’s okay, sometimes it’s better off that way.
  3. It’s not about who you’ve known the longest but about who’s entered your life and shown that they’re with you through it all. Sometimes you just click. If they’re the real deal, they will be more beneficial than someone you’ve known pretty much your whole life. 
  4. You may think it seems petty, but pay attention to the little things people do/don’t do – it usually provides an indication of what they’re really like and how they’ll be when it comes to more significant things. Maybe it’s just me but I love the little things and am one to pay close attention to detail.
  5. If you can meet a real good group of people from school/uni/work, you are so very fortunate. I have my best friends from high school, a few good high school friends and I have found a wonderful group of people I can gladly call my friends. I never did have heaps of friends and there was a time when I only had like 2 friends and like any young girl would feel, it made me really sad, which made my mother really sad. It is easy to have acquaintances and people you like to talk to who also enjoy talking to you. It is when you find people who get you, the ones you are totally yourself with, the people you are not trying to impress with anything more but the person you are and they love you for that. It’s the people who will stick by you through your best and worst times, who will listen to whatever you have to say, may put you in your place but respect you above all. I have found myself in a wonderful position in terms of friends and can surely say I without them I would not survive and be the person I am today.
  6. Only with the heart one can see rightly, but be sure to find the balance with your head. You must follow your heart but darling please use logic too and think things through.
  7. People aren’t gonna love the same way you do. They say it is a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply and I for one can confirm that. We’re all different in the way we handle emotions, that’s normal, how boring would it be if we all felt the same and understood each other at first sight, pfft an easy life was never promised. 
  8. Health is wealth. This cannot be stressed enough!!! On that note, try your best not to stress – your overall wellbeing is of upmost importance.
  9. Knowledge is power, but grades aren’t everything. I was always a high achiever in school and taught to really value education. For a long time I was so invested in ensuring I got top grades and achieving well academically I would forget more important things.
  10. Say yes to every opportunity but also know when to say no.
  11. No longer compare yourself to others. This is so crucial for your happiness and self-esteem and worth. As a competitive person I could not help but see myself in comparison with someone who was or appeared in a ‘better’ position than me.  It didn’t help that people around me would compare me to others whenever I made a slight error.
  12. Anything that is too much is never good. Ever. 
  13. Do your very best in everything you do. If you’re going to half-ass something, don’t waste your time. Nothing great has ever come from anyone doing a half-assed job. If you really want it, you should be willing to do whatever it takes. If you are not in the position you hoped to be in, at least you can look back with no regrets and can say that you did your very best.
  14. Watch good films, listen to great music, read wonderful stories, drink the best coffees/teas, eat amazing food. Note: Spectacular activities either alone or with quality company. Life is too short to watch bad movies, listen to music other people tell you to – unless their recommendations are your jams and read books you have no interest in.  Don’t settle for that mediocre instant coffee or tea that is no good. The same goes for alcoholic beverages, I understand living on a uni budget and all but buy that fancy cocktail and drink nice wine if you can. Do things that enhance your being and not just because you don’t want to be like everyone else or on the flip side just to be different.
  15. Karma – in its own time. This one is awesome! What goes around will come around. You know what sucks? How nasty some people can be and yet they appear so pleasant – the wolf in sheep clothing. They will get a taste of their medicine… Just give it time. The same goes for really good people, firstly keep up the great work because people like you are making everyday life better for someone.
  16. Believe. In anything and everything and most especially in yourself. 
  17. You are enough. You were always enough and will always be enough and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  18. It is a gift to wake up every single day – make it count. You get one shot at this life, live everyday to the fullest.

 

With love and light always, Mon ❤


Edit: 18 instead of 17

Everything I Learned in 2015


Happy New Year darlings! 😀 I hope you welcomed the year with open arms, ate delicious food and drank champagne! Although one should not dwell in the past, it is important to reflect on who we are as people and whether we have grown, and also so we don’t make the same mistakes. Here’s everything that I either learned, was reassured of or questioned last year:

You will lose friends and that’s fine – better sooner than later

When you find genuine people who hold no malice or other toxic qualities, don’t let them go

You can’t please everyone so don’t stress trying to

Why are they still called ‘guilty pleasures’, if it provides satisfaction or enjoyment, can’t they just be ‘pleasures’. As long as it’s legal – I ain’t judging

Classical music is really effective while studying

Cat calling has never and will never be okay. C’mon guys!

Never call/text/dm when you’re angry

Don’t expect anything from anyone – just because you’d do it, doesn’t mean they will

Black is the new black – it never goes out of style

Rock that bold lipstick you love

Cleopatra was a true QUEEN and not just because of her ‘beauty’

Actions speak louder than words but words are equally important

Disney keeps evolving – never ceases to amaze me

We still need to work on feminism for all races

Can we please get more leading roles to be people of colour, especially leading ladies and for Asians – not just the nerdy/business/Kung-fu stereotype

If you care or love someone, show it. If the feeling isn’t mutual, slowly remove yourself from the situation even if it means losing them all together

Don’t be afraid to fight for what you believe in

Sometimes the things you’d never imagine would happen to you will happen – not necessarily positive either

If in doubt, just be yourself and try your best

Pink is truly a beautiful colour

R E S P E C T all things living and inanimate, traditions and beliefs

Everyday is a great chance to start fresh – you don’t have to wait a whole year

You ARE stronger than you think

Don’t take anything for granted – be grateful and gracious


Stay fabulous ❤️

Why I’m Glad I Went To Schoolies

 

SCHOOLIES 2k15

 
Every year, something like 94% of Yr 12 graduates await the week long party celebrating the end of their schooling era. Some kids went overseas, on a cruise but many more either stayed or went to a schoolies venue – Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Airlie Beach or Bali. So, Schoolies weather forecast: hot and mostly sunny with a chance of peaking introverts, schoolies specials practically everywhere, and an influx at the nearest Dominos or McDonald’s of both those sober and not. 

Up until this year (senior year yo), I had no intention in involving myself in the temporary artificial party aesthetic. I wasn’t sheltered but I imagined heaps of drugs, violent/sexual confrontations and a mass of sweaty and loud teenagers unaware of sense and sensibility.  And when the news only portrayed Schoolies as a massive party where teenagers go wild and get arrested, I didn’t want to be part of the statistics. However, I went in 4/7 days and I’m so glad I did. I celebrated the end of 12 years of schooling at Schoolies with the best people and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

 

Schoolies Central GC

 
 Most school leavers don’t need a reason to go but if you’re not convinced, here are the best 4:

1. Beach parties are the funnest! From 7pm-12am, Surfers has a massive rager in the schoolies hub on the beach – 2 stages are set up on opposite sides and play some sick beats. But if that’s not really your scene, there’re always the club parties and hangs in apartments.

2. It really is a great way to celebrate with your friends.  It doesn’t matter whether you stay in for the whole week or just go in a couple days.  Whether you’re drinking and/or doing other things in your apartment, swimming in your pool or at the beach, shopping or eating out (who doesn’t like $3 gelato or sorbet on a hot day?), spending the week celebrating you and your squad is always a good time.

View from the Agean

3. There are heaps of people there to ensure your safety and well being – Red Frogs: operating at schoolies for 14 years, armed with Allen’s Red Frogs, these volunteers patrol the streets specialising in walks home, cooking free pancakes, and delivering mounts of red chewy sugary goodness, Schoolies Support Volunteers who are a friendly face and will help you with basically everything, Rosie’s providing the hydration station on the beach, and of course the police, who ensure our safety. The Queensland Yr 12s were given an A+ report, with a decrease in arrests by 60% since last year and no fatalities.

4. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – that’s if you’re not a lame toolie or a vip (very impatient person aka Yr 10 or 11) – careful E, I’ve got my eyes on you. It’s not the time to #YOLO, honey no, but Schoolies only comes around once and if you keep your head screwed on, you’ll be able to have a really great time. I know some people that don’t remember much but know it was one of the best weeks of their lives.

Then again, schoolies isn’t for everyone but it is something you should consider. It’s all about experience so go ahead and live it up but you’re in charge of yourself so you do you, stick to your values, know your boundaries and don’t make decisions you’ll regret. So, how did you or how will you celebrate the end of high school?

With love and light, Monique ❤

Know Your Worth

Loving me, loving me. Loving you, loving you.

We all know what it feels like to have been treated like crap, to have been used and abused by work/school mates, friends and/or lovers. It sucks.  Confidence and self-esteem are key qualities in both personal and professional development yet seem out of reach with society driving us to embrace unrealistic expectations and the lack of respect shown for one another.  How we see ourselves is not only derived from our own beliefs but is also influenced by those around us. Self love is not something gained instantly, it is an ongoing lesson obtained with the right attitude and an open mind.

It is so important to surround yourself with good, positive people.  Invest your time with people who are going to lift you higher while staying grounded.  Invest your time with people who make you a better person but still accept and love you for who you are. Invest your time in people who support you no matter, the ones who are there for you at your best and at your worst. Invest your time wisely and with the best people because you only have one shot at each day. 🙂  Remember that not everyone is going to stick around forever but appreciate those who bring good energy and treat you like custom couture and not just off the generic sale rack.  There will always be people trying to rain on your parade but don’t let them dull your sparkle.

Darling, love yourself. ❤ Much easier said than done but you’re the only one who can make that choice.  Look in the mirror and say how dashing or sexy you look. Tell yourself that you love the way your eyes sparkle in the light or the cute way your nose wrinkles when you laugh. We have flaws and are the worst critics of ourselves, but embrace who you are and no one can use your flaws against you. #flawesome

Know that the number of likes, comments, friends or followers you have does not say anything about your character.  We are priceless and should not fear abandonment by another. Don’t settle for less than the best.  We should not be someone’s back up plan or second option.  Know that you are precious and loved.  Take the time to discover and treat yourself – binge watch Netflix, buy those new kicks or lay in bed for as long as you want, find something you love and do it as often as possible. Know your worth because what you allow is what will continue.

With love and light always, Monique x

We Are Sisters, We Stick Together 


I’m going to be honest, I love being a girl but it’s a difficult task.  I attended a conference exclusively for senior high school girls with the hopes of choosing the path to empowerment, boldness, resilience and beauty.

If you ever get the chance to listen to Vita Adam do a motivational speech, DO LISTEN! She’s a very inspiring lady whose vibe is just so energising. ❤ She reinforced all the very important issues and challenges we face and encouraged us to change the world.

To be BOLD is to be strong, confident, fearless but most importantly, courageous. Being bold in a society that’s constantly trying to confine us and push that we’re not good enough is a challenge.  If you want to try something, just have a go! If you want to try different hobbies or sports or food, just do it!  And don’t do it for others but for yourself. You can only fail if you don’t try.

Words are very powerful, especially names, and have either a positive or negative impact on us. The more they’re repeated, the more you believe them. I try to refrain from using negative and degrading language about other people both male and female, and also myself because it does nothing but make yourself look and feel bad. When asked to list the various good and bad things we call others and ourselves, I was honestly shocked by the amount of terrible and sad words girls call other girls, their ‘friends’, and themselves. I call my friends sugar, honey, babe, darling or just a nickname derived from his/her actual name.  Last year I also came to terms with myself and promised to only speak positively about myself, however not arrogantly. Even as a joke I really don’t see any humour in calling friends s1uts, b*tche$, id!ots or fat. Some people, maybe even some of you are thinking that I’m way too serious or can’t take a joke but that’s just proof of the belittling culture we live in. Why is it more common to find girls calling each other names with horrible definitions compared to kind positive names?

By us females calling each other certain names, we are also giving men permission to do so. We’re always trying to straighten up the guys and teach them to respect girls but we must start with each other. Like the Cheetah Girls said, “We are sisters, we stand together. We make up one big family, though we don’t look the same.” Girls, we have to look out for each other all the time.  Changing the world starts with you. Sure, the entire world isn’t going to change in an instant because we treat each other kinder but it’s a step in the right direction. No one is perfect and it’s natural to make mistakes but we need to practise a healthy culture, which includes a positive sisterhood, not only for ourselves but for younger girls – those who admire and look to us for guidance and as role models.

We are a beautiful specimen just as are males. Each one of us is unique, smart, and important. We must always remember to have courage and be kind.  It takes a strong wave to go against the current but we all have that power and can be amazing people. 

“Where there is woman, there is magic.” Ntozake Shange