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 ♥️

 

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

Jimmy Wah’s

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Jimmy Wah’s

Address: 1724 Gold Coast Hwy,
Burleigh Heads, QLD, 4220

Trading hours: Wednesday-Monday 12:00pm-2:30pm and 5:30pm-9:30pm 

Phone: 07 5659 1180

VIETNAMESE | FINE DINING

Positioned in the heart of the beachside suburb of Burleigh, Jimmy Wah’s is a modern Vietnamese restaurant serving up good food and great service. It is highly recommended to book a table although walk-ins are most welcome. One of my favourite people took me here for a Wednesday dinner. A cool atmosphere with polished concrete floors, oak benches and tabletops, chairs padded in olive green and a large hand-painted Jimmy Wah from Good Morning, Vietnam planted with his signature grin.

Kingfish Sashimi

We began the night with the Kingfish Sashimi served with crispy fried onions, Thai basil, and a finger lime and coconut dressing ($16). This was THE dish of our night. It was amazing – flavours layered together carefully to create a delicate starter. Though we went for something modern to kick off our dinner, they serve the classic bành mi ($5/$12) and rice paper rolls ($10). 

For mains, we shared a main size Pho Bo ($10/14) a much beloved Vietnamese noodle soup dish, Jimmy’s version consisting of beef sirloin, brisket, oxtail stock, green onion, rice noodles, bean sprouts, coriander. It was very dark in colour though and not visibly appealing to the eye. It did however have a pleasant aroma and I did really enjoy this pho! Again with the layers – the flavours not muddled. 

We also shared a King Prawn Curry featuring shrimp paste, straw mushrooms, and snow peas ($34) with steamed rice ($4). This was unfortunately mediocre and even more so due to the spectacular sashimi.  We agreed it was tasty but had no wow factor.  My mother is a talented cook and anyone else who understands Viet/Thai curries would be able to make something similar if not the same curry.

Despite our criticism, I’d say it ticks the boxes for key components of Vietnamese cuisine: light, fragrant, not overly spicy and the balance between sweet, sour and salty – combinations co-owner and head chef, Jake Cooley learned during his Southeast Asian travels. 

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Pho Bo

Jimmy Wah’s would be suitable to most – much of their menu caters for those dairy and gluten free, but they do only have limited vegetarian options – more which can be done at your request however. The full menu can be found here. There are still a heap of great options so if you find yourself stuck, simply request the staff to “Feed me”, where a selection of Jimmy’s best menu items are put together for you for $59.

If the food isn’t enough to get you going, the cocktail list featuring traditional Vietnamese flavours just might.  It includes fun drinks like the Bubble Mai-Chai Tea ($15) – spiced rum, mango, coconut milk, tapioca pearls and the Pink Dragon ($16) – gin, grenadine, lychee liqueur, raspberry.

I wouldn’t consider the layout of the restaurant the most family friendly… However, it does its job as a modern fine dining restaurant and would consider it a quality destination for date night or a night with the ladies.  I’m a fan of the 60s and 70s jams that fill the space providing the soundtrack of the military during that time, and the staff dressed classily to the Vietnamese motif inspired by traditional rice field workers clad in white linen shirts and grey culottes.  You may not be able to greet Jimmy Wah’s ‘Good Morning’ 😉 but Good Evening, Vietnam.

Overall experience: 7/10

Photos: Jimmy Wah’s and Monique Pueblos

A Rising Star Of Our Own

 

Aussie Star in the making Chelsea Glaw

Now living in Los Angeles, Gold Coast grown girl, Chelsea Glaw is making her mark in the world of film.

Having a strong passion for dramatic arts, in particular, acting for screen since a young girl, Chelsea continuously worked on improving herself as an actress.  In Year 11 (2012), she was successful at claiming a scholarship at the prestigious New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. At the opportunity, 4 weeks after her high school graduation, a young girl left her family and friends in pursuit of a big dream in the Big Apple.

 

Filming her American reel

Chelsea lived in New York, New York for two years whilst undertaking her Associates Degree in Acting which she completed last year. While studying she surrounded herself with means to better herself as a performer including learning outside of a school environment, she networked, went to live shows, filmed short films, attended multiple auditions and was an assistant at a acting and modelling agency in the city in 2015.

She also attended her first red carpet event in New York City last September where her close friend Alexander Flores stars in the movie Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials as Winston.

 

Red Carpet Lovin’

Chelsea commented, “It was a very overwhelming experience being on the red carpet and having cameras flash in your face every 2 seconds in every single direction. I had never been on a red carpet before so I was just posing for photos and then I got out of there. But I was so happy to be there supporting Alex and he handled it like a pro, as always. Dazzling the fans and doing interview after interview. It was great. Oh and I should probably say the movie was great too!”

She was also lucky enough to attend The Scorch Trials after party where she spoke with the awesome cast, including leading lads Dylan O’Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

Although Chels has recently moved to Los Angeles where her dreams continue to be more of a reality, New York will always hold a special place in her heart. Chelsea said that it had shaped the person she is today; she learned so much from the city and made lifelong connections and the best friends she will ever have. Does she miss home? She misses her family big time, vegemite toast, and although she’s met a great bunch of Aussie performers in LA; she still misses being surrounded by the Aussie accent.

In her element: in front of the camera

Talk about timing – she’s hit the sweet spot at the moment for film as La La Land enters pilot season (peak time for casting, producing or preparation of TV pilot episodes). She’s been keeping busy with her application for an artist visa, auditions left, right and center, networking, and acting for short films. Chelsea’s upcoming projects includes a short film about her story  written by filmmaker and photographer Steven Leone who has just wrapped up shooting a range of models in Europe.  The short film will star her and begins filming very soon. This 19 year old isn’t slowing down anytime soon.  Watch this space and remember her name, this girl is going places!

@chelseaglaw

Images via: Chelsea Glaw

Best Vegan Pancake Recipe


Happy Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) everybody! I’m on a 5 day vegan challenge this week and didn’t want to miss out on the pancake glory so had a crack at modifying my traditional pancake recipe to be lactose free/vegan friendly. They are absolutely delicious and super filling.

Time: 10 mins (Prep) 15 mins (Cooking)
Makes: 6

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 tsp bi-carb soda
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 cup almond milk (or any non dairy milk)
1 1/2 tbs oil (canola/sunflower/coconut) + extra to grease pan
1 tsp vanilla essence
Maple syrup (to serve)

Method:

1) Preheat pan on stove to medium heat

2) Sift flour and bi-carb together

3) Add sugar, oil and vanilla and mix roughly

4) Add milk and stir until smooth – should still be thick but runs off spoon

5) Spray pan with cooking spray or grease with a little oil

6) Ladle the pancake mix onto hot pan and wait for bubbles before flipping.

7) Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruits, nut butter, sugar and lemon or other vegan toppings. 😀

#9

 

Luke

What does happiness mean to you?

Not hurting anyone and they not hurting you.

What makes you happy?

When other people are happy. No material things – money doesn’t make you happy; it makes those with money look happy and others think they’re happy and sure they can buy nice things but it’s you on the inside that chooses to be happy. 🙂

Connor Franta’s First Aussie Interview (2013)

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The incredible Connor (2015)

Hello! So serious throwback to one of my favourite times ever: my interview with YouTube sensation Connor Franta in 2013, which was also his first Australian interview! Sweetest human being, very humble and funny and just a likeable person.  Though much of his life was already on the web, I got down to business and asked some questions we’d been dying to know the answers to. I feel so fortunate to have been able to speak to him as well as Tyler Oakley and will never forget that they helped a small girl in a big town move one step closer to her dream.

From an already large 300 000 when this interview went down to a whopping 5+ million subscribers and heaps more on his social networks, this frantastic guy has truly taken the online world by storm.  Since watching his videos in 2011, I knew he’d do great things and I as well as all his other fans are so proud of everything he has achieved and the person he truly is.  So without further ado…

Song to describe your life:  Walking on sunshine

Favourite Disney movie and why?  Mulan, my whole family loves that one, gets a good laugh out of us.

Are you still a Directioner? Always, forever and always, One Direction for life!

Fave 1D boy: Liam because apparently we’re twins

World without YouTube or coffee?  A world without coffee cause I love YouTube more.  But I do love both, so it’s really hard

Fave Starbucks drink? Plain lattes, caramels macchiato’s

How was Australia when you came in 2011?  I want to go back, it was a lot of fun.

How many years of making vlogs?  2 ½ years.  Not too long, not too short.  It didn’t take off ‘till about a year ago though. Edit: It’ll be 6 years this August!

How do you juggle YouTube and college life?  It’s not too hard, it’s difficult because other people don’t have to do that.  It’s kind of like a full-time job even though I don’t consider it a job.  It requires a lot of hours, it’s kinda difficult but it’s a lot of fun so it’s easy to manage.

What are you studying and when do you finish?  Global business leadership major: business, marketing type stuff and art minor in video.  I’m a sophomore so 2 more years until I get my degree.

3 fave YouTubers? DailyGrace, Shane Dawson, NigaHiga

Collab with?  I’m in California for the summer, so really anyone who wants to collab, I’m excited

Our 2nd Life: Doing really well, we’re the biggest collab channel that’s ever been on YouTube and it’s only growing and it’s only been going since August.  All of them are my best friends. Edit: Connor departed from the group in July, 2014.

Playlist Live:  Great!  It was really exciting, even better than what I thought it would be.  Lots of fans, lots of meeting people, lots of everything!  It was great.  So much fun.

Tyler Oakley said….: I didn’t.  I still feel like I’m a nobody in the YouTube world and their like ‘no, no no’ but when someone like Tyler Oakley with like 800 000 subscribers says to me, “yeah, I watch your videos”  I’m like ‘no you don’t, shut up! No you don’t, you don’t know who I am’ (laughs).  He’s (Tyler) really nice, some YouTubers when you meet them, they’re not that down to earth, kind of stuck-up, but Tyler’s not. He’s 100% nice to everyone. 

Our 2nd life did a 2 hour meet and greet and I was like “Noooooo!”

Besides moving to LA, other future goals?  My main goal, see where this summer takes me, I wanna prove to myself that I can live out there and live that life and pursue entertainment.  After the summer I’ll have more goals. Edit: Oh boy did he achieve that and much more!

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Instagram: connorfranta

M:  Are you ready for a challenge?

C:  Oh gosh!

M:  Yeah? Well okay!  Here are 7 Australian slang words that everyone says:

Australian Slang test:

Arvo:

C: Oh shoot!  Can you use it in a sentence or do I have to guess?

M: It’s a time of day   

C: Afternoon?

M: one point!  That’s right

C: I would have never guessed, I would’ve guessed like a vegetable or something like that (laughs)

Barbie: 

C: That’s like a Barbeque right?

M: Yay!  2 points?

C:  That’s like the thing from ‘Dumb and Dumber’ (in a horrible Australian accent says) ‘throw a shrimp on the barbie’

M: Correct although Australians don’t really say shrimp, we say prawns

C: I got it! (Laughs) Yeah, inaccurate

Esky:

C:  It sounds like skiing, but it’s definitely not that!

M: You take it with you when you go on picnics or barbies.

C: umm a basket!

M: Uhhh, kind of, that’s worth half a point.  I think in America you call it a Coleman.  It’s a cold container for food and drinks and stuff like that

C: A cooler thing?

M: Yeah! That’s what an Esky is.

C: That’s half a point!

G’day:

C:  It can mean like hey, good morning, good afternoon or anything like that. Like G’Day!

M: Yes, that’s right!

C:  I know Australian stuff, I went there, I know stuff!

Macca’s:

C: Oh! It’s McDonalds

M: Yeah! That’s all it is.

C:  When I was staying with my host family, they said that a couple times.

M:  You have 4 and ½ points at the moment, 2 more to go.

C:  Yes!

Thongs:

C: Sandals

M:  Oh! You got that right!

C:  My mom’s called them that before and I’m like ‘that’s weird’.  She lived in Australia for a little bit.

Togs:

C: Oh gosh.

M: T-O-G-S

C:  Is it an article of clothing too?  I was going to say, is it boots?

M: No, no that’s so far from what it is (laughs)

C:  Pants?  I don’t know.

M:  That’s also not what it is.

C:  What is it?

M:  You’re going to go to the beach and you’re going to wear them… wear it.

C:  Swim trunks?

M: Yeahh!! Or swimmers.  But that should only be 1/3 since you guessed 3 times.

C: Yeah! I knew it was an article of clothing but I had no idea what it was. Woooo!!  I’ll count that as a B or a C!

M:  I think that one’s about a C+?

C:  Adequate job, yeah?

M:  So, you have 5 and ¾ out of 7 points! Yay Connor!!!

C:  Wooooo!

Solid effort!  Here’s Connor’s message to all of you; his Australian fans:  I love you guys!  Thank you for all your support from all the way from the other side of the world, I hope that I can come and meet as many of you as possible someday! Edit: He’s recently toured Oz and has been a few times with Troye Sivan and Tyler Oakley.

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Christmas Playlist

You know it’s Christmas when carols are playing in every single store, pumping on Spotify, Guvera and iTunes Music. Covers on covers of Mariah’s best seller and the classics such as Jingle Bells and I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

Here are my favourite 17 versions of Christmas songs this year in alphabetical order:

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  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  2. Auld Lang Syne
  3. Carol of the Bells – Pentanoix man! #majestic
  4. Christmas Time Is Here – Daniela Andrade
  5. Christmas Waltz – Frank Sinatra
  6. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid

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7. Feliz Navidad – Michael Buble

8. Grown Up Christmas List – Amy Grant

9. Happy Christmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon

10. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams

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11. Jingle Bell Rock

12. Little Drummer Boy – Pentatonix

13. Miss You Most (At Christmas Time) – Jessica Mauboy

14. Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan

15. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

16. Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande

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17. The Christmas Song – Christina Aguilera or Nat King Cole

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Gifs via Giphy.com