Grossly materialistic and over the top? Well yes, but I think that point was a bit mistaken by some of the film’s detractors given the intention was creating something all about froth and bubble on the surface. While it’s a story about old and new money in Singapore and the prevalence of conspicuous consumption (tasteful and otherwise) in the movie Crazy Rich Asians (based on the book by Kevin Kwan) I really enjoyed its underlying, and universal, themes of family, love, duty, class, the transformative power of education and the importance of personal integrity, identity and self-worth. Class to me is not a question of birth but of personal values, and how these are demonstrated in different ways by different people. Money doesn’t buy class, nor does it buy taste or style as I’ve previously said on this blog. My sisters and I had a great time at the Kino Cinema (where the recent Persian Film Festival has been on) watching the movie yesterday and there was more pathos and depth to something that initially presents itself as being more light-hearted and lightweight.
We’d caught up earlier in Chinatown at Shark Fin House for a quick yum cha where my Uncle George’s restaurant Golden Orchids can also be found in Little Bourke Street (pictured below on a somewhat dreary Sunday afternoon). After decades of working in hospitality, my uncle has decided to finally retire and his restaurant will close at the end of the month signifying the end of an era. Like much of the street, the old guard of Cantonese Chinese are making way for the new Mandarin-speaking northern Chinese and their dumplings.
But back to the movie, it was surprisingly emotional and there is a pivotal, and powerful scene, near the end that centres around a strategic game of mahjong, another thing that reminds me of Uncle George as his late wife, my Aunty Faye, would play most weeks at their house and my sisters, cousins and I would marvel at how fast, and noisy, the game was. I won’t spoil the ending but it’s also been lovely to see how many of my non-Asian friends have loved the movie as well.
It’s the name of the book being launched at the Eltham Library on 10 December on the power of good people and I think it’s an important thing to remember when we’re bombarded with media images of violence and terror happening on the international stage. There are more good people in the world than bad and I wish the world more peace in the lead up to Christmas. Hosted by the Eltham Bookshop and published by Wild Dingo Press, the book is a story of courage, resilience, hope and hearts filled with compassionate friendship between Sri Lankan refugee Para Paheer and local penfriend Alison Corke – things which are greater things to meditate and ruminate on.
There’s also some interesting performing arts events on around the place including local heats at Deadly Funny at the Darebin Arts Centre on the 10 December if you’re cheeky and loud, black and proud. If you’re a fan of Tim Winton’s books, a sprawling stage adaptation of Cloudstreet is being held at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre from 5 – 16 December, tickets of which are now on sale at TryBooking.
If you’ve started getting your house in order for Christmas celebrations, it’s worth noting that local homewares store Marmoset Found is having a warehouse sale, along with neighbouring outlet Sage and Clare on this coming Friday and Saturday at 21 Albert Street in Northcote.
If you’re a fan of bespoke fashion, local maven Kara Baker is launching her Beach collection on Wednesday 6 December from 5 – 9 pm at 1/414 Bourke Street although I prefer some of her latest Spring Summer range including this beautifully tailored dress above. You’ll need to book a private appointment if you wish to attend at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s the name of local author Les Zig’s debut novel published by Pantera Press which is being launched at a special event on 2 September at Beer DeLuxe as part of this year’s Melbourne Writer’s Festival, which starts on Friday 25 August. Les and I were having a chat when I attended Busybird Publishing’s Karma Kinglake writing retreat last year and I know he loves his beer so no surprises there. The book is a psychological drama that explores the complexities of human relationships and I think a lot goes on in the suburbs, where most of us live. My own street is a microcosm of society at large with all sorts of things happening that I didn’t anticipate when I moved to sleepy Rosanna almost 10 years ago from the inner city. It’s not as sleepy as I first thought!
If you have kids, the Harry Potter Day on Sunday 3 September at Fed Square in the city, also as part of the Writer’s Festival, looks like a lot of fun if you have a Harry, Ron or Hermione in your household.
Locally there’ll be a pop up book swap at the Harmony Centre in The Mall at Heidelberg West during Literacy Week, also starting next Friday and running until 1 September. The Eltham Bookshop too has recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary, which is a real achievement by owner Meera Govril. I’m still not making a lot of head way with my reading and seem to be drowning in paperwork at the moment – it’s almost de-cluttering season again and I need to continue with a number of rooms in my house.
I was also reading with excitement about the upcoming exhibition The House of Dior at the NGV and associated Gala ball being held on Saturday 26 August – two tickets of which you can actually win through Telstra. It’s being compared to the Met Gala in New York and I think is one for all the fashionistas out there.