‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Author Could Face Prison Term

As Kevin Kwan is learning, film-biz fame has its downside.

The author whose book inspired the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians could face fines and/or imprisonment for not completing his national service obligations in Singapore, the New York Times reports.

Kwan, 44—who moved to Houston as an 11-year-old and reportedly became an American at 18—was noticeably absent from the film’s Singapore premiere on Tuesday. The Straits Times, a Singapore newspaper, did him the favor of contacting the nation’s Ministry of Defense to set the matter straight.

Kwan “failed to register for the National Service in 1990, despite notices and letters sent to his overseas address,” responded a ministry official. “He also stayed overseas without a valid exit permit,” the official added. “Mr. Kwan is therefore wanted for defaulting on his NS obligations.”

In practical terms, that could mean a fine of up to $7,300 and three years in prison. Kwan hasn’t commented yet, but no doubt knows the story: Soon after separating from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore began building up its military force by having young men spend two years in the civil defense, police, or military force.

Kwan apparently tried and failed to renounce his Singapore citizenship without serving in 1994; an appeal was also unsuccessful.

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