Sunday lunch gave Malcolm and his wife a chance to inspect their children and grandchildren on a weekly basis, and it was a duty they undertook with utter seriousness. (1.6.6)
There's little more sweet and sentimental than the idea of parents "inspecting" their progeny.
"It's just that I've always tried to keep clear boundaries between my personal life and my family life, that's all." (1.8.5)
After what we learn of Nick's family throughout the rest of the book, there's little surprise why he would draw those lines!
His whole family was going to show up looking like peasants. So bloody typical. He wondered if he could convince Colin to change his seating so that he didn't have to be anywhere near his parents and siblings. (2.10.62)
Now Eddie Cheng is least likely to be your favorite character, what with his obsession with material things, but this underscores the extent to which he values appearance over his family.
She had witnessed firsthand the scars that blatant parental interference could inflict; why, even those assembled here were a reminder of that —Daisy's relationship with her sons was tenuous at best, while Lorena's eldest daughter no longer spoke to her after immigrating to Auckland with her Kiwi husband. (2.18.106)
The irony is that Eleanor still meddles in her son's love life, despite knowing full well what the consequences will be.
"And besides, he would never do anything without my permission. Alistair simply needs to obey your wishes," Su Yi said with finality. (3.6.38)
As the matriarch of the Shang clan, Su Yi expects her descendants to simply obey, a point of tension between the old world Su Yi represents and the new world of Astrid and Nick.
"Nicky, listen to me. I haven't sacrificed my whole life for you just to see you waste everything on that girl," Elanor said anxiously. (3.11.56)
Nick questions his mother's "sacrifice" without understanding that she stepped aside so her mother-in-law who can't stand her could have a stronger influence over Nick. This is when we start to see Eleanor in a different light, though Nick is still pretty peeved.
"Of course they should respect you—after all, you're a Young," Su Yi said. (3.13.87)
Families of good name deserve respect, but this also implies the inverse: if one is of a less prestigious family, respect is not guaranteed.
"You've deprived me from knowing my father, my real family…You lied to me. About the most important thing in my life." (3.15.48-3.15.50)
Rachel certainly values family in a different way than many of the other characters in the book, hence her feelings of betrayal about not knowing the truth of her father.
"I never want to be a part of a family like yours. I can't marry into a clan that thinks it's too good to have me. And I don't want my children to ever be connected to such people. I want them to grow up in a loving, nurturing home, surrounded by grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who consider them equals." (3.15.148)
Have you ever been willing to give up the love of your life because their family is the absolute pits? Give Rachel Chu a call. You'll have lots to talk about.
He should never have invited Rachel to come here without first giving her a crash course in how to deal with his family. "Rich, Entitled, Delusional Chinese Families 101." Could he really be part of this family? (3.16.2)
Finally Nick starts to see his family for the meddlesome trouble they are. Did he not go through the "how am I related to these people?" phase in middle school?