Study Guide

The Lees in Crazy Rich Asians

By Kevin Kwan

The Lees

Annabel and Araminta Lee, yet another mother-daughter pair clambering up the social ladder, are a duo feeling pretty satisfied with their hard work. Annabel (no relation to Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee) is a high-end hotelier, creating resorts on islands all around Singapore and Indonesia. She is married to Peter Lee, "Originally Lee Pei Tan of Harbin," and they moved to Singapore after making a fortune in coal mining (3.2.4). Because this is considered "new money" in Singapore, the family has still been excluded from the most upper echelons of the Singapore social circles…until Annabel's daughter caught the eye of Colin Khoo.

Araminta, a knock-out model for all sorts of designers, fits the part of Colin Khoo's bride-to-be. She's generally nice, invites Rachel to her lavish bachelorette party, and is willing to go out in public in pajama bottoms. Together, she and Colin are gorgeous, wealthy, and of the finest breeding. Araminta "had grown up as one of these people—people of breeding and taste;" Annabel had seen to it (3.2.8).

When Harry Leong hosts a party before the wedding, we get a sense of what Annabel's true intentions have been all along: She "knew at that moment she had made all the right decisions for her daughter" and she had never "felt more content than right now, when at last she was breathing in this rarified air" (3.2.8 and 3.2.7). Is Annabel truly happy that her daughter has found love? Or is she just happy that she's been pulled into the upperest crust of crusty people in Singapore?

On another note, we have an idea, but we'll pose it as a question to you: Is Araminta really in love with Colin? Initially it seems so. Colin certainly is in love with Araminta: "Standing by the altar, Colin gazed at the ravishing bride coming toward him, realizing that all the pain and fuss over the past few months had been worth it" (3.4.71). How does Araminta feel as she finally approaches her groom? "[…] one thought alone crossed her mind: Astrid Leong […] couldn't even be bothered to wear a new dress to her wedding" (3.4.76). Eek.

Maybe it's a fluke. Maybe she was nervous. Or hangry.

So when she again focuses on what Astrid is wearing, she says, "I go to all this trouble, and she doesn't even bother to make the effort. What's the whole […] point of this wedding?" (3.7.42). Um…

We're not sure, but maybe…love?