Study Guide

The Lings in Crazy Rich Asians

By Kevin Kwan

The Lings

Jacqueline and Amanda Ling are another mother-daughter pair focused on securing a place within the Young family. And it doesn't hurt that Jacqueline is drop-dead gorgeous: a "Chinese Catherine Deneuve, only more beautiful" (2.4.20). 

As the granddaughter of a well-respected philanthropist, Ling Yin Chao, it is rumored that Shang Su Yi wanted Jacqueline for Philip's bride. Unfortunately for Jacqueline, he had already met Eleanor. Now, Jacqueline tries to get her daughter Amanda to fulfill her place in the Young family.

How do we know? Jacqueline sent Amanda to New York City with the express purpose of getting Nick to fall in love with her. "Nicky is going to propose to this girl any minute now. What was the whole point of my sending you to New York? You had one simple mission to accomplish, and you failed miserably" (3.3.53).

Amanda is different from her mother and different from other girls her age, like Francesca Shaw. While she does give in to her mother quite a bit, even calling Nick 'Nico' around Rachel to make her jealous, in the end, Amanda no longer wants to participate and even feels remorse for her participating: "Even Mandy. She called me in Hvar. I think she feels really bad about how she acted" (3.16.14). She's carved a life out for herself in NYC, even potentially a man she loves, but it isn't good enough for her mother.

A couple more things we know about Jacqueline: Her cousin Bernadette Ling married a T'sien. Yes, a son of Alfred Shang and Mabel T'sien. So Jacqueline is on the fringe of this family, nearly related, but not related enough. And her intentions to weasel into the family are clear: she has a contentious relationship with her cousin's son, Oliver T'sien. He sees right through her and calls her out on it whenever he gets the chance:

Jacqueline: "My daughter is an exquisite piece of art, is she not? She belongs only in the finest collection."
Oliver: "A collection you failed to become part of." (2.4.88-2.4.89).

Consider this interesting tension: Jacqueline, who lost her chance to join the Young family because Eleanor got there first, is trying to marry her daughter to Eleanor's son. Money talks, doesn't it?