I’m pretty sure anyone who has watched Crazy Rich Asians would have this burning question after they walked out of the cinema:
How the heck did Pierre Png train for that crazy six-pack? All the Captains I know in the army looks like Ronaldo (the Brazil one, not the Portugal one).
And then, the next question would be this: Why isn’t Singapore Airlines in the movie?
I mean, the film is like a Singapore Tourism Board video showcasing the high-SES side of Singapore: from the panning shot of every major Singapore landmark like MBS, the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bays and even Newton Hawker Centre, the place that allegedly has the best satays, you’d have expected SIA to appear somewhere, even if it’s not a product placement.
Moreover, with the characters spending some time in an airplane, it’s the perfect opportunity for a product placement. Who needs Casey Neistat when you’ve got Crazy Rich Asians, right?
When I saw the fictional Pacific Asean Airlines, my first instinct is this: “Okay, the crazy rich producers don’t have the budget to put SIA there.”
But, no. It turns out that SIA allegedly rejected the movie instead.
Okay. I’m shook. But here’s what really happened.
Singapore Airlines Don’t Think the Movie Would Represent the Airline and Their Customers in a Good Light
Firstly, the producers, just like us, thought that having SIA in the movie is a no-brainer: you want to show high-SESness, you go for them. At least that’s what I thought.
I mean, that’s precisely the reason why people always humblebrag about their flights in SIA, right?
According to an interview in TheWrap, a US entertainment and media news website, even the producers were shocked when they were turned down.
Producer Brad Simpson (oh…now I know the producer is actually not Asians #justsaying) said, “It was going to be an ad for Singapore Airlines! But they were not sure the movie would represent the airline and their customer in a good light. People want what Richard Curtis’ movies do for England — they make you want to visit the country.”
Wait – I don’t get it. Why would that happen?
The director of the movie added, “People didn’t have faith in this movie. They didn’t know what this movie was. It seems obvious now, but when we were making it, everyone thought it was a little movie and they were very suspicious about what we were trying to do.”
I’m still shook.
If I interpret it correctly, it seems like SIA is just playing it safe.
Pacific Asean Airlines: A Brand New Fictional Airline
And so, Pacific Asean Airlines is born, and apparently, it’s supposed to showcase Singapore.
According to the production designer of the film, they chose the word “Asean” instead of “Asian” because words like “Asia” and “Asian” were already used by other airlines. They needed a name that’s distinctly fictional.
The first-class lounge area and windows were inspired by SIA’s Airbus A380, and a lot of things are red because they want to introduce “the colours of its Singapore heritage”. And the orchids that you see everywhere? They’re there for obvious reasons.
Well, now that you know, please don’t go around asking for Pacific Asean Airlines. Because here’s my confession: before this article, I thought Pacific Asean Airlines is a real airline.
I’m poor like that.
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