Singapore-born writer Kevin Kwan, whose book inspired the movie Crazy Rich Asians, defaulted on his national service obligations, the Singapore Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday (Aug 22) in response to queries from The Straits Times.

“Mr Kevin Kwan failed to register for National Service (NS) in 1990, despite notices and letters sent to his overseas address. He also stayed overseas without a valid exit permit. Mr Kwan is therefore wanted for defaulting on his NS obligations,” Mindef said.

It added: “In 1994, his application and subsequent appeal to renounce his Singapore citizenship without serving NS were rejected.”

Under the Enlistment Act, Kwan is liable for a fine of up to SG$10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years if convicted.

The Straits Times has reached out to Kwan, who left Singapore at age 11 and now lives in the US, on multiple occasions this past week for an interview.

Kwan was a conspicuous absence at the red carpet event for the movie at Capitol Piazza (in Singapore) on Tuesday night (Aug 21) that featured nearly every Singaporean cast member.

Kwan migrated at age 11 to Texas in the US with his engineer father, piano- teacher mother and two older brothers.

In Singapore, he grew up in a multi-generational family home in Bukit Timah and attended Anglo-Chinese School (Primary).

His grandfather was Singapore’s first Western-trained ophthalmologist who was for many years the commissioner of the St John Ambulance Brigade and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network