Kuala Lumpur: “Malaysia boleh!” exclaimed Michelle Yeoh’s mother in a video interview with her daughter minutes after her historic Oscar win was announced – “Malaysia can do it!” quoting a popular slogan that translates as
“I’m so happy… I’m so proud of my daughter. She’s a hard worker,” Janet Yeo told reporters after her daughter became the first Asian woman to win an Oscar for best actress.
“I encourage him to come back (to Malaysia) and celebrate soon. It’s my birthday next month.”
He and other relatives and friends of Yeoh gathered for the live telecast of the awards ceremony at a Kuala Lumpur cinema, where there was loud applause, hugs and tears of joy after the announcement was made.
“It was a shocking moment,” said Yoh’s niece Vicki.
“I was speechless, I cried. Everything happened, it happened quickly. We are so happy that he won, that our sister won…
“We told him, ‘You’re going to win… You’re going to be on stage with the golden man,'” he said, referring to the Oscar statuette.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim congratulated Yoh on Facebook, saying his “bright and exemplary career” will continue to inspire the local film industry.
– Well done, Michelle! he added.
– “Pride of Asia” –
The 60-year-old Malaysian actress won the award for her role in the sci-fi film Vse Vse Vse Vse Vstre, ahead of Cate Blanchett, who was the favorite to win her third Oscar for Thar.
Everything Everywhere follows a Chinese immigrant laundromat owner who battles an interdimensional monitor who happens to be his own daughter.
“As Malaysians, we are proud of him… I always look up to him and he is my idol,” said Emily Ng, a Yeoh fan.
Another fan, Tan Ooi Hong, said: “He is not only the pride of Malaysia but also of Asia.”
The former Bond girl was born in 1962 to Malaysian-Chinese parents in Ipoh, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
She embraced dance from childhood and studied ballet in England.
While on vacation with her family, her mother entered her into the Miss Malaysia pageant without consulting her.
“I agreed to go to cover it up,” said Yeoh, who won the beauty pageant, on the talk show.
A back injury forced her to give up her dancing career, but in the mid-1980s she began using the body control she learned from ballet to appear in action movies with the likes of Jackie Chan.
In 2013, Yeoh was awarded the title of Tan Sri by the King of Malaysia, one of the country’s highest civilian honors.
Meanwhile, he congratulated Hong Kong’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Secretary Kevin Yeung Yeo, who he worked with for a decade before becoming a Hollywood star, calling him a “shining star with impressive achievements”.
“This is a testament to the strong potential of Hong Kong’s talent and film industry,” he said. (AFP)