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Bond girl Michelle Yeoh promotes reading in Malaysia

14-May-2010 • Actor News

For international celebrity Datuk Michelle Yeoh, famed for her roles in Hong Kong and Hollywood action flicks, she has a new mission to perform back in her homeland, reports Bernama

The beauty from Ipoh, Perak (born as Yeoh Choo Kheng) wants to promote the reading habit more extensively among Malaysians in tandem with her being named as the new Icon for the 'Mari Membaca 1Malaysia', a national-level reading campaign.

A firm believer that knowledge enriches the mind, Yeoh said reading is a habit that can be cultivated and that it should be instilled right from the young age.

"My brother has four children and reading is one of the habits that I seriously impart to them, since they were young," she said.

She said reading should also be an integral part of human life and a necessity in the success of a nation building.


Reading has been a lifelong passion of the former beauty queen turned actress.

"I used to read in the shower when I was a teenager, although I am not doing it anymore," she said in a lighter vein.

It would not be too much to say that Yeoh, known for her role in movies such as James Bond's 'Tomorrow Never Dies' and 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' lives and breathes books as where she would spend her every free moment with a reading material in her hand.

She reads between 10 to 15 books monthly, comprising works on fiction, business, communication, scientific and environment among else.

"I do read a lot, if you go to my bedroom, on one side, there is a stack of books. I read across the board, especially those that are work related. But I also love fiction, those by Sidney Sheldon and Michael Crichton".

When on travelling in a plane, Yeoh said she would bring along several books or else she will be 'very nervous'.


Yeoh was named as this year's icon for the Information Communication and Culture Ministry's 1Malaysia Reading Programme early last month.

Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister Senator Heng Seai Kie launched the programme.

Heng said the ministry hoped to bank on Yeoh's popularity and status as an international celebrity to inculcate reading as a habit among Malaysians.

The Deputy Minister also believed that Yeoh could be the ambassador to promote Malaysian literary works in the international level.

"Hence, I believe the choice of her (Yeoh) as the icon for 1Malaysia Reading Campaign is apt," added Heng.


At the launch of the programme, the celebrity proposed that a "Michelle Yeoh's Reading Corner" be set up at the National Library, where she had also agreed to donate part of her book collections to be shared with other avid readers here.

The actress also used to be actively involved in charity projects in Hong Kong where she collected books and stationery to be donated to the underprivileged children in mainland China.

Among others, she also planned to have reading sessions with other readers and hoped that by doing so she would be able to forge a closer bond with Malaysian readers.

She also encouraged participation from the private sector in this national-level programme.

"It is important to let the children know that whether you are a banker, a reporter or of any profession, reading is a very important part of your life," she said.


Despite her busy schedules, the globe-trotting actress pledges to spend more time in her home country for the programme.

"Malaysia is my home and I come back all the time. And with this project on hand, I can always spend an extra day or two here for the programme.

"I think this way it brings me back to Malaysia with a mission," she said.

Besides serving as the icon for the programme, Yeoh is also the Global Road Safety Ambassador for the International Automobile Federation (IAF).

She is currently also active in forest and endangered animals conservation in this region.

"I think there is a good synergy among all these three projects that I am involved in," she said.


Yeoh said her reading materials are also very much work-related.

"As a movie producer and actress, I read a lot to do research about the character that I am playing.

"For instance when filming Memoirs of a Geisha, I read a lot about the culture in Japan and of the geishas," she said.

And when she has time to spare, she would indulge in spiritual books.

"I am happy to read about other people's religion or my own religion because I think that it is the only way you can have a broader mind and understanding about other people's belief and religions," she said.

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