Michelle Yeoh as Aung Sang Suu Kyi, in the film The Lady. Photo: indieWire Playlist
Speculation about Michelle Yeoh going into politics is stirring up comment, even though she herself hasn’t said anything to the press, and her father seemed amused at all the gossip. “I don’t think so,” the Star’s entertainment and gossip site Daily Chilli quotes him as saying. Tongues have been wagging ever since Malaysia Today picked up the Chilli follow-up of the original report from Sina.com. Now Miriam Mokhtar has entered the fray by positing Bond girl Michelle with Jibby Bond.
And all that based on a few loose facts wildly strung together:
- Her father, Datuk Yeoh Kian Geik, a prominent lawyer and businessman, has long been an MCA stalwart.
- He is a friend of Sultan Azlan Shah (who made Michelle a Datuk)
- Michelle has been seen attending functions of Zambry Abdul Kadir, the court-appointed menteri besar of the Occupied Territory of Perak.
- She has not been seen attending functions of Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, the elected and deposed (by said Sultan and the courts) mentri besar of the now-defunct government-in-exile.
So the logic is irresistably simple:
(father + MCA + Zambry) – Nizar = Michelle + MCA
That’s like saying:
Brian swims + Ducks swim = Brian is a duck.
There is no doubt that Datuk Michelle Yeoh the person is a member of the establishment. She is a UN ambassador and her fiance Jean Todt a Malaysian tourism and housing ambassador. It would be rude for Datuk Michelle Yeoh not to ocassionally attend official functions of the Perak government. It would be unseemly to accept invitations from Nizar, in what would be interpreted as a political act.
On the other hand Michelle Yeoh the actress is the woman who portrayed Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, leader of Burma’s resistance and democracy movement, world-renowned political prisoner.
Michelle Yeoh the actress has also expressed admiration of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, whom she visited while preparing for her film role.
Is it possible that admiration of, and sympathy with, an icon of democratic ideals has sparked ideas of political participation — but through a political party that treats the word democracy as merely a marketing slogan? That is a paradox only Michelle Yeoh can understand and a decision hers alone to make.
For those others on the front lines of the Malaysian democracy movement, admiration of the Ipoh Convent girl who became a world star will soon turn into revulsion if Michelle “The (movie) Lady” becomes Michelle the BN candidate.
Montage by uppercaise.