MANILA, Philippines – She became an iconic Asian actress after starring in Hollywood films “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Mummy 3,” but Michelle Yeoh said another role is superior to her movie parts.
“I am an actress and sometimes I’m lucky enough to be handcuffed to some other spy called James Bond. On a good day, I get to run across the rooftops in ancient China,” Yeoh said during the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Transport Forum at the ADB Headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday.
“But of all the roles that I played, nothing has been more important and fulfilling as the work that I’ve done in behalf of the Make Roads Safe campaign to improve road safety,” the Malaysian superstar declared.
Yeoh is the Global Ambassador for the Make Roads Safe campaign which is coordinated by the FIA (International Automobile Federation) Foundation for the Automobile and Society.
“I am not a road safety expert. Just an actress,” she stressed.
But while she knows a little more about camera angles than road safety zones, Yeoh said she can conclude that road safety “desperately needs change” and has to be prioritized.
As global ambassador for the past 3 years, she has traveled in every continent and has met with presidents, transport ministers, road engineers, health workers, community organizers as well as numerous families that suffered losses due to road violence.
Only in the movies
The actress, who has been known for her martial arts moves, even said that road violence is more brutal than the enemies she encountered in films.
“Of all the world’s dominating villains I’ve defeated with pretty cool martial arts moves, none has been as cruel or deadly as this epidemic on our roads. This is a killer that robs families of their children, that separates lovers forever, that destroys lives in a sudden blow of violence,” she stated.
She urged the forum attendees to take action to improve the road safety situation in Asia as well as worldwide. (Read: Michelle Yeoh urges Asians to be road safety heroes)
When asked about her “handcuffed motorcycle stunt” with Pierce Brosnan on “Tomorrow Never Dies,” Yeoh remarked that such a stunt is only for the movies.
She said, “That’s fantasy… How can you do that in real life?”
“In real life, we don’t get a second chance. Sometimes, you don’t get a Take 2,” she added.
She also said that she has jumped off buildings for her stunts, but she is scared to cross the street because of the dangers on the road.
Not just a pretty face
Yeoh, meantime, shared how she got into the road safety campaign during a media briefing.
Her husband, Jean Todt, is the current FIA President. When he was still with Ferrari, Todt invited Yeoh to join a project in Vietnam for safety helmets.
“It was Jean who introduced this wonderful friendship with FIA Foundation,” she related.
Her travels around the globe made her realize the plight of those vulnerable to road deaths and injuries.
“It really has opened my eyes to what’s happening around us,” she shared.
When asked if she was chosen to become a global ambassador because of the prejudice that most or some women are bad drivers, Yeoh said she does not think so.
FIA Foundation deputy director general Saul Billingsley reacted, “Absolutely not.”
“But it’s nice to have a pretty face,” Yeoh commented before flashing her winning smile to the press. – Report by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com