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Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh receives Presidential Medal of freedom from Biden

KUALA LUMPUR: Hollywood superstar and acclaimed Malaysian actress Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh has received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Joe Biden on Friday.

The ceremony, held at the White House on Friday night (May 3) local time or on Saturday morning (May 4) in Malaysia, marked a historic moment as Yeoh became the first Asian actress to receive this esteemed recognition.

The White House, in its introduction, described Yeoh as one of the most acclaimed actresses of our time and over four decades, has shattered stigmas and stereotypes to forge a groundbreaking career as one of the most versatile performers in the world.

“Becoming the first Asian to win an Academy Award for Best Actress, her efforts to advance gender equality, conservation issues and global health have been felt around the world.

“Equals parts performer and pioneer, Michelle Yeoh continues to enrich the American culture and inspires us to believe in the possibilities on the big screen and beyond,” it said as Biden presented her the Medal of Freedom.

The event was streamed live on the White House’s facebook page.

Yeoh’s historic Oscar win in 2023 for her role in Everything Everywhere All At Once solidified her status as a trailblazer in the entertainment industry.

She has been a vocal advocate for environmental conservation and humanitarian causes, using her platform to raise awareness and drive positive change on a global scale.

Furthermore to her cinematic achievements, Yeoh’s philanthropic endeavours have garnered widespread acclaim.

Yeoh, as an ambassador for cultural exchange and understanding, exemplifies the values of inclusivity, empathy and resilience that define the spirit of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Apart from Yeoh, 18 other individuals who had achieved significant “firsts” in their respective fields were also bestowed with the prestigious honour.

They include Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space, and Jim Thorpe, the legendary athlete who became the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal in 1912, were among those recognised for their groundbreaking accomplishments.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, established by former US president John F. Kennedy in 1963, is bestowed upon individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, promoted world peace, or made significant contributions to cultural or public endeavours.

Biden extended his heartfelt congratulations to Yeoh and all the recipients, reaffirming the enduring commitment of the US to honour those who embody the highest ideals of excellence, service and leadership.

Source: The Sun