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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Regal couple

February 26, 2008

Malaysia Star, Malaysia
25 February, 2008

JEWEL Of Tibet – The Musical is a production that has taken almost a
decade to make and it has come to fruition thanks to the tireless
efforts of the close-knit creative family of Musical On Stage

Here, the male and female leads, Yang Wei Han and Paulway Chew share
tales of their own journey through this production.

Besides starring as the Tibetan king, Yang, 36, also doubles as the
multi-media designer in charge of animation in this musical

"The colours are rich, bold and vibrant in the beautiful landscape of
Tibet as the sun seems to shine brighter; this brings out lively hues
that are reflected in the outlook of its spirited people."
Yang Wei Han portrays King Songsten Gampo of Tibet in Jewel of Tibet.

Yang plays the warrior King Songsten Gampo who led a charge of reform
and revolution to unite Tibet. "Although, he could fight very well, he
was quite compassionate in that he always offered that not a drop of
blood would be spilled if people were willing to surrender. In Tibet,
people pay homage to King Songsten Gampo in temples as he is very much
admired for his contributions to his homeland."

The forward-thinking king faced much opposition to his ideas of reform
and revolution, and even had to deal with many assassination attempts.
Although he knew that he was doing the right thing, he still didn't
find it easy to chart change and progress.

"Portraying this character required a great deal of physical energy
and effort as King Songsten Gampo was a great and powerful warrior.
Unlike the other more subdued and restrained characters (an Indian
prince and a Chinese scholar) I have played in previous musicals, this
role called for all-out powerful voice projection and more obvious

In Siddhartha the musical (1999), Yang played Indian Prince Siddhartha
who attained enlightenment to become Buddha and spread teachings of
peace and compassion. In Above Full Moon (2004), he portrayed Chinese
scholar Lee Shu Tong who propagated the value of education and the
arts towards reformation and was later ordained as the monk known as
Master Hong Yi. In the four-part The Perfect Circle (2006), he again
played the lead role.

Chew, 30, who plays the Chinese princess says she can identify with
the princess' thoughts and feelings as her character's situation
appropriately mirrors her own.

Married to an American-Chinese, Chew is also in the process of
uprooting, to start life afresh in a remote land.

There are several scenes in the musical where tears well up in Chew's
eyes and roll down her cheeks.

"This character is quite challenging to play as there is a lot of
internal conflict and also overwhelming emotion to express."

"Like Princess Wen Cheng, I have many mixed feelings although I
imagine hers to probably be magnified four-fold as ladies in those
days were more closeted and rarely set foot outside their home.

"In a way I feel I'm much luckier. Unlike me, she had to marry a man
she had never met and leave her homeland and travel to a foreign
country with a culture and landscape so different from her own.
However, once she had made the decision, she steeled herself to forge
ahead and never looked back."

An admirable lady who is gentle and kind yet brave and strong, the
princess captured many hearts with her compassion and wisdom as she
advocated education, technology, medicines and the peaceful teachings
of Buddhism. Temples along the princess's journey from China to Tibet
display images of her along with King Songsten Gampo of Tibet, to both
of whom people pay homage.

"Jewel of Tibet is so appropriate now as March 8 is International
Women's Day and the musical honours an amazing woman who has
contributed so much to the people."

Prior to her role here, Chew played Indian Princess Yasodhana in
Siddhartha and Japanese girl Tomoko in Above Full Moon.
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