MUSICALS FOR TOURISM: Use epics of two princesses to boost tourism
ACCORDING to legend, Wen Cheng, a Tang Dynasty princess, married Tibet's King Songtsan Gampo in 641; and Hang Li Po, a Ming Dynasty princess, married Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca in 1459.
The details regarding both princesses are scarce and there is uncertainty among historians as to whether these two princesses truly existed.
However, they have something in common.
Their legendary exploits have been passed down generations and their names are well known, the former in China and the latter in Malaysia.
Princess Wen Cheng The Musical, a 100 per cent Malaysian production, made its debut at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, in 2008 and was showcased in Taipei last year.
In May this year, the musical was performed in Beijing, and in July, in Xian, the capital of China during the Tang Dynasty.
The musical was very well received in Xian.
The city rolled out the red carpet for Malaysians, as local folk were proud of foreigners embracing the legacy of their princess, and had come to pay homage in her homeland.
It was an opportune time for our public and private sector organisations to promote tourism, trade and investments, as the musical generated a groundswell of goodwill towards Malaysia.
I urge the people that produced Princess Wen Cheng The Musical to collaborate with the authorities to produce the mother of all musicals -- Princess Hang Li Po The Musical.
It is time to bring the slogan "Malaysia, truly Asia" to a higher level, as musicals and movies are more effective than ordinary advertising and promotions.
The legends of Princess Hang Li Po and Princess Wen Cheng have survived for more than 500 and 1,300 years respectively, and are likely to last longer than the best advertising and promotional campaigns.
Y.S. Chan, Kuala Lumpur