Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has extended his gratitude to two Johoreans for making the state proud with their achievements in the global arena
In a Facebook post last Saturday, 18 September, Sultan Ibrahim lauded Hong Kong-based singer-songwriter Gin Lee and US-based comedian-actor Ronny Chieng for "putting Johor on the world map".
The 62-year-old sultan said Lee started her journey to becoming a singer at 18 years old after emerging as the champion in Malaysia's Universal Music songwriting competition.
In December 2009, she released her debut Mandarin album ONE & ONLY.
"Two years later, Gin Lee moved to Hong Kong and debuted as a Cantopop singer after self-learning Cantonese and released several chart-topping songs, including an album beGin which won Best Female Singer at the 2020 AIM Chinese Music Awards presented by the Malaysian Recording Industry Association," His Majesty wrote.
"The 34-year-old recently took the stage with one of Hong Kong's 'Four Heavenly Kings', Jacky Cheung, at the Miss Hong Kong 2021 pageant, singing their duet Let the Street Lights Rest When the Sun Rises."
The song was released a few weeks before Lee shared the stage with the 'God of Songs' himself.
Lee's journey to becoming a renowned singer has not been an easy path.
In an MTV Asia interview, Lee said she had no friends when she first arrived in Hong Kong 10 years ago before slowly finding her footing in the bustling city.
Other than working hard in Hong Kong, Lee also found success in China after participating in The Voice Of China in 2015.
In the talent show, her performance won Jay Chou's attention, leading her to become a mentee of the 'King of Mandopop'. She eventually found fame in mainland China.
She also once collaborated with Eason Chan for a radio drama. The latter is a famous singer in both Chinese and Cantonese communities around the world.
The Star reported that Lee was born in Melaka and raised in Johor.
In the post, Sultan Ibrahim also penned a tribute to Ronny Chieng, who is not shy to tell the world that he is a Johor Bahru homeboy
His Majesty said Chieng was cast in 2018 romcom Crazy Rich Asians with fellow Malaysian star Henry Golding and he will star in Marvel's Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, which is set to release in Malaysia on 7 October.
"Chieng started out as a stand-up comedian since his university days, where he performed with Trevor Noah in 2013, and later proceeded to become a senior correspondent on The Daily Show hosted by the latter," he wrote.
"In 2016, Chieng co-wrote and starred in the sitcom Ronny Chieng: International Student, based on his own experience as a Malaysian student at the University of Melbourne, and he was named one of '10 Comics to Watch' by Variety in that same year."
"Netflix started streaming his stand-up special Asian Comedian Destroys America! since 2019."
"He has clearly not forgotten his roots as seen in a Malaysia Day promo video for Shang Chi, where he flaunted his Malaysian passport and spoke fluent Malay by saying 'Johor Bahru kampung saya. Saya anak Malaysia'."
"Chieng showcased his use of 'lah' and 'meh' in his daily conversations and his ability to still order at a kopitiam like a pro."
On 16 September, Marvel Malaysia's official YouTube channel uploaded a video featuring Chieng greeting everyone a 'Selamat Hari Malaysia'
Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the biggest film franchise in the world, according to Statisca.
Chieng is the second Malaysian to exist inside MCU after Michelle Yeoh, who made an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. as Aleta Ogord.
Yeoh also stars in Shang-Chi, making the first MCU film with two Malaysian actors in it.
Chieng was brought up in Johor Bahru. In a casual interview conducted in a Singaporean hawker stall, the 35-year-old actor told CNA that he used to travel from Johor Bahru to Singapore daily to study.
He had to wake up at 4am to catch a "Mickey Mouse" bus to get across the causeway for school and wouldn't be back home until 8pm. He did that for three years.
"I often get asked, 'Are you Singaporean or Malaysian?'," he said in the interview, to which he said, "I am a Johor Bahru guy."
Other achievements Cheing accomplished while being the senior correspondent on The Daily Show include interviewing Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, among other big personalities.
Sultan Ibrahim ended the post by thanking the duo for "bringing glory to Johor in their own way" and wished them continued success
His Majesty hopes that Lee and Chieng can be an inspiration of what Johoreans can achieve.
In the comments section, both Lee and Chieng thanked Sultan Ibrahim for the tribute post.
Chieng shared a link to a photo showing his parents meeting His Majesty back in the early 1980s, while Lee said she is "truly honored and humbled to receive Tuanku's acknowledgment and kind words".