A Lea Salonga Interview
ROBERT CHARLES CHIEN & THE INTRODUCTION
LEA SALONGA: As I got to know Christine, I got to trust her (that's usually how it's built, but getting to know someone over time). The more she got to know me, the more she figured that Rob and I might be a good pair to set up on a date. I was glad that she did; in November 2002, we went on our first night out, and have been together ever since. We both love to eat, sing, and laugh together. The engagement ring was just a natural progression of a wonderful relationship.
LIFE BEING MARRIED
LEA SALONGA: I just experience freedom. It's kind of ironic to describe marriage as a state of incredible freedom, but it is. Just not having to be bound to being on your best behavior or having to always try and make a good impression or not being happy in a relationship is definitely liberating, and when you're free to just be yourself with the person you love, it affects every other part of your life.
US ASIANS: Recognizing the great diversity that exists within your marriage (Robert: Chinese/Japanese/Hawaiian/American & Lea: Filipino/American), how will diversity be handled when you have your 2 to 3 kids?
LEA SALONGA: We'll figure it out if and when it happens. For sure we'll definitely tell our kids about their roots, but they'll be raised American. This country is a melting pot of cultures and people, just like them.
US ASIANS: Applauding your goals to have your children bi-lingual (Tagalog, British – cockney and fine British - and English), would they also be learning Chinese and Japanese, along with various aspects of being born in Hawaii – as the result of Robert’s ethnic background and heritage (especially since Robert looks like a Pinoy?!?!)?
LEA SALONGA: Okay... the British thing above are ACCENTS, not LANGUAGES. They'll be bilingual in Tagalog and English. Unfortunately they won't be learning Chinese or Japanese, as Rob speaks neither language. I probably will ask Rob's Chinese grandmother to expose my children's ears to Chinese. It's something I'd like for them to hear and learn.
US ASIANS: Reflecting on your comment that "My family is far more important than my work, and that's how I feel things should be" – will there be a time where you’ll be limiting your appearances because of family or children – especially since it’s been rumored that you are planning to resume her pre-med studies?
LEA SALONGA: Oh goodness, where did you hear that I would be resuming pre-med? I'll be limiting my appearances when a child comes into the picture. At that point, all energies must be focused on raising children, with all else becoming 2nd priority. That is how I was brought up, and chances are that's how my own children will be brought up too.
US ASIANS: Recognizing that you own a 2002 white Lexus IS300 E-Shift Sedan with ivory interior, is there a “his and hers” Lexus IS300?
LEA SALONGA: No, my husband drives a Mini Cooper S.
US ASIANS: Does being two months older provide you with a great perspective(s) on life? (hehehe)
LEA SALONGA: No, it doesn't. In fact, he's probably more worldly than I am.
LEA SALONGA: Hmmm... as time goes on, I just realize how much he puts our marriage on the front burner of his life. All decisions he makes are with the both of us in mind... we both think in that way. I've also discovered his patience... it runs far far deeper than my own. He's also someone who's willing to put his pride aside if he's wrong, and will not let an argument go very far.
US ASIANS: Since Robert is involved with a technology-based company (Note: He specializes in customer relations management technology), will there be more information on your many activities on the Internet?
LEA SALONGA: He's a tech businessman, not a webmaster. So, no. I'll ultimately decide of I'll have more of a presence on the internet.
US ASIANS: Asked during an exclusive interview in L.A. last year why Rob chose July 28 to make his marriage proposal, Lea said, "In Chinese, 8 is supposed to be a lucky number, isn’t it?"
LEA SALONGA: Yep, that's right.
US ASIANS: Recognizing your mother’s advice on dating that "The man you should marry should love you more than you love him" and discovering that this person is Robert – what surprise benefits has this brought you?
LEA SALONGA: I don't know that it's provided "surprise benefits" necessarily... it just manifests itself in our day-to-day relationship. I know – and always will know – that my best interests and the interests of our marriage will always be on his mind. I guess she just wanted to make sure that I would always be taken care of in the way that she felt I deserved... and my husband treats me like a queen. No complaints.
LEA SALONGA: It does tell us to live our lives fully in the way that she did. She lived a very full and vibrant life.
US ASIANS: Could you share which one of your (Robert and yourself) songs – that included a special duet and a song written especially for the wedding - that were included in your custom-made CD that was given to each wedding guest.
LEA SALONGA: Rob and I only recorded one duet for the album (With You I'm Born Again), plus one solo (Two Words). The rest were songs that we both just liked.
US ASIANS: How did the process of filming your wedding ("I Do" — The Robert Chien-Lea Salonga Wedding Special aired on ABS-CBN Channel 2 on Jan. 23, Friday, 9 p.m. with Bobby Garcia as director, Chit Guerrero as supervising producer, Mickey Munoz as program manager, Esterbelle Francisco and Jinky Fabelico as executive producers, and Mori Rodriguez as writer – along with footage from your bridal shower, Robert’s Las Vegas stag party, interviews with family members and Robert’s proposal) add to the magic and intimacy of your wedding?
LEA SALONGA: I don't know how having a camera crew and a huge production staff added to the intimacy of the wedding, because there's nothing intimate about having your wedding aired on national TV. It did enable us to share the day with my fans... many of them wanted to somehow be part of the day.
US ASIANS: Could you elaborate the importance of having everyone involved in the wedding as part of your “life security force?
LEA SALONGA: In what interview did I mention this? I can't remember the reference. Unless you mean this: everyone who was involved in my wedding was a large part of my life. My best friend was the coordinator and Best Man, my best girlfriends were the Matron of Honor and Bridesmaids (some of whom even sang or played music at the wedding). Those who were actively involved in the planning of the day were people close to me. It made the wedding day very personal.