My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 October, 2013, 2:40am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 October, 2013, 2:40am

In defence of Jackie, but only this time


Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.

Some stars have been around for so long that after all the adoration and worship, there is nothing left to do but to trash them. Their fans grow old and forget about them while younger audiences move on to other stars. So it's just as well that Jackie Chan pursues what's left of his career on the mainland and in Hollywood.

That's rather sad because I can still remember the first time my primary schoolmates and I saw Drunken Master in the late 1970s, the breakthrough movie that made him a star and heir to the late Bruce Lee.

That and several of his movies that followed were a defining moment in Hong Kong's cultural history during the city's heyday.

Like Michael Jackson when he was still alive, Chan is now a figure of jokes and ridicule in Hong Kong. Now if only American paparazzi would realise that and stop referring to him as Hong Kong's biggest action star. It doesn't help that Chan has a loose tongue without being the most articulate of persons. I am sure he harbours some seriously dubious ideas that are best kept to himself.

But his latest gaffe was distorted out of context by some Chinese-language media. Given his often blockheaded remarks, he usually deserved public opprobrium; not this time, though.

For being the star who entertained me most during my youth, I will come to his defence this one time.

In an interview in the US, Chan said he sometimes wished that more countries would experience natural disasters. He was responding to a reporter's question about bilateral relations between China and the US. He said both countries needed more co-operation, adding more countries should co-operate more often. It was something completely anodyne. Then things went wrong. "I should not say that," he said. "Sometimes I really like to see some countries have a disaster coming, or either big tsunami, or either big earthquake."

What he was trying to say was that countries often drop their enmity only when disasters like a tsunami or an earthquake strikes one of them. He hoped more countries could work together without having to wait until a natural disaster occurs. That's all.

It's tasteless and tacky to quote an old fool out of context and make him a villain for saying nothing.


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