It’s difficult to muster any kind of appreciation for Jackie Chan which isn’t ironic. Most hold HK’s celebrated cultural icon in the same tongue-in-cheek regard as The Hoff or fellow irritating martial artist Chuck Norris (who, incidentally also harbours a disdain for his homeland). However, as the South China Morning Mouthpiece highlights today, the extra-curricular activities of our beloved Jackie are worth more critical consideration…
Speaking to Southern People Weekly, Chan stated that “Hong Kong has become a city of protest. The whole world used to say it was South Korea. It is now Hong Kong… People scold China’s leaders, or anything else they like, and protest against everything… The authorities should stipulate what issues people can protest over and on what issues it is not allowed.” Quite.
Cultural critic Leung Man-tao responded that “Chan doesn’t bother to understand why some Hong Kong people choose to take to the streets. He just tends to think that whatever the government does is correct.” Meanwhile, Civic Party chair Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said, “I think it’s a shame for the movie industry, because the freedom of expression is fundamental to his line of business,” she said. “Just as the government cannot lay down rules on what movies can be made and what can’t, he ought to appreciate that there should be no restrictions on which protests can be held and which cannot, as long as they comply with the law.”
On the one hand, Chan is a puppy-cuddling UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, conservation activist, supporter of several mainland animal projects and regular charity donor. Locally, aside from smugly adorning California Fitness ads, he set up a foundation to provide scholarships to young Hong Kongers in the areas of health, fitness and the performing arts.
However, despite this impressive philanthropy, his latest martial arts trick appears to involve jamming his foot firmly into his mouth…
- 2004 – As somewhat of a ‘pro-Beijinger’, Chan commented that Taiwan’s elections were “the biggest joke in the world.”
- 2008 – He threatened to ‘chop down‘ protesters speaking out at the Olympic torch rally.
- 2009 – Jackie laments the freedom afforded to ‘chaotic’ post-Handover HK, stating that “I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we are not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”
- 2010 – Just as the outrage died down, Jackie tweeted a comment regarding the Manila bus hijacking: “If they killed the guy [hijacker] sooner, they will say why not negotiate first? If they negotiate first, they ask why not kill the guy sooner? So sad.” The tweet went down like a lead balloon with distraught Hong Kongers, provoking a spate of online ‘Boycott Jackie’ campaigns and an apology.
The Tourist Board received no less than 164 comments and complaints in 2010 insisting the star gets the chop as our cultural ambassador. Nevertheless, he has agreed to leave half of his wealth to charity upon his death and still donates millions to those in need. Should he be forgiven? Perhaps if he can acquire some tact, the sheer amount of good work Jackie does could go some way to offsetting his defective brain-to-mouth filter.