As a young man in university, I’d always enjoyed Jackie Chan movies. I loved his outrageous stunts and comical fighting scenes. In movies like Police Story, he played the role of a righteous policeman who was always forced to break the rules to fight evil and stand up for the downtrodden. Still, it never occurred to me that he was also a hero in real life. Nevertheless, I had a lot of respect for the man as an actor. He spilled his guts to keep audiences thrilled.
But make no mistake, Jackie Chan can get political off screen. No, he’s not a dissident. He’s sings for the Communist Party. And even if his son were not arresting and awaiting judgement, he would still be Beijing’s apologist. That can only be good for business. His business. He has often been regarded as the most pro-Beijing Chinese star. Some have labelled him as a “slave”. Others have even called him a dog. Though I wouldn’t be so unkind, I had never dragged and dropped his onscreen heroic persona into real life.
My real life hero is Chow Yun Fat.
Yes, he may not be a martial arts expert. He may not have performed any “heroic” death-defying stunts. But when asked about being banned in mainland China after voicing support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Chow simply replied: mai wan siew di lor (just earn less then). This piece of news has gone viral in Singapore. It is not the sort thing you hear very often in a land where people cower in fear when threatened with stagnant property prices.
Now, this what a real hero looks like.
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