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« This just in: a black man can be Chinese... | Main | More (just a bit more) on the Jackie Chan thing »

April 19, 2009


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The moment I read the article you quoted, I asked myself, "How do such statements serve his material interests?" For me, this is the type of question that must be asked whenever we hear strange utterances from a "celebrity" or otherwise public person. A good deal of time we find that it has been written and rehearsed to elicit a particular response and this response is part of an anticipated strategy to some specific end.

I refuse to accept that 'contestation' can be a word, otherwise I entirely agree.

I think fundamentally what has been quoted has been taken out of context. I would want to see/hear/read a transcript of what he actually said before I get my knickers all knotted up about it.

The "chaos" Chan describes is what a free nation looks like from an authoritarian POV. Democracy and Capitalism (the economic system of a free society) lets people do their own thing as each person sees fit. From the POV of an individual in a free system, life is not chaotic at all, even when one pursues unique aspirations--like acting!

This is not the first time Chan has said things like this. He's been very critical of elections in Taiwan, also calling them "chaotic" (and we all know the special connotations of 亂 in such contexts, which is a much more loaded term than the English equivalent) and "the biggest joke in the world." I find it particularly annoying that someone whose massive wealth comes largely from the people of Taiwan, HK, and the mainland basically says they can't be trusted to vote or hold political power. He, of course, because of this wealth and social standing, is essentially above politics. If things get too hot, I'm sure he'd be on a private jet to Vancouver in no time.

If I could bet money on which government would be more stable and responsive in the long run - Taiwan or China - I'd bet it all on Taiwan.

The thing is - most Chinese people believe in some form of big government. I hear other Chinese people say that "Taiwan is too chaotic (luan)" all the time.

I don't agree with it, but it doesn't surprise me that Jackie Chan would say something like this.

The perceived chaos in Taiwanese democracy really plays into the PRC's PR.

"Chinese characteristics" are a part of Orientalism, which becomes "part of a discourse that reproduces certain stereotypes" - ABSOLUTELY.

This discourse happens all the time and is no surprise within ordinary dialogue amongst Chinese where "gweilo" are excluded. This is not to excuse the practice, merely to expose the phenomenon.

Of interest here is the attention Jackie Chan has attracted within the western press and its audience. This points needs to be turned back on itself, with a reflection upon how that press/audience relationship has shifted (e.g. with respect to racism and the "yellow peril" at the time of Arthur Smith)

This article has excerpts Jackie Chan's original comments in Chinese which may but his words in a slightly different context, although the author of the article himself may be a little bit too generous in his interpretation of Chan's comments.

I prefer to say, "It's all about the Chairmans" as an equivalent phrase, but it hasn't really caught on either.

It's all about the maos sounds a tiny bit off given that mao is another term (and from my experience the more common one) for the chinese dime. Somehow I don't think Chan is that interested in dimes. All about the Dàhuìtáng maybe?

If the suggestion made here--namely, that Chan is pandering to advance his own naked economic interests--is, in fact, true, then that would only appear to strengthen the perception of an out-of-control and chaotic mentality needing "guidance", which adds nothing to support the anti-orientalist argument being presented here, but ironically supports Chan's own contention (and his own culpability in feeding the "chaos"). Anybody get the humor in all this fallacious reasoning?

Does anybody here have the capacity to understand spoken Chinese before giving your condemnation?if so, you might benefit yourself by watch/listening to this piece about Chan on the Taiwan TV, which in itself was taken Chen's wrod out of the context, but anyway, is nearer to the true meaning of Chen's words than parroting the western media, which has its own fish to fry.

It is time to learn some Chinese, which is a difficult language ...

isha: Best to not assume that everyone doesn't understand Chinese, as many do.

My colleagues here in HK and I were discussing this at lunch yesterday. We, of course, had all read it in the original Chinese and still found Chan's statements to be extremely racist and trying to curry favor with the people who just blocked his most recent movie.

Why anyone asks Chan or other celebrities their opinions on anything other than their trade is beyond me.

You wrote, "I am hesitant to give too much credence to what celebrities have to say about politics."

Hoorah! I heard it said recently that, "The world has been taken over by celebrities and it's time to take it back!" A movie star said what about what? Who cares? If you want to hear celebrities talk about what they know then watch "The Actor's Studio" and hear them talk about their craft, otherwise tune out.

Austin Ramzy says just as much on the "Time China Blog":

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