Monday, November 15, 2010

Jackie Chan: The Man That Does it All!

Many of you know Jackie Chan, that lovable, martial arts – fastest moves since Bruce Lee – clown that played in the Rush Hour trio of movies. What you may not know about Jackie Chan is that… well, let me just tell you about him.

Mr. Chan has been incredibly prolific. His movie career spans nearly 50 years – he has made over 100 movies. To say nothing of his singing career: he sings many title tracks to the movies he stars in, and he sings beautifully. He also teaches martial arts, writes directs and produces movies and works with up and coming singers.

But that’s not all. At the peak of his fame, Mr. Chan looked around at all the antiques and all of the cars he had collected and wondered what they were all about in the face of so many people in his native China, starving and lacking in education. So he sold his entire collection and used the proceeds – and a great deal of his personal wealth to start the Jackie Chan Foundation, which helps fund schools and feed poor people in rural China.

As though that weren’t enough, he started and currently runs another foundation called Jackie Chan Kids, to encourage and inspire kids worldwide to seek education. He has a cartoon series titled the same name. All of the proceeds go to help educate children worldwide.

All of this while making movies and singing his heart out on CD after CD and in movie after movie. One wonders how he has time for making movies while doing all of this philanthropic work. Or do you wonder how he has time for philanthropy while making all of those movies and CDs? And how does he find time to stay so fit and train so many others in martial arts?

I don’t know. And really, this entry is not just about the accomplishments of Mr. Chan, although they are impressive. In fact, if you want to hear just how impressive his vocals alone are, simply go to YouTube and search for a song called Ai le jiu suan (type it in just like that). Take a listen to him sing; I’m sure you’ll be impressed.

One thing you may absolutely not know about Mr. Chan is that he also does product endorsements – like he wasn’t busy enough already. Seriously: in China, you can see Jackie’s smiling face on billboards, buses, in grocery stores and department stores, selling anything from razors to shampoo to cameras.

What is especially remarkable about that is that, in China, a ‘personality’ is personally held liable if the product turns out to be harmful to the public.

Who remembers that devastating crisis of 2008, when baby formula was tainted with melamine – a chemical additive used in the manufacture of PVC, sending over 300 babies to the hospital and several of them to their graves? This tragedy rocked the country like the Tylenol poisoning rocked America, back in the late ‘70s. The makers of the formula put melamine in it to boost protein levels in the milk so that, when food inspectors tested the milk it showed appropriate levels of all nutrients. When the babies drank the formula they were immediately sickened, grew kidney stones and showed toxic levels of melamine in their blood. Criminal liability ensued and just recently, two of that company’s directors were sentenced to life in jail.

Incidentally, a father whose baby died as a result of melamine poisoning has been an outspoken advocate for food safety, especially baby food. He was recently convicted of disturbing the peace and sent to jail for two years. The melamine tragedy just keeps on going, sadly.

Fortunately, 297 babies recovered fully and are now thriving toddlers. The rest of China still shivers when thinking about this event.

That makes this law – the one where the endorser is held personally liable even more dangerous for the personalities that endorse products. Matter of fact, many Stars have stopped endorsing any products at all.

But not the Venerable Mr. Chan. And why is this so remarkable? It means that Mr. Chan is personally guaranteeing the public’s safety when that product is used. It means that he, as opposed to so many of his fellow actors and singers, takes the time to investigate the integrity of the product he endorses. He gets directly involved with anything he lends his name to and that is a condition of his endorsing a product. He is a holdout, an icon of trust and a harbinger of safety and comfort in this country. Jackie Chan is so trusted in China that whatever he endorses sells like hotcakes.

Just recently, Hollywood let Jackie Chan demonstrate his acting chops in the movie Karate Kid 2010. That story allows this incredibly talented, experienced, thoughtful, deeply sensitive and dedicated man to show just how he can reach an audience. If you have not yet seen this movie, I strongly encourage you to – if only to see Jackie Chan do something more than joke and throw his fists at lightning speed.

It is almost a shame that he is such a hero, going quietly about his way, doing good with everything he’s got… and all he’s known for throughout most of America is Rush Hour. Why, he’s a role model and hardly anyone thinks of him that way!

But then, America doesn’t get to see this in him.

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