Jackie Chan came to work today. No kidding. Here as part of his roaming UN Ambassador role, we welcomed him with a sweltering Cambodian Day. The kids,of course,were in high expectations and with huge applause and screams Jackie strode out onto the basketball court . Surprisingly, Jackie had very little security ( I guess he can take care of himself ?) but a phalanx of publicists all of whom seemed to be Dutch – more on them later.
After a brief presentation on his charitable work around the world ( stacks of it ) Jackie regailed us with some classic anecdotes.
“I was born very poor,never went to school and my father tried to sell me for $12o”
” When I was young, I was earning a $1m a day and would crash a Porsche in the morning, a Mercedes in the afternoon and then go out the next day and buy another car…..”
” I still earn $1m a day when I am filming but I have taken 20 days off to travel the world for peace…”
“Can I have a bottle of water ?…”
When it was time for questions from the floor, there were some predictable questions and some unpredictable answers. I put this down to the fact that English is not Jackie’s first language.
Q.”Jackie,what is you ultimate goal?”
A.” Well you know, I always wanted to be as good as Bruce Lee. Actually,I probably am as good as Bruce Lee already. Also I want to create world peace….”
Q.”Jackie, why did you get involved with this programme for World Peace?”
( brief consultation with translator….)
A. “You mean how long has it taken me to get finally involved ? Oh…about 5 years. I have been very busy………”
Q. “Jackie, can I go to the bathroom please ?”
A. ” Only if it brings world peace….”
I am tempted to ask him if he now drives a Toyota Prius hybrid
By now Jackie is starting to sweat and the top layer of clothing comes off. His publicists now start getting into a flap and I am approached by one and asked if I am a “worker”. He then asks me if I can organise another fan and I explain we are out of fans as we mostly use AC. He then asks if we can relocate one of the few fans we have so Jackie doesn’t melt which is a fair call because it really is sweltering under the tin roof. I tell him the kids will then most likely die from dehydration and say I am sure Jackie would not want that. He agrees. 10 minutes later, the khmer staff are moving the huge fan and Jackie says ” what are you doing ? I don’t need the fan – the kids need it !” YAY JACKIE !!
As Jackie continues, I engage the PR guy in chatter and tell him he should have been here 3 days ago ” It was nice and cool..today-stinking hot. Welcome to Cambodia” ” Ya zis eez true”. He actually turns out to be a nice chap and when I ask him if I can join him and Jackie for lunchtime noodles, he tells me they are on a tight schedule. I am asked if I would like to join them for dinner and karaoke later but I tell the PR guy I am playing poker tonight so no can do. ” Ah vell maybe zee next time ok ?”.
By now I am trying to come up with ways to get a one on one shot with Jackie but seems unlikely. There are 400 kids in front of me all with the same idea. I leave the crowds behind and walk backwards in front of him paparazzi style and the best I can do is a personal wave and a wink from Jackie as he leaves in his UN Landcruiser.
It was quite an interesting snapshot of a superstar. Very little entourage, seemingly no special requests, everyone could take photos and although JC seemed to be a little uncomfortable with public speaking, he was probably dog tired. With another huge meet and greet at the Cambodia University to do ( open to the public ) and interviews galore and then a flight out to Bangkok and on to Hong Kong, Jackie is a trooper in my eyes.
Now..bring on Oliver Stone. Due soon.