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Jackie Chan wows Aussie audience on his first public talk in Sydney

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-08-07 13:44

Hollywood ace Jackie Chan wowed hundreds of people at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday night with an honest take on how he got started in show business and the ups and downs he had to endure in achieving success.

Chan who is currently in Australia filming his latest flick "Bleeding Steel" was speaking to a packed audience at his first public Sydney talk titled "Jackie Chan in Conversation."

"I came to Australia when I was 13. I think at that time there was only something like 13 million people in the whole country and this is a huge country, it's very little compared to Hong Kong, but there (in Hong Kong) everywhere you go you see people, people, people but in Canberra when I walk out the street at 5pm there is nobody," Chan said.

Chan also recalled how he had to resort to using hand gestures and facial expressions to communicate with the Australians during his early days in Canberra as he hardly spoke a word of English then.

"My father used to leave me at the shopping mall daily before heading off to work. He would also give me some money to buy food. As I couldn't speak a word of English then, I had a hard time buying food with the money my father had left me."

"When people spoke to me in English, I would just nod my head and walk away, because I didn't know how to answer them back. In the end, I would stay hungry for hours and by the time my father came (to pick me), I would be starving. That's when I decided that I could no longer go on (and that) I needed to learn English," Chan said.

Chan's father later made arrangements for him to attend a government school that was offering free English lessons. But by being the only Chinese student at the school, Chan revealed how his teacher had decided to give him an English name as his original name was hard to pronounce.

"At the school, the teacher asked me what my name was and I said Chan Kong-San, the teacher said nope your name is "Steven", I said okay," he said, sparking laughter among the audience.

But the name "Steven" did not last as Chan later took on another English name "Jack" which was first given to him by a Taiwanese man he had befriended in Canberra.

"This man had found me a job at the construction site. The owner of the firm asked him what my name was, and since his name was Jack, my name became Jack as well. This was also the first time I learned how to use the words like cement, and shovel," Chan said.

Chan later decided to adopt the name "Jack" permanently but added the "ie" at the end, after a Feng Shui expert told him that it would bring him better luck. And Chan hasn't looked back since, from a low-end stuntman, Chan soon worked his way up and became a worldwide sensation for his leading roles in Kung-Fu style movies. Today, at 62, Chan has starred in more than 250 films and invested close to 50 years of his life in the trade.

His earnings have also improved. When he first started, Chan only earned as much as 5 U.S dollars a day but today his net worth is standing close to 1.78 billion U.S. dollars. He attributes his success to his willingness to work hard and create movies that have positive messages weaved into them.

Chan is currently in Sydney to film his latest flick "Bleeding Steel", Australia's most expensive Chinese movie ever to be produced in the country. It's also Chan's first movie to be filmed within the Australian shores after a 20-year lapse. In 1996, Chan starred in "Mr. Nice Guy" which was filmed across Melbourne.

"Bleeding Steel" is Chan's first foray into the sci-fi genre. It tells a story of a hardened special force agent Lin (played by Chan) who fights to protect a young woman who is an important witness for a major case, but ends up being a victim of the case himself. Besides Sydney, other location for the film includes Beijing, China, and Taipei, Taiwan.

The flick will also star Aussie actress Tess Haubrich, China's Erica Xia-Hou and Show Luo from China and Taiwan's newcomer Nana Ouyang.


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