“Nei ho. Nei ho ma?”
I am just warming up to greet Mr. Jackie Chan in Cantonese for our interview over lunch in his hometown, also known as Hong Kong, The City of Life.
And you already know from a recent post on October 27 that I have been quite fond of Hong Kong.
Let me re-phrase that: I just love the place!
I will try to be as concise as humanly possible:
Staying at The Royal Garden Hotel at TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) Kowloon means that I just have to walk over to the Star Ferry Terminal and hop on the ferry for a short ride over to Central on Hong Kong Island. This is very cool!
The people of Hong Kong dine on Dim Sum and because nothing conveys a sense of Chinese life more vividly than a visit to a crowded, lively Cantonese restaurant. That’s what it’s going to be. That’s what it has to be.
Let’s check out Frommer’s recommendation:
The Luk Yu Tea House, that first opened in 1933 and that is famous for its Dim Sum.
Their quaint ceiling fans, spittoons, and wooden booths evoke a 1930s ambience.
Everyday packed with regular customers, it’s hard to find an empty seat here, but I have no doubt that there’s always a table for Jackie Chan and a guest.
So I get there on time or better shortly before our scheduled interview and would you believe it, they simply don’t believe that I actually have a lunch appointment with Hong Kong’s favourite son.
Can we even call him that?
Now, why won’t they believe me? Hmm, let me think.
I get over it within not more than a micro-second, because I know that I am scheduled to meet Mr. Jackie Chan alias Chan Kong Sang which happens to mean “born in Hong Kong”.
And there he comes already and even though we haven’t met before in person he somehow knows that I am The Martial Arts Reporter. And no, not because I am wearing some funny flower in the button-hole of my blazer to get his attention.
It’s gotta be the positive energy, man.
I have been looking forward to this opportunity for some time now and my famous interviewee can sense it.
The initial welcome is very sincere and I must say, it feels like we have known each other ever since we were kids. Odd, isn’t it?
“Nei ho. Nei ho ma?”
And of course, Jackie is impressed with my absolutely accent-free pronunciation and he responds in absolutely accent-free Cantonese himself. Why am I not surprised?
He is throwing all this Cantonese at me that my head starts to spin, so I politely ask him if it would be alright to switch over to English.
That’s quite fine with him, he says.
He just thought that I actually spoke Cantonese and I just thought I would try to impress him with a couple of words. We get a good laugh over that one.
Now, in the meantime the word has spread that The Martial Arts Reporter is in house. Or is it because superstar Jackie Chan is in house? We’ll never know for sure.
Anyway, they have to close off the entrance to the restaurant to avoid the masses to swarm inside and create total chaos.
And believe me, it’s already pretty crowded in th Luk Yu Tea House.
The owners themselves show us to our booth and the waitress immediately brings us some Jasmine tea, which just happens to be one of my favorites. This is turning out to be an awesome day. Can you feel it?
We find ourselves in an energetic place where we can feast on spring rolls, steamed dumplings, and other delicacies served in bamboo steamers. And it all tastes great!
So, here I am sitting with Jackie Chan and I remind myself that I want to ask him just a handful of questions that go a bit deeper than just touch the surface. You know what I’m saying.
There is hardly a corner left in the world that hasn’t heard of Jackie Chan. The martial artist, actor, action choreographer, filmmaker, comedian, producer, screenwriter, philanthropist, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer.
In his movies, he consistently sets the bar higher for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons and innovative stunts.
He has come a long way since his early days as a stunt performer in the Bruce Lee movies “Fist of Fury” and “Enter The Dragon”.
Jackie Chan has been able to carve out his own personal niche and has created a global fan base that is nothing short of mindboggling.
But I do not want to rehash the stuff that we all know about him in this unique encounter.
I would like to ask Jackie Chan in person and uncensored:
“What do you consider your greatest personal accomplishment and what are you most proud of so far?”
“If you had start all over and let’s remember that you started your movie career at a very young age, what would you do different, if at all?”
“What does your perfect day look like?”
“There are certainly many people who would love to meet you. Who would you like sit down with?”
“If you do have something like a so-called “bucket list”, can you share what’s on it?”
“You have probably heard of The Bigger The Why, The Easier The How, you make things look easy, even though you still work harder than most, what is your Why or Life’s Purpose?”
“If you would want to be asked just one question by an interviewer, what would that question be?”
I am pretty sure this is what my perfect interview on my perfect day with Jackie Chan would look like if I ever get the opportunity to sit down with him over Dim Sum.
Trust me, I am ready and I am looking forward to it!