Jackie Chan Calls for Peace, Understanding--and a Boxing Match

The Cambodia Daily, 12 November 2009

Instead of continuing the dangerous escalation between Cambodia and Thailand, international action movie star Jockie Chan playfuIIy proposed yesterday that the two countries settle their diplomatic dispute with a boxing match between the two nation's prime ministers.

“They should sit down to talk, or box," Mr. Chan said yesterday during an interview in PhnomPenh.

Mr. Chan, who arrived in the capital Tuesday-the same day as fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra-to speak as part of the lecture series "Bridges- dialogues towards a culture of peace."

Cambodia and Thailand are considered part of one geographical region and should be united in helping each other, Mr. Chan said, arguing that military conflict is not the answer.

"You would hurt people, ordinary people, and the land and the economy," he said about the consequences of war. “It would take many years to recover."

Although he is well known for his movies, including "Drunken Master” and the "Rush Hour" series, Mr. Chan is also dedicated to philanthropy. In 2OO6, he announced that he would bequeath half of his fortune to the Jackie Chan Charitable
Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting the performing arts , healthcare and education. He is also a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

He said his global celebrity status allows him to promote causes on a larger scale and more quickly.

"I am rich enough and famous enough to give back now," Mr. Chan said."It makes me happy."

Mr. Chan spoke to two groups of students yesterday about the importance of culture and how it can be used as a tool world peace. People should strive to promote their own cultures but keep an open mind to the cultures of others, he said.

“If everyone knows everyone's culture then there would be no war,” he added. “How many people have died for religion? Too many.”

During his appearance at the International School of Phnom Penh, Mr. Chan told stories about his charity work, especially his “Build a School For a Dollar” program, in which he promises to match every dollar donated to the program in order to build schools in China. “When I die, I want $0 in my bank,” he said, of his philanthropy goal.

He also stressed the importance of education, telling the students that he regretted squandering learning opportunities when he was younger.