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Jackie Chan: Become the Dragon

Learn English with Jackie Chan’s Speech. Jackie Chan gave his first public speech at Sydney Opera House 20 years after he appeared before cameras for the first time in Australia. The Chinese superstar discussed his thrilling life and career, from his Hong Kong smash hit Drunken Master and Hollywood breakthrough Rumble in the Bronx to the upcoming Bleeding Steel (to be filmed in Sydney) as well as his lifelong commitment to philanthropy and Australia, where he has lived with his family since 1978. Known as a tireless cultural ambassador, Jackie Chan delighted audiences with an intimate and lively discussion of his celebrated life and career on the Concert Hall stage.

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Jackie Chan “Quote”

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“Now I am older, I understand we have to accept who we are.” Jackie Chan


“Let’s talk. Let’s talk.

I love you too.

Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you, Jackie.

Thank you.

Seeing the audience full of people in the theater. Obviously, this kind of admiration and respect is all around the world for you. But, I think, Australia will have to say, they got a lead on the rest of the world because they claim you as their own. So, welcome back to Australia.

Thank you.

Let’s go to the business side of things. You have been making films all around the world, but also in Australia. And can you share with us, this comeback, is it different to your previous times, I think you’ve made films in Melbourne, Brisbane, in Sydney. What do you love most about coming back to Australia? What did you experience differently to other times?

Big difference. When I come to Australia when I was 17, I think the whole country about like 30 million people, that’s all. I was in Canberra. Very few people, you know. The country is so big. So, let us say, from Hong Kong. Hong Kong just that tiny small, 7 million people, wherever you go, there’s people, people, people. In Canberra, five o’clock, I walk on  the street, nobody. Really. I just remember lot of memory, really. We don’t have a opera house yet, at that time. Suppose, I’m going back to Australia, for Canberra, for visiting my parents. It’s a holiday. Somehow, I cannot stay anymore. I tried to training but at that time, you know 28. Bell jeans, tight shirt, then jogging on the street because I didn’t bring any training suit. Then jogging, jogging, then the car stopped. Are you okay? And at that time, my English not that good. I just, uh-huh. They’re some really very nice people. You want a ride? Uh-uh, exercise. Okay. They go away. Then I… Then a car, they keep on stop. They thought I’m missing the road. Then somehow, that’s how I feel in Canberra. When I come to Sydney, there’s not like today, so many big building then. And that time, I feel like Australia as a part of my home. So, whenever I have a chance, the first movie I make is Mr. Nice Guy. Is it Mr. Nice Guy? Yes. I think, Mr. Nice Guy. Then we worked there for, like, four months. Then after I go back, I get a very good experience. Then I just tell my whole crew. The next movie is First Strike, then coming back again. I cannot remember Brisbane and Melbourne, I always mixed up. Always bourne, bourne, bourne. Brisbane, Melbourne, I mixed up. Then, big action sequence, we do a lot of big action snow mountain. Where’s the snow mountain, Brisbane or Melbourne?


Melbourne. Yeah, the snow mountain. Yeah, there’s snow mountain. I tell you, very good… it’s a very funny joke. One of my friend, I have to go back to Canberra to see my friend. My friend said I want to come with you, but I have to stop… the snow mountain, Brisbane? Melbourne, Melbourne. Crown Casino, Where is the Crown Casino?


Melbourne. I was in Brisbane. Somehow. I said, I have to go back to see my parents. You come with me? Okay, I come with you, but before, you stop in Melbourne. I said okay. Then we go to Melbourne, then I call my friend. I said, I’ll call my friend after dinner. Okay. As soon as landing, my friend take care of everything he has car and everything. I call my friend, hey, I’m in Melbourne. You come over. Yeah, it takes me one and half hour flight. Where are you? Brisbane. I said okay. Okay, forget it. The next day, I tell my friend, my friend said, let’s take a flight to Canberra. I said no, easy, drive, three hours. I said I always drive, three hour. Are you sure? Yeah, sure. We get up. At nine o’clock, we get on the car, put all the luggage and then I call my father, and I said 12:30 in Canberra, in some corner, waiting for me, okay? Okay. I hang the phone. Then I keep driving. And my friend get on the car, put the eye mask, then tried to sleep. I’m driving. He was gambling the whole night. And I driving, driving, driving. Three hours pass, I still cannot find a way. My friend, I’m hungry. I said no, no, no, not there yet. Then I keep driving. Suddenly, I see the sign. Another 900-mile. Then I call my father. Father, don’t. I see you tonight. Then I keep driving until three o’clock. My friend get up. I say no, no, sleep, sleep. No! I cannot sleep anymore. Oh my God, where are you going? I said, I don’t  know. Still driving. That’s how, I always mixed up. And I get three stop by the police. That’s how I remember.

But, this day, I’m coming back, no matter, I have a chance, I just Canberra, Canberra, Australia, Australia. Because we know the crew here, we know a lot of crew member here, we have a lot of good friend here. It is very easy to make a film here. And also, especially this time when I film in your Harbor, whatever, the things around here, it is easy. I just call the commission, I wanna film here. Okay, whatever, except you don’t blow up the harbor. I said okay.

Two months ago, I blow up the London bridge. The big news. Boom! I said *Chinese*.

Six months, he applied.

I applied, yes. The government, everything’s okay. Of course, now they won’t let everybody do it and that day, boom! Everybody thought it’s a terrorist attack. And the news, everyone blame me Jackie, how can you do that? You should tell us. How can I tell everybody? We already tell a hundred thousand people surround the ladder. I said, we’re gonna blow up nine o’clock, okay. But then, how can I tell the tourists?

Jackie, I hope you will leave our bridge alone. Well, Australia, just a little bit bigger than Hong Kong, I think.

No! Much bigger.

Well, when I grew up and I look at your Chinese name or when I thought I knew your Chinese name is Chèng lòng. Now, I always thought Chèng as your last name, Lòng as dragon, yeah. So, then when I was doing bit of research before I came to interview you and I actually discovered is not Chèng lòng, it’s Chènglòng. It is ‘become the dragon’. Can you explain to us where’s that name come from?

That’s interesting. And also, my Jackie, my Jackie Chan. Jackie’s name is from Canberra. At that time, I was in Canberra and I had nothing to do. Really, because I was going to Canberra to visit my parents. So, every day just follow my father, go to this restaurant and go to that restaurant and go to that restaurant. Just sit there, like this. I don’t have a driver’s license and nowhere to go. I just follow my father. All the people ask what’s my name? My name, you know, everybody know my name in my house. Shanghainese. A Pào. A pào is a little cannon. My father was Lào Shèngdòng, old Shèngdòng. My nickname says Xiào, little Shèngdòng. But because I was born like 12 and a half month, I was 12 and half pounds. So, everybody called me a cannon. So my Mandarin’s apào. Apào is a cannon, apào. So, in American embassy, everybody called me a Paul. Everybody thought my name’s Paul. Paul, Paul. So I said no, I have to… Finally, I said I have to learn English. Because every day, my father was in Canberra, American Embassy, everywhere you go, you have to very quiet. And I have nothing to do, just sit there. I cannot training, do any other thing. My father take me to the shopping mall. Drive car. You stay here, okay? Just the money. You go to buy food. I’ll pick you up later. Then I’m just by myself in a shopping mall. And I see people and very little Chinese at that time, not like today. Then I go, I was hungry. I just go, I see the glasses inside, I just go in, wait in the lines. Hi. And they go, what? Uh. Whenever people say, what? I said, uh. Then I just sit there waiting my father. I was so hungry. I said no, I have got to speak English. So I tell my father, I said I have to go to learn English. Okay. We go to a government school for free. Then, I sit there. Well, I was 17. I was very shaking, you know, by myself. Then I see a lot of old people, young people, all from different countries. Nobody speak English. Only me, only me Chinese. Okay, new student, what’s your name? Then at that time, my name is Shèngdòng son. The doctor said, what? No, no, the teacher say what? I said, uh. Okay, your name Steven, okay.

Then, in American Embassy, all army say Hi, Paul. At night, Steven hi, hello! Then I realize the whole morning, nothing to do. Every day, my father put me in the shopping malls. I said no, I want to do something. Okay, my friend have a construction company. You have to learn some construction. Okay, okay. Then I go to the guy in from Taiwan Embassy. He was a driver, big, fat guy. He take me to the construction site. You need an assistant, that’s your assistant. Just sit there. Okay, what’s his name? The big fat guy call Jack. He said, call him Jack. They said okay, you start right away. Then, you know, the big barrel thing they use, some…

Yeah, elastic.

Elastic, elastic and they put the things, and then start right away. Then first English I learn, the barrel, shovel, cement. This is called cement. Okay. This is called shovel. This is called barrel. This is called water. Drench sand. Okay, then every day, I just do this kind of things. So my name is Jack, Steve, Paul. Then somehow I go away to Hong Kong. You know, when I fighting, I like to read them. Jack Chan, Jack Chan is no good. Then slowly, I know little bit English, then okay, I put a Y. Jacky Chan. Later on, because then Jackie Chan not famous at that time. So, when I signed the contract with Golden Harvest, Raymond Chow. Y no good. Change to ‘ie’. You know, I explain the Chinese as auspicious, you know, Feng Shui, the name. Chinese name. What is your Chinese name? I say my Chinese name Chèng kòng sèn. But my martial stunt call me the name Quàn lòng. Circle dragon. Then they find an old lady who’s little bit Feng Shui. Then sit in the office. He writes so many names. So many, all dragon, like Cloud dragon, small dragon, big dragon, Kàng long, all kind. Sit down. Jackie, pick one. I said, Xiàolòng.

Small dragon.

No. Lee Xiao Long, Bruce Lee. No, no, no. Bruce Lee already died. I said, I don’t have the guts to pick Dà lòng.

Big dragon. He’s too scared to choose the big dragon.

Either Xiàolòng, I cannot bigger than Bruce Lee. Then I say, okay Yùnlòng. Clouds lòng. You always see Chinese picture of clouds and dragon. Looks nice. Not good for you. I said why? You are never success because the dragon, always in the clouds. Sometimes the head, sometimes the tail, so never see your whole body. That means… I say okay, okay, okay, then why don’t you pick this Chènglòng, becoming a dragon. No, no, no, too big. It’s just too big. Chènglòng. If you are Chinese, you know Chènglòng is wow, this big. Then I said no, no, no. Then I said, no, Chènglòng. Then the boss said okay, Chènglòng. At that time the movie come out, doesn’t success. When I go to the make up dubbing. There’s a door. There’s a crowd of the people. The dubbings, not like today with the sound together. We make the film first, then we dub later. Sometimes at night. I just walk in slowly walking to the small window, peek. How do they learn? I want to learn dubbing. They’re dubbing again, again. Sometimes they just, like, conversation, just standing there. They just said, how can the company spend this kind of money like this guy to make a movie? Small eyes, big nose. Don’t know how to act. I just standing there. It’s not Chènglòng, it’s Chèngchòng. He would never become a dragon. You are only becoming a worm. I tell you why, I just standing here, my tears… Even I look at myself and really I agree, I don’t know how to acting at that time. Wrong script, wrong character. Really, at that time, I just follow the director. You know, I was very young and the movie, there’s every girl falling in love with me, then I refuse them. I want that, but it’s just not me. So I go away, crying by myself.

Few years later, I go to dubbing, peek again. They said, wow, look at this guy. Even the toes know how to act, so good. Between you’re famous, you’re not famous, yeah. That’s how becoming a Chènglòng and Jackie Chan.

Whatever that person who chose the name, obviously, done you good. And you have become the dragon. And, I’ve counted about seven or eight films, you have done, I think Google says you have been involved or made over 150 films.

I have been making film 56 years. Including child actors, low class stuntman, high class stuntman, stunt coordinator, producer over 250 movies.

Yeah. So it fascinates me, quite a few of the seven or eight films, all the dragons. So you obviously have incredible fondness of dragon. Zui quàn is the Drunken Fist fighting style. Can you elaborate a little bit, how you developed and how do you find doing it? Which is, obviously, very unique.

It’s a … one of the traditional Chinese martial art. Somehow younger being a… one of my bigger brother, one of the producer, they think about this idea, then we make the film. Of course, we create a lot of movement. Of course, Drunken Master I was very success. And that time, I just ask myself, after Africa, I jogging, jogging in the morning and I see so many young children just do these kind of things. Then I said, wow, really, the movie what I made. I really influence a lot of children. So that’s why, for the future when I’m making a movie, I very careful, the way I’m talk, the way I’m doing. The old day, anything makes audience laughing, I just do it, like this. Then after, when I travel around the world, I see so many children learn from me. Then as a producer, or director, or actor, we have the responsibility for the society, for the children. So… I look back to Drunken Master I. Why I’m telling the people drinking and fighting? It’s wrong. So that’s why, I immediately make the Drunken Master II to correct myself. Don’t drink, don’t fight. I don’t know, audience, you know or not. Do you know? If you don’t know, you look at movie. Ah, good. It’s good movie, but I make myself comfortable. I correct myself. Anything I do something wrong. I correct myself. And so this why, you drink too much. So in the movie, there’s so many men. How much you drink? Of course, when you drink, you fall down, no. But you drink too much, you’re gonna faint. So in the movie, because I’m drinking, then I get naked, hand in here. And after the father said, say something, throw the fan. The boat, the water can carry the boat and also, the water can flip the boat. Yeah, there’s some Kung Fu insights. Yeah, I have to correct myself all those years even. Like, there’s so many… Later on after Drunken Master, so many movie, you can see there’s so many message inside. If you don’t know, you don’t know. You know, I’m happy. If you really don’t know, I make myself happy. Like there’s small things like Dragon Blade, did you see Dragon Blade? Yeah, it’s about peace. Because a few years ago, why there’s so many war in the Middle East. I have to make a movie, call peace. So I make Dragon Blade. Because there’s so many treasure stole away from China. Then I say, I have to make 12 Zodiac. Even in the movie, there’s such small, small things like I cannot, suddenly cannot remember.

First Strike, when I was wanted in the newspaper. And when the lady walk around, see the paper, scared, turn around. Then I look at it. Supposing, I just walk away, but in a movie, I see the lady walk away, then I see the newspaper. I pick up the newspaper, I put in the rubbish jar, I walk away. The same thing from the movie, I hope, from these small things, in Australia, in the whole world, everybody walk around, see the rubbish, just pick up, then the whole world would be very clean. That’s my little insight. I want to show something.”[/read]

Jackie Chan

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