I just read about Louis Koo, who after going to Sichuan in July to help with Earthquake relief went back to Hong Kong and decided to establish the Louis Koo Charitable Foundation to help society in need. This charity finally got the license yesterday. He’s not the only one who’s been doing things lately. Huang Xiaoming, Vicky Zhaowei, Sun Li, Jet Li, power couple Li Yapeng and Faye Wong all have been recently. I think part of growing, growing to be an accountable society requires things like this.
Huang Xiaoming adopted two baby pandas (ie, paying for all their expenses which is quite a lot), and it did increase more awareness to the cause, which definitely needed monetary support after the earthquake devastated the natural habitat of the pandas (most of them are in the Sichuan area). They found pandas starving because of this, and I hope seeing this causes people to donate more so that they can quickly rebuild that area, and use manpower to find pandas who have been wandering around, unable to find food, especially before winter sets in.
Sun Li published a book called “Take Me Home” which highlights the plight of of homeless cats and dogs, which I am so thankful she brought attention to. Because with all the focus on bringing Chinese citizens out of poverty, there’s very little room to focus on animals, and I think, China has gotten to a stage where people, at least in the urban areas, can afford to think about this and become responsible citizens. There are lots of pet owners in China now, and Sun Li has set a great example for them to follow.
Vicky Zhaowei went to Sichuan to help with relief recently instead of attending the Elle event which she got an award at. I think I mentioned earlier on this site how Song Zuying’s foundation gave money to schools in Hunan because many in Sichuan were going there since there are so little structures there now, in Sichuan. Homes were lost, schools were lost, and it was really nice of Vicky to go be with the children who are suffering the most from this tragedy.
And this wasn’t recent, but husband and wife Faye Wong and Li Yapeng, whose first daughter together (Faye has a previous one from her marriage to rocker Dou Wei) was born with a cleft lip. Together after that they created a foundation, called Smileangel Foundation, which helps those born with similar conditions. I am so proud of Faye Wong for doing things like this and not feeling pressured to return to music. And I’m really proud of Li Ya Peng as well. He’s always been such an intelligent articulate actor, a cut above, and I’m so glad he and Faye found each other and have been able to contribute to society.
But this man…Jet Li. Oh his story was beautiful and he is the reason I am writing this post. Because I have such hope for China’s future, as a humanitarian superpower, not just a superpower that people fear because of politics or economics. I never thought Jet Li was bright. He’s not eloquent and he seems, young, almost immature for all the years that he has. But this proves to me that it doesn’t matter what you are, if you’re intelligent, or what your capabilities are. As long as you have a working body, you can DO something. Anyone can do something. Anyone can start something and that’s what counts.
I don’t know if anyone saw the tv series “Shi Bing Tu Ji” (I may have terribly messed up the piyin). In English I guess it’s called “Soldier’s sortie”. But this series was the most popular drama of 2007 in China, and still is. It was about a man who wasn’t very clever, but because he did things earnestly, a did them to contribute to society rather than waste time doing useless things, he was able to rise slowly through the ranks of the army. This sounds like your typical propaganda moralistic crap but it wasn’t. It was a series that gave me hope for China, that they could produce such a quality, uplifting series. It was a series that could move a nation.
Anyway, I’m starting to ramble so this is the Jet Li article.
On November 2, international movie star Jet Li confirmed that he would take no more lead roles in movies until his One Foundation is firmly on track. Supporting roles that require him on set for couple of weeks will be acceptable. For the time being making movies will become a hobby, while the One Foundation will be his life, he said firmly.
What is up with Mr. Li? What sense does it make for a movie star of his status to give up his career? That’s what a lot of other people may be thinking. But they are wrong–it makes a lot of sense. Mr. Li wants to take on the serious responsibility of enhancing philanthropic awareness throughout the world, and especially in his mother land. This represents a major development in social reform–one of the hardest challenges in society is to create a shift in the public mindset.
With his great initiative, extensive network of social connections, and communication skills, Jet Li seems to be the ideal man for the job.
Mr. Li’s words are emphatic and touching. At the two-day China Global Philanthropy Forum he described himself as “the world’s biggest beggar and its craziest man”. As to the “beggar” part, he said he is dedicated to begging everyone on this planet to wake up and show the natural-born kindness buried in their hearts. As for the “crazy” part, he would use any possible means to reach out to everyone and convince them, he said.
When big names such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair pay tribute to Mr. Li, real credibility is added to the movie star’s plans.
Mr. Li does not talk like a saint. He relates all his motives to personal experiences, especially to the death of his mother.
“My mother was hospitalized for terminal cancer in 2000 when I was shooting a film in France. I flew back to Beijing immediately after I was informed by my older sister. I criticized her for not telling me earlier, but she said that my mother had forbidden her, as she knew I had always been afraid of seeing dead people. At the time I was 37 years old, but in my mother’s eyes I was still a small child. Standing by my mother’s bed, I told her that I was back. A whole day passed but mother did not say a word to me. Finally I asked if she had anything to say to me. Slowly drawing a breath, she said, ‘It is just a matter of a breath.’ She said no more afterwards. Her words made me think hard for a long time.
After that, I made a promise to her that I would dedicate the rest of my life to all the mothers in this world and the entire human race. Yes, human life is a just a matter of a breath. Years later, a narrow escape from the Asian tsunami again caused me to think about life. Life is such a fragile thing that misfortune can strike any of us, no matter who we are. We should constantly care for and help each other. It has become my dream, as one who grew up on the very land of Beijing, to promote this idea.” His words even moved some listeners to tears.
Mr. Li described his One Foundation as a platform to optimize philanthropic resources, rather than an organization dedicated to addressing problems in one particular area. The foundation will enhance the sense of philanthropy throughout society and provide opportunities to specialists from different fields to join hands and make the world a better place. This will certainly promote the development of China’s social sector, which, still in its infancy, urgently needs support and guidance.
Mr. Li’s actions speak even louder than his words. After the devastating earthquake that hit Sichuan Province in May, the One Foundation helped to ensure that hundreds of thousands of dollars were used effectively. Mr. Li rushed to the quake-stricken areas again and again to supervise his staff’s work and console victims.
This is a major change for the actor’s image. In the mid-1990s when Jet Li established himself as an A-list star in Asia, he made very few public appearances. In a rare interview at the time, he said that movies were his whole life and he had no interest in appearing in commercials. A lot of people might have supposed him very shy.
In late 1990s he began to be seen in TV commercials, but not often. During those years, he gave many more interviews and began to talk about his family, his films and his first failed marriage. He answered questions directly and honestly. Once he had developed his charity idea, he missed no opportunity to promote it. Now he is constantly in the spotlight. His interviews and speeches are to be found everywhere. The action star has truly become a public figure.
Certainly there is a long way for Mr. Li to go. He says that he expects to devote 20 or 30 years to changing people’s attitudes to charity. There remains the question whether people will want to buy what he has to sell. Let us wait, hope, and see.
There’s definitely a lot more people who contributed to charity recently, but this is all I could think of off the top of my head.