Jackie Chan alive and kicking and ‘busy as hell’

A nasty habit of announcing the death of a celebrity has sprung up in recent years, when in fact the subject is alive and well. The latest blatantly false “star RIP” clima to go viral was the supposed demise of Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan from a heart attack.

It spread rapidly on the Chinese blogosphere and Twitter in the West, and there was even, supposedly, a message from US President Barack Obama paying homage to the martial arts hero: “Jackie Chan is a man who can talk through talent, he is a constant reminder of the strength of humanity. He will forever be in our hearts, a true inspiration who inspired many generations.”

Cruelly, it was the actor’s son, Jaycee Chan, who had to confirm if the rumor was true, by making a phone call and finding him, fortunately, “busy as hell” organizing, with other Hong Kong celebrities, a charity concert on Friday to raise money for those struck down by the disaster in Japan. Jaycee Chan described the false rumor as an “insane joke”.

The Hong Kong-based The Sun Newspaper reported on Wednesday that a blogger with the handle “SKIPHOPZ” was the source of the false news.

Also in Hong Kong, on Wednesday, actress Cecilia Cheung was driving when she bumped into a 66-year-old man and broke his left leg.

The old man was rushed to hospital and Cheung promised to pay the medical bills, passed a DUI (driving under the influence) test and basically did everything she could to make the situation better.

This commendable attitude does not run in the family. Her husband, the actor Nicholas Tse, has had a number of brushes with the law over driving, the worst case happening in 2002, when he crashed his Ferrari and fled the scene, later blaming his chauffeur.

We have been following the progress of singing farmer Zhu Zhiwen with interest. The man popularly known as “Overcoat Brother” and “Uncle Boyle” first came to attention on Shandong TV’s I Am a Big Star.

After singing the theme song from the hit 1990s TV show Romance of the Three Kingdoms, following up with the tune Travelers in Handcuffs, from the 1980s film, Zhu became the most searched individual on Baidu, the country’s top search engine.

He left his farming implements behind, however, on a recent visit to Beijing, where he appeared on a nationally broadcast CCTV show. He was coached by the famous tenor Qiao Jun, who predicted Zhu would be a big star (hello! he already is).

Known as Uncle Boyle, because he is an unlikely celebrity with a huge talent for singing, like Britain’s Susan Boyle, Zhu is set to perform at Beijing’s prestigious National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) – thereby giving hope to singing farmers everywhere.

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