Sunday, February 05, 2006

An old Ipoh street story re-told to the world

After I came back from Ipoh, the first major activity was to watch the movie Fearless starred by Jet Li who plays sifu Huo Yuanjia. The real story of sifu Huo Yuanjia (1867-1909), founder of the first Chin Woo Martial Art Association, was first told to me and many of my childhood buddies in the streets in 1969 by a shopkeeper selling toys nearby.

It excited us and led us to ask more questions that gradually opened our up our minds to inquire more about the modern history of China and the world as well as their love-hate relations.

Fearless, in my opinion, is not only just another commercialised kung fu story of the Jacky Chan or Bruce Lee type. Rather, like the legends of sifu Huang Fei Hong, it epitomises the Chinese people's quest and struggle for dignity, equality and modernity in the crumbling Qing Dynasty beginning with the aftermath of its defeat in the 1839-1842 Opium War.

Fearless is also not a simple eulogy of Huo Yuanjia (which he deserved) but also a subtle critique of individualistic, feudalistic and adventuristic heroism, personified by the younger Huo Yuanjia, that serves no larger and higher (secular) purpose than the mere satisfaction of personal ego, vainglory and vindictiveness.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see this movie. Funny about the title name....there is an old movie here called "Fearless" about a man who lives through a plane crash..but thinks he died. very very good movie and I was just talking to someone about it yeaterday.

3:55 AM  

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