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On Sunday, while the now clownish, but dangerous antics of the “Umbrella Movement” student leaders were rallying their lemmings to “escalate” their protests and storm Le Bastille, a friend and I were watching the second part of a fascinating documentary on Bruce Lee- his struggle to be his own man in Hollywood, his anger at the way Caucasian actors were hired to portray Chinese in films, how he had been bypassed for roles because of his ethnicity, and his voracious appetite to get to the very core of the human condition that so often stunts our growth and impairs our vision.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MseMobwg_mo

Bruce Lee’s basic principle to arrive at “the movement of Me” was to empty his mind and be the “water” that gives a cup or pot or bottle or life real meaning. Yes, it was all based on meditation, and the need to turn off your mind and gently float downstream, but, for the martial arts actor and “home-grown” philosopher, this was not some vapid Chinese fortune cookie saying.

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Lee was striving to arrive at “the source” by pulling himself away from those who he felt were weighing him down through negativity, yes, but also through a lack of ambition and clear focus.

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If only Hong Kong’s grandstanding student leaders could watch this documentary and understand what Bruce Lee was saying. How I wish so many who only add to the clutter of my own life and are incapable of looking beyond the obvious could understand all the “components” that create the ebb and flow of the human spirit and how, in life, there comes that time when one stops “sharing”, or making “amends”, or compromising as all this does is reduce your powers to move forward.

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As my friend listened to Bruce Lee’s widow Linda being interviewed about what drove her late husband, she asked why there hadn’t been “another Bruce Lee”, or, at least, a Chinese movie superstar. Forget Jacky Chan. He was Yan Can Cook in faux martial arts comedies that needed some token chop suey next to the Western dishes. Jacky Chan never moved away from being Charlie Chan for talk show hosts. Bruce Lee would have shaken his head in disgust.

Basic CMYK

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Jet Li never happened as he could never happen. He was more one-dimensional than Chow Yun-fat, who killed the possibility of a Chinese actor as a leading man. He was so darn awful, Mira Sorvino admitted eating garlic before their love scenes in the embarrassingly bad “The Replacement Killers.”

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Our conversation veered off into other directions such as why there still has not been an Asian superstar in movies or television or music. Perhaps they’re just not good enough of racism still very much exists in Hollywood and the music industry? No, Lucy Liu is no superstar. Like Jacky Chan, Chow Yun-fat and Jet Li, she had her fifteen minutes of fortune cookie fame that began with “Law And Order” and ended with the movie version of the awful “Charlie’s Angels”.

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Earlier that day, we had watched a rock trio perform comprising Hong Kong Chinese musicians where the local lead singer struck a perfect Billie Joe Armstrong pose and sang a derivative original in a voice straight outta Manchester. He, no doubt, thought it was cool, the band’s small group of fans banged their heads to the beat and I banged my head against the nearest wall and wondered, Why bother? Where will any of this take them other than a Hidden Agenda gig in an industrial building in the boonies of Kowloon- if that?

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Like many bands in Denmark, and other parts of Scandinavia, there is an overriding need to be accepted in America, which is why excellent musicians insist on singing pretentious lyrics in English.

I was reminded of the Danish music industry not finding its “source”, which I got to know through an ex at a time when bands like Nephew, Mew, Kashmir, Ravonettes, and Asteroids Galaxy Tour, which had Robbie Williams’ management behind them, and the gorgeous Mette as the focal point, looked like making it outside of their home market. They all failed miserably. They compromised too much without getting to understand their “inner me” that Bruce Lee managed to find and not be anyone’s performing monkey.

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Looking back at what I saw in Denmark all those years ago, what I have seen in so many countries in Asia, what I see in Hong Kong today including the politics and theatrics of Occupy Central or the “Umbrella Movement’s” student leaders, what I don’t see is getting to the core of the issue- and arriving at the individualism that will bring about New Thinking. Like the Healing Process, there must be a Re-learning Process.

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There is just too much clutter surrounding everything- all, totally useless and imprisoning- emails, phone conversations through crackled lines, conversation in person with those who are simply not on your wavelength or whom you have either outgrown or now realise that accepting the best they can do only stops you doing the best YOU can do.

This is what might not have made Bruce Lee the most popular man in Hollywood and someone painted out to be difficult, but he wasn’t out to win any popularity contests.

Like Lennon, like Clapton, Hendrix, Dylan, James Dean, Brando, Scorsese, Sean Penn, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher- anyone who has been single-minded in their pursuit to be the very best in what they do- it comes down to self-discipline, self-belief and total honesty.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9irsg1vBmq0

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No matter what age one might be, there comes that Lightbulb Moment of realisation when all that is in the past remains in the past or is completely deleted, and how there’s the need to pare everything around you and be the “water” to make new things come to life ‘cos everything is possible, nothing is impossible, and the saying, “No man is an island” is bullshit.

We come into this world alone and we leave alone. Fill that physical and emotional hole in the donut with only the very best you can. Settle for second best and you’re only cheating and fooling yourself.

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Hans Ebert
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd
www.fasttrack.hk