Jaycee Chan: Jail was boring, I was afraid of going mad

Jaycee Chan (left) with his parents, former actress Lin Feng-jiao and action superstar Jackie Chan at Lin's 60th birthday party in 2012.
Jaycee Chan (left) with his parents, former actress Lin Feng-jiao and action superstar Jackie Chan at Lin's 60th birthday party in 2012. PHOTO: ONE HOUSE

TAIPEI - It was hard to fall asleep in jail with the lights on 24/7. He was so bored that he killed mosquitoes to feed some to a spider in the toilet. He read books by billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Buddhist monk Hsing Yun.

In an exclusive interview with Taiwan Apple Daily, actor Jaycee Chan spoke of the six months he spent in jail, after his drug arrest in Beijing in August last year.

He also spoke of his boredom. "I was afraid I would be mentally ill," he said.

It was his first interview after his release from jail in February, said the daily. Chan, son of Jackie, has lived in Taipei with his mother, Lin Feng-jiao, since his release, he said.

Recalling his first week in jail, he said he had been angry, as he did not understand why marijuana laws in Asia are different from those abroad. But he gradually understood he had made a mistake and the anger left him.

He spoke of the first time he was let out of the cell, onto a little square balcony. He was scared when he saw an old inmate squatting in a corner of the balcony, shaking off dandruff and pulling bits of skin from his foot. He was disturbed by the inmate's behaviour, until they talked and the inmate said he had been feeding ants.

Over time, Chan had quirks too, he said. He liked to kill mosquitoes when he was let out of the cell. Some he fed to the spider, and others he stuck to a wall, so he could look at their feet and determine the wind direction.

Besides reading - eight books by Buffett, plus a few by others - Chan also wrote two screenplay outlines and four songs.

He wrote brief diary entries every day, till he had a letter to send to his mother every week.

He loved rap, and many of the songs describe prison life. In jail, he was able to make comparisons and say: "So it really is like this."

He had been arrested with actor Kai Ko and actress Alice Li. Asked if Li was his girlfriend, Chan answered: "No, she's a good friend's sister. I was single then."

Nowadays, he wears a mask when he goes out. He said he first wore masks to avoid getting strange looks. Then he did it as he was afraid of inconveniencing friends. When he goes out with Ko, he forces his friend to wear a mask too, saying: "If I wear one and you don't, isn't it strange?"