Jaycee the poor little rich boy

All his life, Jaycee, son of superstar Jackie Chan, has had to worry about how his actions will affect his dad's reputation

Jaycee Chan with his parents, former actress Lin Feng-jiao and action superstar Jackie Chan, in 2012 at her 60th birthday party and with his father in 2008 (above). -- PHOTO: APPLE DAILY
Jaycee Chan with his parents, former actress Lin Feng-jiao and action superstar Jackie Chan, in 2012 at her 60th birthday party and with his father in 2008 (above). -- PHOTO: APPLE DAILY
Jaycee Chan with his parents (above), former actress Lin Feng-jiao and action superstar Jackie Chan, in 2012 at her 60th birthday party and with his father in 2008. -- PHOTO: ONE HOUSE

In Chinese police video footage of a recent night in Beijing, a man, whose face is pixelated and who is sitting in a small office, nods as he is shown a urine sample.

"I'm sorry," he says, after he is informed of his positive test result for marijuana.

Later in the video, an anti-narcotics officer says of the man: "The first time I saw him, to tell the truth, I could see he was cultured. From his eyes, I could feel he was more regretful."

It is a classic Jaycee Chan moment. Wherever the actor finds himself, it seems that he always has to play the part of action superstar Jackie Chan's well-brought-up son.

Then again, as Jaycee, 31, has said: "I'm a person in my father's shadow."

Although his drug arrest on Aug 14 hit the headlines worldwide last Monday, much of the media focus was on his parents, Chan and former actress Lin Feng-jiao.

There was talk about Chan pulling strings and the Chinese media being kinder to Jaycee (his face is fully pixelated in the video, which was released by state broadcaster CCTV, but not that of Taiwanese actor Kai Ko, who was arrested with him).

There were questions about how Lin could have missed her son's supposed eight-year marijuana habit, even though it is true that their 1,200 sq m luxury apartment at Naga Shangyuan, where the police found more than 100g of cannabis, is enormous.

Chan, 60, apologised on Weibo last Wednesday. He said he was "ashamed" and "sad" and his wife was "heartbroken". Jaycee's agent said last Thursday that the actor's mother rarely went to Beijing.

Ten years since his big-screen debut in the vampire comedy The Twins Effect II, Jaycee is still more famous as Chan's child.

But it must be a nice change from his first 17 years when, according to a report on his childhood by Chinese website Sina, he lived as Chan's secret son in Los Angeles and was taught never to tell anyone about his father.

The adults around him - his mother, the helper and the driver - told him he would be a target of kidnappers if he talked about his father, said the report.

When he was about two, Hong Kong's Ming Pao Weekly took a picture of him in a restaurant. His father had to talk the magazine out of publishing the photograph. Two fans had killed themselves over his love life and he said the picture might hurt other people.

During Jaycee's childhood, his father would spend two weeks with him and his mother every year, said Sina. It would feel like a festival, though the celebration was contained in the household and his father did not go out with him, said the report.

Chan, who married Lin on the eve of their son's birth in 1982, did not acknowledge their marriage until 1998, and even then he did it indirectly. Their names appeared in an obituary notice of his godfather, producer Leonard Ho.

The watershed in Lin and her son's lives was 1999, said Sina, when Chan got former beauty queen Elaine Ng pregnant and Ng went public with the news. At a time when Chan was public enemy number one, his son called to say that he and his mother would stand by the actor, said the report.

Chan has said he was moved by his wife's response to the scandal. When he called her expecting her to demand a divorce, she surprised him by saying he should resolve the scandal.

Consequently, he changed his will to leave her his money and Jaycee made his public debut as Chan's son.

In an interview with British newspaper The Observer that was published last Sunday, Chan said he and his wife had not wished to see their son in showbusiness. He had wanted Jaycee to be "a lawyer or an engineer or a doctor".

He said his wife wept when a teenage Jaycee said he wanted to be an entertainer. "'Why are you crying?' I asked. 'Because I've already lost my husband to this profession,' she said."

In his decade as an actor, singer and songwriter, Jaycee has not quite made a splash. But his relationship with his father has been fodder for the media.

Chan is known for his tough talk about his son. In 2005, he declared he would keep an eye on Jaycee after his death by having an urn with his ashes placed under his son's bed, said Sina. He said he did not want Jaycee doing "bad things", including taking drugs.

Chan also has strong views about, for instance, his son's hair. Jaycee wore his hair long early in his career because of his father, said Sina. Later, Chan felt long hair was all wrong for a young man with a healthy image, so his son had to cut his hair.

In an interview with Hong Kong's i-Cable Entertainment in 2008, even an outsider like action superstar Jet Li felt he had to step in.

He said he once went to Chan's home and spent a night talking to Jaycee.

At the end of the night, Jaycee did not just walk him out, but also gave him a 90-degree bow. Li said the young man he spoke to was not at all like the careless, disobedient, aimless boy Chan complained about.

"He's very different from young people today. He talked about a lot of his ideas, but in all his ideas, his dad came first. He worried about whether his actions would affect his dad's reputation, whether his dad would lose face. He's really pure."

Li, who appeared in the interview with Chan, told him to give his son a break.

Lin, on the other hand, has been given all the credit for bringing up a nice young man.

"Lin Feng-jiao is very strict with Jaycee," Hong Kong radio host Cha Siu Yan told West China City Daily last week. "All the elders in the business are full of praise for Jaycee's good manners, respect for elders, sweetness, cleverness and filial piety."

In the light of Jaycee's drug arrest, however, was Chan right about his son after all?

West China City Daily blamed Jaycee's friends. The report, quoting unnamed industry insiders, said he was surrounded by people who wished to befriend Jackie Chan's son.

One insider said: "Jaycee Chan has been shielded very well by his mum since childhood and he grew up in America. Actually, he's relatively simple and straightforward. He makes friends easily and he also makes bad friends easily."

In the police video, as officers find more and more marijuana in Jaycee's home, he explains that he did not roll the joints himself. "Friends helped me roll them," he says.


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