ByMichelle Siouty, writer at

When I think of Jackie Chan, I picture a jubilant man with the brightest smile. Sure, he can get ferociously fierce when it comes to kicking ass and defeating villains, but in general Chan emits vibes of positivity, happiness, and peace.

Check out one of his most famous fight scenes from First Strike below:

But who would be able to tell that behind his warmth, Chan has actually experienced a dark and painful past?

Chan as a young boy
Chan as a young boy

Jackie Chan's story just exemplifies how your past is not a dictation for your future, no matter how dismal and formidable it may appear. Chan teaches us that there is light shining through the fog ahead.

Never give up.
Never give up.


In 1949, Jackie Chan's mother and father fled from the Communists that dominated mainland China for Hong Kong, leaving all of their older children from previous marriages behind in the process.

No one knew for years whether they were alive or dead. This was a precursor for the type of parents Chan would grow up with.

Gambling and Opium Smuggling

Although Chan's mother had a reputation for being a very caring and gentle housewife, she was actually a notorious gambler in Shanghai and an opium smuggler in her youth. Chan's father was apparently a Nationalist spy and gangland boss in his former years.

In fact, Chan's mother and father met when Chan's father, Fang Daolang, arrested his mother for getting caught smuggling opium. Chan also found out he had siblings from his parents' previous marriages, including two brothers who were living in poverty in mainland China.

War! What Is It Good For?

Sadly, many Chinese people, including Chan's family, had the ability to talk about the first world war, the Japanese invasion, the civil war, and the humiliation of citizens, such as Chan's brothers during the revolution, with a calm face, as if jaded by all they had seen and experienced.

Unknown Family

Chan discovered videos of his two half-brothers named Shide and Shishen, whose dark complexions and skinny bodies are indicative of a harsh and laborious life.

Although Chan and his father, Fang, live continents apart, Chan behaves like a traditionally obedient and submissive son in the presence of his father. Fang has asked Chan not to get in touch with Shide and Shishen, as not to disturb their quiet life in their rural village.

Chan Didn't Let His Dark Past Dictate His Bright Future

Despite his harrowing past, Chan persevered and has acted in over 150 films since the 1960s. He is a talented actor, fight choreographer, producer, director, singer, and speaks several languages, including Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and American Sign Language, and is proficient in many more.

This noble man is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has campaigned for conservation, fought against animal abuse, and has promoted disaster relief efforts for floods in mainland China and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Chan also founded the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation in 1988, to aid Hong Kong's youth with scholarships, as well as provide help to victims of natural disasters or illness.

In 2005 Chan created the Dragon's Heart Foundation to aid children and the elderly in rural parts of China by building schools, donating books, helping with fees, and providing uniforms for children.

A Lesson From Chan

Chan's story is one of triumph and strength. He teaches us that no matter how painful the past is, the future can hold a bright path if you dedicate all your time and heart into your craft.

[Source: The Guardian]


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