Tonight, is the release (in the USA) of the long-awaited project that I have had the privilege of being a part (a very, very, VERY small part) of - Cinemax's Warrior. This US-based period piece, filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, is a 10-part series based on the writings of the legendary Bruce Lee back in the 70's.
Unfortunately, back then the Chinese were discriminated against and unfortunately Bruce Lee never got to see this project come to life with him as the leading man. In fact, legend goes that Lee had pitched this idea to Hollywood who promptly declined it saying it would never do well with an Asian lead. The concept was later taken by Hollywood and made into a TV series called "Kung Fu" that follows the adventures of a Shaolin monk and martial-arts expert in the Old West of America. As a slap in the face to Lee, the character of Cain, the shaolin monk, was played by a very white David Carradine.
However, through the efforts of Lee's daughter, Shannon, as well as Asian-Hollywood Juggernaut, Justin Lin (of the Fast and Furious franchise fame) and Jonathan Tropper (American writer and creator of one of my favorite series, Banshee), the "Warrior" project was brought to life for this modern era!
Take a read of a more eloquent review of the series by Rolling Stones magazine here: (https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-reviews/warrior-cinemax-review-815723/)
Based in San Francisco of the 1800's, the series will play on the anti-Chinese sentiment of the time. Unfortunately, this anti-Chinese sentiment is echoing forward to current day and in my home-country of South Africa.
The series may invoke more anti-Chinese sentiment among those hate-mongers, but it may also elicit Chinese-pride in all Chinese from around the world, prompting them to stand up for what they believe in and fight against discrimination that they had been subjected to in the past.
Co-incidentally, just a week ago, The Chinese Association (TCA) of South Africa took 11 people to the Equality Court on charges of hate-speech. Comments such as "wipe them ALL out" and "we should kill their children and feed them back to them" were made as comments on Facebook after a news report 2 years ago of donkey's being cruelly slaughtered for Chinese medicinal purposes. I personally don't agree with this practise of slaughtering animals for medicine, however to make threats of mass-genocide and against our children are, well, just pure hate and evil.
In my opinion, hate-speech can ultimately lead to some destructive action by the individual saying it or by someone who has read their comments on one of the many social media platforms. We need only look at the recent horrific incident in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a crazed, self-proclaimed "white supremacist" attacked two mosques, and murdered 50 Muslims which included women and children. Who knows what hate-speeches he had been listening to, combined with other influences, that eventually led him to that killing-spree?
There was much publicity from both the local and overseas community about the TCA's case. It made a statement that there are consequences in making hate-speech-type statements on a public forum. More importantly, the case also provided a platform to educate people on the prejudices and misconceptions they have of Chinese people.
Take a read of the outcome of this first week of that case: http://www.newframe.com/chinese-association-takes-racist-trolls-court or listen to a podcast at: http://www.702.co.za/articles/343217/chinese-south-african-community-saddened-by-hate-speech-comments
Sadly though, after briefly reading a few of the comments made on social media about the case, there are STILL those who choose to voice their discontent of the Chinese. One such comment on a popular local talk radio station's Facebook page was, "... They are not welcome anywhere in the world....go back to your country...scum of earth.."
Still within the week, another prominent Chinese member who works in the local government was mocked because of his Chinese ethnicity by a black community who were protesting the lack of service delivery. The irony of this is t it's a previously discriminated race-group from the apartheid era of South Africa who are now making racial slurs at anther minority race-group. Watch a news video of this incident here: https://www.facebook.com/eNCAnews/posts/1532004090269584
Comments like that don't phase me, but again, you need only an ember with half a brain and an inclination towards violence to spark a very destructive movement that will threaten all that we love.
As a self-defence practitioner and occasional teacher, we both need to be wary of discriminatory comments that can be perceived as hate-speech, as well as actively put a stop to it in our own lives and among those we associate with. That's the first step. The next is to take precautionary measures for safety against those who might take hate-speech to the next level and use physical violence to cause us harm. What you do, is up to you. As I have often said, "Self-defence education and training is a vital life-skill'. That statements holds true now more than ever regardless of what colour or ethnicity you may be.
I'm looking forward to watching Warrior when it airs in South Africa in May. I want to feel the pride of being Chinese when I see a predominately all-Asian cast living out Bruce Lee's legacy. However, I am also prepared for the hordes of negative anti-Chinese comments that will follow by those hate-mongers. As the trailer posted utters, "... get killed, or get better".
To watch more Warrior trailers on YouTube:
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