Screen kung fu legend Jackie Chan was greeted by thousands of cheering East Timorese on Wednesday in a UN goodwill visit to promote peace in the young and impoverished nation.
Demonstrating new moves on stage in front of 5,000 martial arts fans at Dili’s national stadium, Chan called on Timorese youth to avoid drugs and violence.
East Timor’s violent history, young population, and overwhelmingly scarcity of jobs make for a volatile combination. Chan’s message will likely resonate with the many East Timorese interested in martial arts and will hopefully convince many youths who may have been tempted to join gangs that the sport is meant to be used in a more positive, helpful way. And as this BBC report notes, the impact of a celebrity visit can only be realized when coupled with a more concerted effort to create valuable jobs in the country.