In 1964 author Jeff Brown wrote a children's book about a little boy named Stanley who was accidentally squashed flat by a falling bulletin board. Stanley wasn't hurt, but he ended up very flat; flat enough to be put in an envelope and mailed!
Teachers saw the story of Flat Stanley as a great opportunity to encourage reading and writing in their students. Thus began the Flat Stanley Project, whereby paper Stanleys are colored and mailed off to places all over the world! Those who host Stanley are requested to show him around and keep a journal.
Last month a paper Stanley arrived at Jackie Chan's offices in Hong Kong and during the following week, Stanley was treated to some very special experiences courtesy of Jackie. Here is the story of Stanley's visit to Hong Kong.
March 18, 2006
Well, I finally arrived in Hong Kong today after a very long and bumpy ride. When I left America, no one told me that Hong Kong was over 8,000 miles away! Since I've arrived I have found out that Hong Kong is right near China - at the very southern tip, actually. It used to belong to England, but a few years ago, England gave it back to China. I thought that was nice of them. So now it's kind of a part of China. It's called a Special Administrative Region so it's "separate but apart." Maybe I'll ask the teacher to explain this to me more when I get home.
I can't believe I'm in the office of Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan!!! World famous actor, stuntman, director, producer, martial artist, and nice guy. I was greeted by Katharine when I got here. She is the webmaster of Jackie's Internet sites and she's also an assistant at the office. She told me that she's from New York and used to be a teacher there, so she knew about the Flat Stanley project. I thought that was cool. I was happy that I didn't have to explain what I was doing here.
Right after I got here, you'll never guess who came into the office. JACKIE CHAN!!! I was so excited that I nearly fell off the desk. It's a lucky thing that I didn't or I could have gotten a very nasty paper cut. Anyway, Katharine introduced me to Jackie and we took a few photos. Here are two for you to see:
Jackie and I spent some time together talking and laughing. I wanted to show him some kung-fu moves because I know I could teach him some new things, but when I tried he couldn't stop laughing. It's okay. Maybe I can show him some of my moves later. He was probably laughing from nervousness because he was afraid that I might hurt him. I would never do that. I would be very careful when teaching him some new moves.
Well, after spending the day hanging out with Jackie at the office, Katharine told me she had to go home. She gave me a nice place to sleep at her work station and told me that she'd see me on Monday. I'll write more soon!
March 21, 2006
Today when Katharine got to the office, she put me right to work at the reception desk. My job was to say hello to people who come to visit at the office and to answer the phone. I think I did a very good job. Here I am at the reception desk:
The thing on the counter that looks like a round space ship is really a candy dispenser that Jackie designed himself. It's loaded with all kinds of candy, but I didn't want to ruin my appetite, so I didn't eat any.
Well, I'm very tired now after a busy day at reception, so I will go to sleep. I'll write more tomorrow!
I was so busy yesterday that I didn't have time to write in my journal! Katharine took me to the park behind Jackie's office to have a look around. It's so beautiful! There is a basketball court, a playground, and even a temple. The walls behind Jackie's office are amazing because they are covered with a mural. Katharine told me that a mural is a really big painting usually done on a wall. I asked her why there was a mural painted on the wall behind Jackie's office. She told me that one day Jackie was outside and noticed that the wall was covered with ugly graffiti. This made him sad, so he hired some artists to come in and paint something pretty on the walls. There are all kinds of things painted there including a little restaurant scene. Here's a photo of me having a snack at the restaurant:
Of course it's not really a restaurant; it's just a painting. But that's okay because I am a painting too.
Katharine showed me the temple also. It's so pretty and there was incense burning in big pots all around. People go there to pray and give offerings to the gods. Here I am in front of the temple:
When Kath (she said I could call her "Kath") and I came back inside, I had a look around. Jackie has lots of cool toys at the office, and my favorite is his Segway. The Segway is like a scooter and Jackie loves to ride his. He takes it with him everywhere he goes! Since I do not have a driver's license, I didn't take it for a ride, but I hopped on anyway so I could have a photo taken to show you:
On the wall Jackie displays miniature posters from all of his movies. Here is a photo of me starring in a movie with Jackie:
In the hallway of the office is a large cardboard Jackie showing everyone how he feels about smoking. I joined him to pass the message to you (Don't Smoke!!):
It's been such a busy day at the office and I'm very tired. Kath said that if I'm really good she will take me on an adventure on Sunday. I can't wait! I love adventures.
You will not believe where I went today! Kath took me to the film studio to watch Jackie shoot his new movie! The movie is called Rob-B-Hood and it's a comedy about a thief with a good heart. The film stars Jackie and a little baby named Matthew. Matthew wasn't there the day I visited, so I didn't get to meet him. But I had such a great time anyway! Jackie really likes me and since he knows that I am very quiet and well behaved, he took me all over the set.
Here is a photo of me sitting in the director's seat next to Jackie:
And here I am with the director of the movie, Benny Chan. Benny has directed many of Jackie's movies and he's a really nice man. I gave him a few tips about how to get the best emotion out of his actors. I think he was happy to have my help.
After Jackie, Benny, and I talked about some more scenes, I went to look around the set a little bit. It's a very large room with really high ceilings. It is probably about the same height as your school gym and about half the size. I noticed that one of the stuntmen was playing cards over in the corner, so I introduced myself to him. He was very friendly and funny.
His name is Ken Low and he's very famous. He was in Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, and many other movies with Jackie. He is a world champion kick boxer, so I decided not to make him angry in any way. Here I am with Ken:
I asked him why he had a blue dragon painted on his head and he told me that the character he plays in Rob-B-Hood is a tough guy, so he needed to look tough. Do you think he looks tough?
Just as I was about to say goodbye to Ken, Jackie came over and told me that it was time for my scene. Oh, I forgot to tell you! I am performing one of the stunts in the movie. I had to go to "make-up" and "hair" (that's the way we talk in the film business). Jackie's personal hair dresser, Ronald, gave me a quick touch up.
Next it was over to wardrobe (that's the place where you get dressed up for your scene). We looked through the clothes, but Jackie wears a size or two larger than me, so they didn't really fit. They decided that I was wearing the perfect outfit for the scene anyway, so I didn't have to get changed:
Jackie led me over to one of the sets (a "set" is a place where they film the scenes for the movie) and I waited while he explained to the stunt team who I was and what I was doing there. (A "stunt team" is a group of people who train very hard so that they can perform stunts in movies. A stunt is when someone falls down the stairs, has a fist fight, jumps out a window, etc.) Jackie told me that I should never try any of the stunts that I see in movies. He said that the team is highly trained and there are a lot of hidden safety devices that are used to make sure no one gets hurt during filming. Here's Jackie discussing my stunt with the team:
Then it was time for my stunt! I took a deep breath while Jackie got me ready. Here I am with Jackie as he prepares me to be lifted way up to the ceiling on a rope (I'm so flat that it's hard to see me in the photo!):
And here I am going up, up, up in the air:
I was a little nervous to be up so close to the ceiling, but Jackie shouted encouragement to me from below.
I performed my stunt and then the crew applauded, and then let me down.
Jackie was very pleased with my performance and gave me the thumbs-up:
Afterwards, Jackie asked me to help out a little bit more so I gave him a little advice about the camera while he filmed a scene. Jackie does a very good job with filming and I know he appreciated my help:
Jackie showed me all the different equipment on the set and he wanted to show you too. Here is Jackie telling you that this piece of equipment is called a crane. He repeated it a few times so you could learn better. "Crane. Crane."
Soon it was time to leave, so I rushed over to have a quick game of basketball with Ken Low before I had to say goodbye. You may wonder why all these games are on a movie set. It is because the scene in the movie takes place in a game room. Since there is so much equipment (cameras, rigs, etc.) they can't fit everything into a real game room, so they build a special one at the movie studio. It looks just like a real game room):
I said goodbye to everyone and Jackie insisted that we take one last photo of me with the camera:
I said thank you to Jackie and the crew, and Kath and I headed back to the office.
March 28, 2006
Today is my last day in Hong Kong. Kath is going to put me in an envelope and send me back home. I am sad that I have to leave, but I am also excited that I will be going home. Kath says I am having "mixed feelings." I wonder if that's anything like the "mixed nuts" that Grandma keeps in a can in her kitchen. I guess it is. Maybe if a peanut is like sadness and a cashew is like happiness and you mixed them together in your mouth, that would be like "mixed feelings." Anyway, I can't wait to share my adventures with everyone.
I have had a wonderful time. Everyone at Jackie's office was so nice to me and Jackie is a very sweet man. He's also very clever and fun to be with. He told me that he loves kids and that he spends a lot of his spare time helping kids who are poor or sick. It's called "charity work." I told Jackie that I would try to help some poor or sick kids when I got back to America. That made him smile. He told me to study hard in school and to be nice to my parents.
So goodbye Hong Kong, hello America!! It's been a great trip.
Several weeks after Stanley was sent home, we received a note from his teacher in America. She told us that her class was very excited when they found out that Jackie Chan had written back to them. "Their little mouths stayed open as I read through the journal and showed the autographed picture. They were beyond excited and just amazed!"
She also told us how excited she was to hear about Jackie's commitment to education and his love for kids. She sent along photos of the beautiful display they created to tell everyone about Stanley's trip. Here are the photos:
The autographed photo from Jackie was put in a special frame and given a place of honor in the classroom!
Their teacher mounted each of the journal pages and made a beautiful display for the hallway!
The hallway display.
Many thanks to Stanley's teacher and classmates for sending us the photos. Jackie really enjoyed taking part in the Flat Stanley Project and many of the ideas for the photos of Stanley came from Jackie himself. He was very excited about the project and told everyone on the set about it. Jackie really does believe in importance of education, and he shows that learning can be fun!