REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #78 - June 2010 [spoilers]

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Sun Aug 1 17:22:00 PDT 2010

On Aug 1, 8:04 am, Saxon Brenton <saxonbren... at> wrote:

> The Gong Fu Kid
> A High Concept Challenge [Contest] posting
> by Martin Phipps
>      Here's the first of there High Concept Challenge entries for round
> 10: the immigrant experience.
>      Since I got burnt last time I'll go the obvious route and start off
> by taking a guess at which movie Martin is using as a template for this
> story.  This might not normally be too difficult an ask, but frankly
> I've never been that much of a film buff (either through cinema release
> or television reruns) so I'd normally be at a disadvantage in this sort
> of... and yes, I do mean this literally in my case... *guessing* game.  

Could it be that you're still a little bit mad at me about Swell Boy?

> Fortunately the first _The Karate Kid_ movie has such a high profile
> pop-culture presence that I can recognise its general plot structure
> even though I've never seen it or its sequel.
>      In any case, Jaden Smith and his mother move to China when she gets
> a job at the United States embassy.  Jaden slowly makes friends with the
> locals, and through his acquaintance with the girl Su zi is introduced
> to the home economics teacher Mr Han, who agrees to teach Jaden
> appropriate 'skill', or gong fu.

Right.  I found it odd one time when I couldn't open one of these
sealed cups of water and an old man came up to me and said "I'll show
you" and he took a straw, held it up in the air and then struck the
plastic lid of the cup, penetrating it with the straw.  "Oh," I said,
"you don't need to take the plastic off: you just stick the straw
straight through!"  He nodded and said "Chinese gong fu!"

I thought he was joking but as my Chinese improved here I got to the
point where I could read street signs and advertising.  I saw an ad
that said -literally translated from Chinese- "Our furniture is made
with the best gong fu!"  Now if "gong fu" is a fighting style then the
sentence didn't make much sense so I looked "gong fu" up in the
dictionary and it said "skill", not "fighting skill" just "skill".

So when this Karate Kid remake came out people complained online that
it should be called "The Kung Fu" kid.  Every time people made this
complaint I pointed out that "gong fu" in Chinese actually means
"skill" so "The Gong Fu Kid" could be about somebody learning to use
chopsticks.  Then, conveniently enough, the immigrant challenge

Oh, by the way, I never saw the remake of The Karate Kid: it was
boycotted here in Taiwan.


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