Of hits and misses: Zhang Ziyi's latest flame

By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)
2007-02-08 09:32
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Zhang Ziyi has unveiled her new date. Is he handsome? Is he rich? Before I burst into Que sera, sera, one thing is definite: He is not Chinese.

That's like an arrow through the hearts of about 60 percent of my online compatriots. Mind you, not Cupid's arrow, but the virtual kind that pierces howling air in Hero or House of Flying Daggers, two martial arts flicks featuring the iron lady disguised as a china doll.

I was shocked I mean, shocked that people say this is her private matter. Whom she dates, why she dates, even how she dates, should be a national or even international affair. Since she is the most visible Chinese film star in the global arena, whatever she does represents all of us, right?

Well, I'll spare you the age-old pontification, but a great man in China used to say: "There is absolutely no such thing as love or hatred without any reason or cause." So, what's the reason that foreigners swoon over our flying jade dagger, or vice versa?

My online comrades have many explanations: Some say the new date is a third-rate actor and so financially strapped that Zhang has to pay for her own hot dog. Hey, there is plenty of space for a gold digger to maneuver in the domestic market; why dump yourself at the risk of aggravating anti-trust sentiments? Another rumor: He lives next door to President Bush. That makes the testosterone-surging crowd feel a little better. Yes, we are just as lascivious, but our desire is not backed by political or economic heft.

What hits the bull's-eye is the suggestion by countless netizens, presumably young men, that it is the obsession with size that lies at the heart of the physiological and psychological rationale. Unfortunately, I cannot quote any of the colorful lines in a stolid newspaper like ours.

But think for the sake of your own countrymen, which is my understanding of patriotism. By dating and marrying a Chinese, one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people not to say its film critic's darling can single-handedly rectify one-30 millionth of the gender imbalance in her country.

Yes, she is China's gift to Hollywood. But we're not living in an age when we give giant pandas as free gifts to foreign nations anymore. Nowadays we loan them out for a nice and nifty donation. If this policy is right for the black-and-white national treasure, why not apply it to the porcelain fragile type, as well?

Which means she can date whomever she wants, but she eventually had better settle down with her own kind a nice lad, not someone at the bottom of the 30 million heap. And once that is picked up by a certain website that can turn anything into a social trend, all of those more gorgeous stars, such as Gong Li and Maggie Cheung, will have second thoughts on having Caucasian paramours or spouses.

But then again, I think Zhang Ziyi shouldn't marry anybody. She should be put on a pedestal and enshrined as the virgin queen of Chinese cinema somewhat like the Buddha of Infinite Chastity.

(China Daily 02/08/2007 page20)