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I remember that movie. The exact line too. I forgot the name (it was something like The Fighting Cook, direct literal translation from Chinese), but the plot was indeed cheesy, and involved a damsel in distress, a budding talented apprentice who is learning the way to fight properly, and a kung fu grandmaster who was incognito, fearing persecution from the evil big bad guy and his cronies. Standard martial arts movie drill. It did have an interesting variation, involving prostitution, a noodle restaurant and how all the cooks turned out to be first-class martial artists in disguise, and a ridiculous bodybuilder known as Beefy who dressed in tight leotards. Not bad for short-term entertainment. The 1970's and 1980's Hong Kong filming industry was cheesy at its very best, save Jackie Chan. He had class.

The Chinese developed that reputation from the Western policy known as the Open Door Policy. The exploitative imperialists used the weakness of the Qing Dynasty for their own ends. The inability of the Westerners to distinguish between Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese also helped. Since there was more Chinese people than others, they made the assumption that all of them were Chinese.

In reality, the "weakness" derived from the government, not the people themselves. When you're starving and robbed blind from government taxes, you can't be too strong. We Chinese built half of America's first Missouri-California railway. I like how the Chinese were kindly asked to "fuck off" and get out of the photo of the twin railway connection in Promontory Point in Utah. Racists. Whites connected the Atlantic and the Pacific too, right?

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