Monday, 2 July 2012

Jay: Ankylosing Spondylitis 强直性脊柱炎

""Jay's worst affliction is his back, because of his ankylosing spondylitis. The pain can wake him up and he has to sleep sitting up. Initially, I got a shock."----- Xiao Mai, Jay's good friend and choreographer

 Tonight's post was inspired by a bout of backache which I'm enduring now, no thanks to two hours of bum-dancing at the Grasshopper concert two nights ago. *grimace*
Pain, stiffness and the inability to move at my usual pace and agility.....all these remind me of Jay, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis some time in his late teens.

For the uninitiated, Ankylosing Spondylitis (or AS as I shall henceforth refer to it as) is an inflammatory joint disease affecting mainly the spine but also other areas to a smaller extent.
Here is a link with more info:

From his mother's foreword in his book, Grandeur de D Majeur (circa 2003) comes this indication of how severe his pain could be: (Translation taken from Jay Chou Studio)

"Jay who doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, doesn’t go to night stalls, the thing that worries me the most is his old illness - ankylosing spondylitis, sometimes when I see him in so much pain, even when he gets up from bed to go to the door, he takes 20 minutes, being his mother, I could only shout in my heart: “God! Can I take the pain for him?” My son seeing my reluctance, instead he comforted me: “Mom, I’m alright, I’ll be fine in a moment.”

And from the Jay Chou Studio archives, here's a link about his back pain circa 2009, which also bears testimony to Jay's strong determination not to let AS get the better of him and that there are others who are much worse off than him:
" I still think I'm very lucky, no matter how much more it hurts, someone else will be hurting more than you, no matter how much more pitiful you feel, there's someone more pitiful."

Of course there was the not-unexpected query from different quarters about the authenticity of his AS and whether he was using is as an excuse to shirk his military duties, which was investigated and found to be totally above-board:

Dissatisfaction rose again later when he was filming The Green Hornet and doing some nifty stunts, to which his company JVR replied:

"It is a fact that Jay has spinal chronic disease. He received an official letter [of exemption] from the military in 1999, before he became a celebrity. The doctor also said that with moderate care, patients like him are able to do stunts he did. Furthermore, Hollywood uses a lot of special effects." 

I found a good snippet from an interview during his promotions for Treasure Hunter where he talked about his AS:

"I'm not afraid of getting injured. I only worry that my back will act up when I have to film a scene. Even when I have concerts, I always hope that my back won't act up because I have to dance or perform. That's a constant worry I have. whether I'll be okay when I have to work. In Treasure Hunter, I was fairly lucky, my back only hurt for a couple of days. It's a good and bad thing, this back problem. Because of it, I didn't have to do national service and I got to do the things I wanted to do. I got to become a singer. I can't say I'm thankful but if it weren't for this problem, I may have gone into national service and then maybe I would not have become Jay Chou. So no matter how difficult it is, I accept it."

He has also recently been working out at Wil's gym, where there were specifically designed exercises for him, in view of his AS:

So at the age of 33, Mr Chou appears to be in the greatest physical shape he has ever been, AS notwithstanding! 
His indefatigable spirit and never-say-die attitude will ensure he keeps going for a long long time. :)


  1. he is incredible

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