Family Fights to Preserve Bruce Lee's Residence

Family Fights to Preserve Bruce Lee's Residence


    A bronze statue of late kungfu star Bruce Lee stands on the harbor front in Tsim Sha Tsui. The statue was unveiled in 2005 in commemoration of the movie legend. Edmond Tang

    The entrance to a motel which used to house kungfu legend Bruce Lee in Kowloon Tong. Fans of Lee urged the SAR government to buy the property and convert it into a museum. Edmond Tang

    "My family finds it regretful that the Hong Kong government has not done much for my brother, who has a significant role in the collective memory of Hong Kong people and is a cultural icon in the city," the letter said.

    "I urge the SAR government to buy the residence and convert it into a museum that would allow public access and facilitate research and education on Bruce Lee's history," the letter said.

    Bruce Lee spent his last months in the residence before he died on July 20, 1973.

    Bruce Lee Club chairman Wong Yiu-keung said Hong Kong was lagging behind in commemorating the kungfu legend, citing Shunde in Guangdong province is planning to build a museum for Lee.

    "Hong Kong has been using Bruce Lee to attract overseas tourists, but we have done nothing to commemorate him," Wong said. "Many overseas fans want to visit the residence. And I have to tell them that they need to pair up with a member of the opposite sex in order to get into the motel. It is quite shameful."

    He added that a lot of items have been left untouched from the old days and if the property is turned into a museum, income generated from entry fees could be used for charity.

    Radio host and commentator Chip Tsao, who had spent some years in the United Kingdom, said Bruce Lee had positively changed the way Westerners see Chinese people, but what the city has done for him does not match up to his contribution.

    Liberal Party Kowloon West district officer Michael Tien has sent a letter to Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma, urging the government to convert the property into a museum.

    Tien said he will follow up the matter with other officials and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

    He believes that the income generated from entry fees will be sufficient to finance the operation of the museum.

    A spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau acknowledged that they have received Tien's letter and will study his proposal.

    The younger brother of kungfu legend Bruce Lee is requesting the Hong Kong government to preserve the star's former residence in Kowloon Tong, which faces the risk of being knocked down after the owner decided to sell the property to raise funds for Sichuan earthquake victims.

    Robert Lee wrote a letter to Chief Executive Donald Tsang yesterday, saying the government should buy and convert the residence into a museum in commemoration of his brother.

    Lee's fans expressed fear that the residence on No 41, Cumberland Road, which is now a motel, will be knocked down after the owner, philanthropist Yu Pang-lin, announced to sell the property along with four others in late May. The tender will close today.

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