Jun 25, 2008

Hong Kong fans fight to save Bruce Lee`s last home as museum

Fans of kung fu legend Bruce Lee are campaigning to save the Hong Kong home where he spent his final years as a museum, a news report said Wednesday.

The two-storey house in the city's exclusive Kowloon Tong residential district, where Lee and his family were living at the time of his death in 1973, is being sold by its owner to raise money for earthquake relief in China, the South China Morning Post reported.

The 530-square-metre residence in Cumberland Street was expected to fetch about 13 million US dollars when bids for it and four other properties owned by entrepreneur Yu Panglin close Wednesday.

Fans of Lee, who starred in films that include Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon, have appealed to the Hong Kong government to buy the house as a memorial to the city's best-known movie star.

Lee lived with his wife, Linda Lee-Cadwell, in the house, which he affectionately named the Crane's Nest. He died mysteriously at 32 at the peak of his stardom at the home of an actress friend in another part of Kowloon Tong.

Hong Kong officials, apparently wary of Lee's hell-raising reputation, have repeatedly resisted calls to create any permanent memorial to the movie star, and his home was used five years ago as a "love hotel," where couples rented rooms at hourly rates.

Bruce Lee Club chairman Wong Yiu-keung told the Post that it was "humiliating" that there was no proper place to commemorate the first Chinese celebrity to gain worldwide fame.

"It is humiliating enough to have the late star's former residence being turned into a love hotel," he said. "Hong Kong has been using Bruce Lee to promote the city, but what has Hong Kong done for him?"

Cultural critic Chip Tsao pointed out to the newspaper that Hong Kong's government was spending hundreds of millions of US dollars compensating chicken farmers after the latest bird-flu scare.

"Does Bruce Lee have a lower status than chickens?" Tsao asked.

A statue to Lee was erected a few years ago along the Victoria Harbour waterfront after years of pressure from his fans in Hong Kong and overseas.

However, his childhood residence and the Golden Harvest studio, where he filmed his most famous movies, have been demolished.

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