HONG KONG – Bruce Lee, the legendary kung-fu icon, would surely have found a more direct and forceful route to sorting out his problems of heritage.
The house in which he lived in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Tong district has become the focus of a tussle between the territory’s famously hands-off government, martial arts fans around the world and a billionaire businessman Yu Panglin (second ref: Yu).
After an outcry, Yu withdrew his plans to sell the HK$100 million ($12.8 million) two-story house that Lee lived in for several years until his death in 1973 and affectionately called “the crow’s nest.” Fans protested, fearing that the place would be torn down to release its valuable land.
Instead, Yu advanced plans to turn the place, currently being used as a ‘love hotel,’ into a Lee museum, but last week the government said that it will not provide any money for the venture.
Now, according to the South China Morning Post, Yu is willing to foot the bill himself on condition that the government rewrites the planning regulations for the site. He hopes that he can expand the complex, allowing restoration of the house, the building of a cinema, a library and a martial arts center.
Yu, who said that he originally wanted to sell the house in order to raise funds for the Sichuan earthquake relief effort, now says any profits from the museum complex would go to charity.
San Francisco-born Lee became famous in the movies of Golden Harvest, but the territory has done little to recognize one of the biggest ever names in Hong Kong cinema beyond erecting a statue of him on the Kowloon waterfront.