The Dragon Lives: Towering Over Hong Kong, Bosnia & Los Angeles
Bruce Lee Statues Unveiled
Kung Fu film star Bruce Lee will be remembered with a bronze statue marking his 65th birthday.
The city of Hong Kong recently hosted a weeklong festival to honor the memory of the late action film star Bruce Lee.
The seven-day event featured showings of Lee's successful films, tours of relevant Lee related-sites around the city, including a visit to Lee's family home where he was raised as a youngster and schools he attended, plus a large fan appreciation gathering.
The festival itself was organized to help celebrate the unveiling of a statue of the martial arts legend, which was created by Chinese sculptor Cao Chongen. The festival, backed by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, began on November 25th and was continued until December 1st of 2005.
The statue of Lee was partly funded by the Hong Kong Bruce Lee Fan Club, but the club had asked the government to contribute towards the cost of casting the bronze tribute. The club received the government approval it needed to unveil the statue.
Robert Lee, Bruce's brother, appeared to preside over the official unveiling ceremony of the six-foot-six-inch tall statue on Hong Kong's Avenue of the Stars-Walk of Fame on November 27th said the chairman of the Hong Kong Bruce Lee Fan Club.
Fans were also able to discuss various Bruce Lee topics at a Hong Kong gathering on the first day, which would've been Lee's 65th birthday.
Bruce Lee fans were able to choose the design for the Hong Kong statue of the Kung Fu icon.
More than 57,000 Lee fans were invited to choose their favorite design out of a list of three proposed on the Internet. The three design choices all featured Lee in his classic poses, some with bare torso and his signature nunchaka in hand.
The two-meter high bronze statue chosen displays Lee in his familiar bare-chested stance, which resembles a pose from his 1972 film "Fists of Fury".
Organizers hoped this statue would be the first statue of Bruce Lee on public display in the world. However, a similar statue of Bruce Lee was also unveiled earlier in November, in the Bosnian city of Mostar, which makes it the first official statue of the martial arts icon.
“A Chinatown Delight”
Los Angeles displays lasting tribute to Bruce Lee
Officials unveiled a seven-foot six-inch bronze statue of martial arts film icon Bruce Lee in front of a large crowd of onlookers on a warm Saturday night in Chinatown. Cheers rang out through the air in the historical Central Plaza district as rabid fans and admirers caught their first glimpse of the lasting tribute to the international action star. That night also marked the annual night-time Chinatown Summer celebration.
The ceremony was the result of a long effort set into motion by Shannon Lee, Bruce’s daughter and president of the Bruce Lee Foundation, to erect the statue in Chinatown close to where Lee had opened his original Jun Fan Gung Fu school in the 1960’s. In 2010, an earlier effort to erect a statue at the Alpine Recreation Center failed over a disagreement on funding.
Though there is still the matter of raising an additional $150,000 to install visitor seating and more concrete needed for its permanent installation, the timing was right for the unveiling, said Shannon Lee.
6/15/2013, the day before Father’s Day, marks the 40th anniversary of her father’s death and the 75th anniversary of L.A.’s Chinatown. It was a day that seemed fitting for this special event.
“Seeing it there in its permanent spot with the night sky of Chinatown ... it really struck me,” Shannon Lee said.
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco but was raised in Hong Kong. In his teens, he returned to the USA, settling in Seattle where he opened his first school, met his wife Linda Caldwell while attending college and soon became a father of two children. He then lived in Oakland and San Francisco where he opened additional martial arts schools.
But, he became a fixture in Los Angeles’ Chinatown in the 1960s, opening a school at 628 West College Street and working out at the Alpine Recreation Center. It was then when Lee coined the term “Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do” to refer to his personal approach on martial arts training.
“It was the best place to be for Chinese food and to speak to people in his own language,” Shannon Lee said.
Bruce Lee made his initial mark on Hollywood while playing Kato in an early television adaptation of the "Green Hornet," before moving back to Asia where he went on to make his legendary films. Lee later died of a severe brain edema at age 32 while living with his family in Hong Kong. His body was returned to the United States and laid to rest in a cemetary in Seattle, Washington near to where he and his wife Linda first met.
To the surprise of many of Lee’s loyal fans, the statue of their icon, created by an artist in China, is the first of its kind in the United States. Many people in Los Angeles feel this tribute was long overdue.
www.amam-magazine.com acknowledges the 40th Anniversary of Bruce Lee's passing on this date: 07/20/2013