Question for LJF: Bruce Lee's older siblings in the USA?

Question for LJF: Bruce Lee's older siblings in the USA?

Chuan Jun Fan
Chuan Jun Fan

December 23rd, 2016, 1:10 am #1

Hi LJF,

Your research skills are excellent and are a highlight of the forum. It is rare to find well written accurate, detailed, research (published in the English language) on the Chinese side of Bruce Lee's personal history (His childhood years, his family, his education, his school-friends, his early martial art years etc.).

Bruce's older siblings, Agnes and Peter pursued higher education in the USA and would meet up with Bruce (There are photos of Agnes in San Francisco and Seattle with Bruce and photos of Peter and Bruce together in Seattle). I am not aware of any English language publication that has interviewed Agnes or Peter. Are you aware of any interviews from the Eastern media?

Details I'm interested in are Peter's and Agnes' time in the USA (dates and locations of Universities attended). When and where they met up with Bruce. How did Peter and Eunice Lam meet (in the USA?)? Peter asked Bruce to take care of Eunice when she visited Seattle in 1961 ... where was Peter during this time?



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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

December 24th, 2016, 10:55 am #2


Thanks for your favorable comments, Chuan. Will keep up the quality work.

Due to their reserved characters, Agnes and Peter tend to stay very low profile and were hardly interviewed even by the Eastern media. So far, I only found bits and pieces of Peter’s news on the old HK papers after Bruce passed away in 1973. Most reporters were only interested in asking him about Bruce’s story and pay not so much attention on his personal affairs. It is understandable as Bruce was a superstar and Peter was only a common resident in HK. As for Agnes, she has long migrated to USA after she married a Chinese over there. Like Peter, she prefers to keep her privacy away from the public and media. Also, she seems more soft-spoken, reserved and shy compared to Phoebe and Robert who are more outspoken and open to the media’s interviews.

I managed to find 2 rare Chinese articles each on Phoebe and Agnes and would translate them when I got the time. They will be posted in this forum only.

Regarding your interest about Peter and Agnes’ time in the U.S., there were not much info or specific reports on this topic but some essential info can be gathered from BL’s books and papers though not much or detailed.

Agnes Lee
========
In Robert Lee’s book, “Bruce Lee, My Brother,” he recalled that Bruce’s parents decided to send Bruce to the U.S. after he was involved in a serious fight with a HK triad society member and was sternly warned by the police. So, in late April 1959, Bruce departed HK for the United States to meet up with his older sister Agnes Lee who was already living with her family friends in San Francisco (S.F.). In the book, “Tiger and Dragon,” it mentioned Bruce was expecting to meet his second elder sister, Agnes when he arrived in the “President Wilson” passenger liner in S.F. pier in May 1959. In some old Chinese articles, they mentioned that Agnes (b. 1938) who was 2 years older than Bruce and 1 year older than Peter (b. 1939), went over to the U.S. a year earlier. That means 1958 (she was around 20 years old then). However, Bruce did not see Agnes but was welcome by an old opera’s friend of his father Lee Hoi Chuen, whose name was Guan Jing Ho. Later, Bruce stayed with this “uncle” temporarily in S.F. before moving on to Seattle.

By the way, Agnes’ Chinese name is Lee Chau-Fung and Chau-Fung in Chinese means the autumn’s phoenix. So, there were actually 2 phoenixes in Lee’s family, i.e. Agnes and Bruce (nicknamed Sai Fung (little phoenix) as well as Siu Loong, the little dragon). There were no specific details or special mentioning about Agnes enrolling into which universities in the U.S. According to the book, “The Bruce Lee Story”, Linda recalled Agnes attended college in the S.F. Bay area when she and Bruce lived in Oakland (circa 1964-65). They were able to see her often in those days and she was a great help to Linda when Brandon was born.

Agnes and her husband, Bing (full name Chan Ping-Chi), a space and rocket scientist then lived in Long Island, NY in the 80s. She worked as a hospital lab technician, in addition to having raised three children. If Agnes had enrolled into the university in 1958, then she would have graduated by 1962. But Linda said Agnes was still schooling in S.F. College circa 64-65. So, she should have only graduated by 1965 since she got married to Bing in 1966. There were photos of Bruce, Linda, baby Brandon and Bruce’s mother, Grace Lee attending Agnes and Bing’s church wedding in 1966. Bruce was filming Green Hornet TV series then and his hairstyle was exactly the same as in that TV series. If Agnes was working as a hospital lab technician, then most likely she majored in medical related studies in the University. So, probably after her 4 years degrees study, she continued to study her post-graduate degree, i.e. master degree in S.F. College for another 2-3 years which makes sense in this case.

According to her Chinese interview, she worked as a “medical specialist” in the U.S. for many years and after her retirement in the 90’s, she lived with her husband in Pennsylvania (probably have moved from Long Island in the 80’s to Pennsylvania in the 90’s. Both are located on the east side of the U.S.). As for Bruce’s eldest sister, Phoebe, she is retired and lived in L.A. with her husband, Ng Kong-Wo, a famous Chinese calligrapher. They used to live in S.F. in the 80’s and had move to L.A. in the 90’s to reside near her youngest brother, Robert Lee. Phoebe is a woman of fierce pride, she probably knows more about the Lee family history than many people (besides her mother Grace Lee and her elder cousin Lee Chau-Kin) and like Robert, has been generous in granting interviews to those seeking to tell Bruce’s life story.

Meeting of Lee’s siblings in the U.S.
==========================
As for the meeting of the siblings in S.F., though Agnes was supposed to pick up Bruce when he arrived in S.F. in mid May 1959 but most likely due to her study’s commitment, she was not able to make it. Instead, Guan Jing Ho, old friend of Lee Hoi-Chuen was there to see the arrival of the little dragon. Bruce stayed with him in S.F. for several months before moving on to Seattle and stayed with Ruby Chow and Ping Chow (both Lee’s family friend) in September 1959. During this time, Agnes should have met her 2 brothers Bruce and Peter in S.F. and traveled to Seattle to meet Bruce during her summer school vacation. Also, when Eunice Lam (Peter’s girlfriend) came over to the U.S. in 1961, the Lee’s siblings (Peter, Bruce and Agnes) had met up with her. More info in my past article, “Eunice Lam Remembers Bruce Lee” dated April 9 2016: (http://www.network54.com/Forum/256969/m ... .1+of+2%29). Though it never mentioned Agnes was present during the meeting but she was living in S.F. bay area then, so, there must be opportunity for her to meet Eunice since both of her brothers came to S.F.

In the above article, Eunice said, “I enrolled into the summer class in the University of Washington (note: circa 1961) and his brother, Lee Chung-Sam (Peter Lee) told Bruce to take good care of me.” Bruce was in Seattle and Peter was in studying in Minnesota then. That’s why Peter was not able to meet Eunice in Seattle. However, they agreed to meet in S.F. during their school vacation.

Peter Lee
========
In Eunice’s recollections, she said Bruce borrowed a car and drove her with an elderly lady (car belonged to her) from Seattle to S.F. They waved goodbye to the elderly lady before proceeding to Auntie Sing’s house. She said, “Auntie Sing was a friend of Bruce’s mother, Grace Lee. She was a local Chinese who always welcome all her friend’s children to stay at her house and served them with great hospitality. Chung-Sam (Peter) stayed there before his school commenced.” So, it is likely that Agnes had stayed with Auntie Sing for a short while too when she arrived in S.F. Refer also to the following article for more info on Peter Lee, “HK Colony Fencing Champion In 1958 dated August 29 2015”
http://www.network54.com/Forum/256969/m ... on+In+1958

According to Eunice, Peter continued her courtship with her while they were still in the college years. Eunice said they used to contact each other via phone calls regularly as both were studying in different places. Sometimes, Bruce would also call and pretended to be his brother. Both bore quite similar tones and voices. Eunice was being tricked by Bruce many times but was not angry with him since she knew it was part of his jovial personality.

Peter was the pride of his parents. Not only was he good in his study and conduct in school, he was also very good in sports. He represented La Salle College and won the HK Colony Fencing Champion in 1958. He then represented HK to participate in the Commonwealth’s fencing competition held in the U.K. in 1958. According to Robert Lee, two months after Bruce left HK on April 1959, Peter was also sent to the U.S. by his parents to further his study. In the book, “Dragon and Tiger,” Peter met Bruce in S.F. and then in September 1959, they took a plane to Seattle. He joined Bruce in Seattle for a short stay before moving on to Minnesota to attend college (his earlier application was accepted by the college). Bruce did not complete his high school, hence, had to enroll into Edison Technical School to finish his high school study first before applying for the college.

So, Peter either began his college from either late 1959 or early 1960. Therefore, he should have graduated from the University of Minnesota by either 1963 or 1964. According to “The Bruce Lee Story,” Peter indeed attended college in Minnesota where he excelled in physics. After his father’s death in 1965, Peter returned to live in HK. He once worked as a teacher in La Salle College and was the fencing coach for the La Salle’s fencing team. According to Eunice’s memoir, she and Peter got married in 1966 once she had graduated from the University of Berkeley. Then, she gave birth to a son, Lee Kai-Ho in 1967. Subsequently, Peter worked as the Assistant Director for HK Royal Observatory. He later obtained his Doctorate degree and continued to hold the abovementioned prominent position for many years until his retirement in the 90’s. Peter divorced twice (once with Eunice Lam and another with 1975 Miss HK Champion, Mary Cheung) and later migrated to Australia in the 90’s with his son and daughter of second marriage. Peter passed away on 3rd Sep 2008 due to a sudden heart attack.

Both Peter and Agnes had fond memories of Bruce. They both said Bruce was a hyperactive kid, and would always be moving about all the time. He loved to play pranks on people with various kinds of tricks. None of the people in the house had not been “victimized” by him. However, it would be surprising to see him sitting quietly at a side since this was not his usual self and if he did, the whole family would be worried and would think that he must had fallen sick. Yet, beside his mischievousness, he was a kind-hearted person who would help the needy and stood up for the injustice others faced.



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Joined: September 21st, 2015, 3:56 am

December 24th, 2016, 12:17 pm #3

I read somewhere Peter was the apple in Lee Hoi Chuen's eyes. Old man did not like Bruce as much as Peter because Bruce gave him too much headache. But Grace favored Bruce most among all her kids.
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Joined: September 19th, 2015, 12:07 pm

December 24th, 2016, 4:38 pm #4

Thanks for your favorable comments, Chuan. Will keep up the quality work.

Due to their reserved characters, Agnes and Peter tend to stay very low profile and were hardly interviewed even by the Eastern media. So far, I only found bits and pieces of Peter’s news on the old HK papers after Bruce passed away in 1973. Most reporters were only interested in asking him about Bruce’s story and pay not so much attention on his personal affairs. It is understandable as Bruce was a superstar and Peter was only a common resident in HK. As for Agnes, she has long migrated to USA after she married a Chinese over there. Like Peter, she prefers to keep her privacy away from the public and media. Also, she seems more soft-spoken, reserved and shy compared to Phoebe and Robert who are more outspoken and open to the media’s interviews.

I managed to find 2 rare Chinese articles each on Phoebe and Agnes and would translate them when I got the time. They will be posted in this forum only.

Regarding your interest about Peter and Agnes’ time in the U.S., there were not much info or specific reports on this topic but some essential info can be gathered from BL’s books and papers though not much or detailed.

Agnes Lee
========
In Robert Lee’s book, “Bruce Lee, My Brother,” he recalled that Bruce’s parents decided to send Bruce to the U.S. after he was involved in a serious fight with a HK triad society member and was sternly warned by the police. So, in late April 1959, Bruce departed HK for the United States to meet up with his older sister Agnes Lee who was already living with her family friends in San Francisco (S.F.). In the book, “Tiger and Dragon,” it mentioned Bruce was expecting to meet his second elder sister, Agnes when he arrived in the “President Wilson” passenger liner in S.F. pier in May 1959. In some old Chinese articles, they mentioned that Agnes (b. 1938) who was 2 years older than Bruce and 1 year older than Peter (b. 1939), went over to the U.S. a year earlier. That means 1958 (she was around 20 years old then). However, Bruce did not see Agnes but was welcome by an old opera’s friend of his father Lee Hoi Chuen, whose name was Guan Jing Ho. Later, Bruce stayed with this “uncle” temporarily in S.F. before moving on to Seattle.

By the way, Agnes’ Chinese name is Lee Chau-Fung and Chau-Fung in Chinese means the autumn’s phoenix. So, there were actually 2 phoenixes in Lee’s family, i.e. Agnes and Bruce (nicknamed Sai Fung (little phoenix) as well as Siu Loong, the little dragon). There were no specific details or special mentioning about Agnes enrolling into which universities in the U.S. According to the book, “The Bruce Lee Story”, Linda recalled Agnes attended college in the S.F. Bay area when she and Bruce lived in Oakland (circa 1964-65). They were able to see her often in those days and she was a great help to Linda when Brandon was born.

Agnes and her husband, Bing (full name Chan Ping-Chi), a space and rocket scientist then lived in Long Island, NY in the 80s. She worked as a hospital lab technician, in addition to having raised three children. If Agnes had enrolled into the university in 1958, then she would have graduated by 1962. But Linda said Agnes was still schooling in S.F. College circa 64-65. So, she should have only graduated by 1965 since she got married to Bing in 1966. There were photos of Bruce, Linda, baby Brandon and Bruce’s mother, Grace Lee attending Agnes and Bing’s church wedding in 1966. Bruce was filming Green Hornet TV series then and his hairstyle was exactly the same as in that TV series. If Agnes was working as a hospital lab technician, then most likely she majored in medical related studies in the University. So, probably after her 4 years degrees study, she continued to study her post-graduate degree, i.e. master degree in S.F. College for another 2-3 years which makes sense in this case.

According to her Chinese interview, she worked as a “medical specialist” in the U.S. for many years and after her retirement in the 90’s, she lived with her husband in Pennsylvania (probably have moved from Long Island in the 80’s to Pennsylvania in the 90’s. Both are located on the east side of the U.S.). As for Bruce’s eldest sister, Phoebe, she is retired and lived in L.A. with her husband, Ng Kong-Wo, a famous Chinese calligrapher. They used to live in S.F. in the 80’s and had move to L.A. in the 90’s to reside near her youngest brother, Robert Lee. Phoebe is a woman of fierce pride, she probably knows more about the Lee family history than many people (besides her mother Grace Lee and her elder cousin Lee Chau-Kin) and like Robert, has been generous in granting interviews to those seeking to tell Bruce’s life story.

Meeting of Lee’s siblings in the U.S.
==========================
As for the meeting of the siblings in S.F., though Agnes was supposed to pick up Bruce when he arrived in S.F. in mid May 1959 but most likely due to her study’s commitment, she was not able to make it. Instead, Guan Jing Ho, old friend of Lee Hoi-Chuen was there to see the arrival of the little dragon. Bruce stayed with him in S.F. for several months before moving on to Seattle and stayed with Ruby Chow and Ping Chow (both Lee’s family friend) in September 1959. During this time, Agnes should have met her 2 brothers Bruce and Peter in S.F. and traveled to Seattle to meet Bruce during her summer school vacation. Also, when Eunice Lam (Peter’s girlfriend) came over to the U.S. in 1961, the Lee’s siblings (Peter, Bruce and Agnes) had met up with her. More info in my past article, “Eunice Lam Remembers Bruce Lee” dated April 9 2016: (http://www.network54.com/Forum/256969/m ... .1+of+2%29). Though it never mentioned Agnes was present during the meeting but she was living in S.F. bay area then, so, there must be opportunity for her to meet Eunice since both of her brothers came to S.F.

In the above article, Eunice said, “I enrolled into the summer class in the University of Washington (note: circa 1961) and his brother, Lee Chung-Sam (Peter Lee) told Bruce to take good care of me.” Bruce was in Seattle and Peter was in studying in Minnesota then. That’s why Peter was not able to meet Eunice in Seattle. However, they agreed to meet in S.F. during their school vacation.

Peter Lee
========
In Eunice’s recollections, she said Bruce borrowed a car and drove her with an elderly lady (car belonged to her) from Seattle to S.F. They waved goodbye to the elderly lady before proceeding to Auntie Sing’s house. She said, “Auntie Sing was a friend of Bruce’s mother, Grace Lee. She was a local Chinese who always welcome all her friend’s children to stay at her house and served them with great hospitality. Chung-Sam (Peter) stayed there before his school commenced.” So, it is likely that Agnes had stayed with Auntie Sing for a short while too when she arrived in S.F. Refer also to the following article for more info on Peter Lee, “HK Colony Fencing Champion In 1958 dated August 29 2015”
http://www.network54.com/Forum/256969/m ... on+In+1958

According to Eunice, Peter continued her courtship with her while they were still in the college years. Eunice said they used to contact each other via phone calls regularly as both were studying in different places. Sometimes, Bruce would also call and pretended to be his brother. Both bore quite similar tones and voices. Eunice was being tricked by Bruce many times but was not angry with him since she knew it was part of his jovial personality.

Peter was the pride of his parents. Not only was he good in his study and conduct in school, he was also very good in sports. He represented La Salle College and won the HK Colony Fencing Champion in 1958. He then represented HK to participate in the Commonwealth’s fencing competition held in the U.K. in 1958. According to Robert Lee, two months after Bruce left HK on April 1959, Peter was also sent to the U.S. by his parents to further his study. In the book, “Dragon and Tiger,” Peter met Bruce in S.F. and then in September 1959, they took a plane to Seattle. He joined Bruce in Seattle for a short stay before moving on to Minnesota to attend college (his earlier application was accepted by the college). Bruce did not complete his high school, hence, had to enroll into Edison Technical School to finish his high school study first before applying for the college.

So, Peter either began his college from either late 1959 or early 1960. Therefore, he should have graduated from the University of Minnesota by either 1963 or 1964. According to “The Bruce Lee Story,” Peter indeed attended college in Minnesota where he excelled in physics. After his father’s death in 1965, Peter returned to live in HK. He once worked as a teacher in La Salle College and was the fencing coach for the La Salle’s fencing team. According to Eunice’s memoir, she and Peter got married in 1966 once she had graduated from the University of Berkeley. Then, she gave birth to a son, Lee Kai-Ho in 1967. Subsequently, Peter worked as the Assistant Director for HK Royal Observatory. He later obtained his Doctorate degree and continued to hold the abovementioned prominent position for many years until his retirement in the 90’s. Peter divorced twice (once with Eunice Lam and another with 1975 Miss HK Champion, Mary Cheung) and later migrated to Australia in the 90’s with his son and daughter of second marriage. Peter passed away on 3rd Sep 2008 due to a sudden heart attack.

Both Peter and Agnes had fond memories of Bruce. They both said Bruce was a hyperactive kid, and would always be moving about all the time. He loved to play pranks on people with various kinds of tricks. None of the people in the house had not been “victimized” by him. However, it would be surprising to see him sitting quietly at a side since this was not his usual self and if he did, the whole family would be worried and would think that he must had fallen sick. Yet, beside his mischievousness, he was a kind-hearted person who would help the needy and stood up for the injustice others faced.


Always glad to read this kind of info, especially being compiled for easy reading.
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Chuan Jun Fan
Chuan Jun Fan

December 29th, 2016, 1:03 am #5

Thanks for your favorable comments, Chuan. Will keep up the quality work.

Due to their reserved characters, Agnes and Peter tend to stay very low profile and were hardly interviewed even by the Eastern media. So far, I only found bits and pieces of Peter’s news on the old HK papers after Bruce passed away in 1973. Most reporters were only interested in asking him about Bruce’s story and pay not so much attention on his personal affairs. It is understandable as Bruce was a superstar and Peter was only a common resident in HK. As for Agnes, she has long migrated to USA after she married a Chinese over there. Like Peter, she prefers to keep her privacy away from the public and media. Also, she seems more soft-spoken, reserved and shy compared to Phoebe and Robert who are more outspoken and open to the media’s interviews.

I managed to find 2 rare Chinese articles each on Phoebe and Agnes and would translate them when I got the time. They will be posted in this forum only.

Regarding your interest about Peter and Agnes’ time in the U.S., there were not much info or specific reports on this topic but some essential info can be gathered from BL’s books and papers though not much or detailed.

Agnes Lee
========
In Robert Lee’s book, “Bruce Lee, My Brother,” he recalled that Bruce’s parents decided to send Bruce to the U.S. after he was involved in a serious fight with a HK triad society member and was sternly warned by the police. So, in late April 1959, Bruce departed HK for the United States to meet up with his older sister Agnes Lee who was already living with her family friends in San Francisco (S.F.). In the book, “Tiger and Dragon,” it mentioned Bruce was expecting to meet his second elder sister, Agnes when he arrived in the “President Wilson” passenger liner in S.F. pier in May 1959. In some old Chinese articles, they mentioned that Agnes (b. 1938) who was 2 years older than Bruce and 1 year older than Peter (b. 1939), went over to the U.S. a year earlier. That means 1958 (she was around 20 years old then). However, Bruce did not see Agnes but was welcome by an old opera’s friend of his father Lee Hoi Chuen, whose name was Guan Jing Ho. Later, Bruce stayed with this “uncle” temporarily in S.F. before moving on to Seattle.

By the way, Agnes’ Chinese name is Lee Chau-Fung and Chau-Fung in Chinese means the autumn’s phoenix. So, there were actually 2 phoenixes in Lee’s family, i.e. Agnes and Bruce (nicknamed Sai Fung (little phoenix) as well as Siu Loong, the little dragon). There were no specific details or special mentioning about Agnes enrolling into which universities in the U.S. According to the book, “The Bruce Lee Story”, Linda recalled Agnes attended college in the S.F. Bay area when she and Bruce lived in Oakland (circa 1964-65). They were able to see her often in those days and she was a great help to Linda when Brandon was born.

Agnes and her husband, Bing (full name Chan Ping-Chi), a space and rocket scientist then lived in Long Island, NY in the 80s. She worked as a hospital lab technician, in addition to having raised three children. If Agnes had enrolled into the university in 1958, then she would have graduated by 1962. But Linda said Agnes was still schooling in S.F. College circa 64-65. So, she should have only graduated by 1965 since she got married to Bing in 1966. There were photos of Bruce, Linda, baby Brandon and Bruce’s mother, Grace Lee attending Agnes and Bing’s church wedding in 1966. Bruce was filming Green Hornet TV series then and his hairstyle was exactly the same as in that TV series. If Agnes was working as a hospital lab technician, then most likely she majored in medical related studies in the University. So, probably after her 4 years degrees study, she continued to study her post-graduate degree, i.e. master degree in S.F. College for another 2-3 years which makes sense in this case.

According to her Chinese interview, she worked as a “medical specialist” in the U.S. for many years and after her retirement in the 90’s, she lived with her husband in Pennsylvania (probably have moved from Long Island in the 80’s to Pennsylvania in the 90’s. Both are located on the east side of the U.S.). As for Bruce’s eldest sister, Phoebe, she is retired and lived in L.A. with her husband, Ng Kong-Wo, a famous Chinese calligrapher. They used to live in S.F. in the 80’s and had move to L.A. in the 90’s to reside near her youngest brother, Robert Lee. Phoebe is a woman of fierce pride, she probably knows more about the Lee family history than many people (besides her mother Grace Lee and her elder cousin Lee Chau-Kin) and like Robert, has been generous in granting interviews to those seeking to tell Bruce’s life story.

Meeting of Lee’s siblings in the U.S.
==========================
As for the meeting of the siblings in S.F., though Agnes was supposed to pick up Bruce when he arrived in S.F. in mid May 1959 but most likely due to her study’s commitment, she was not able to make it. Instead, Guan Jing Ho, old friend of Lee Hoi-Chuen was there to see the arrival of the little dragon. Bruce stayed with him in S.F. for several months before moving on to Seattle and stayed with Ruby Chow and Ping Chow (both Lee’s family friend) in September 1959. During this time, Agnes should have met her 2 brothers Bruce and Peter in S.F. and traveled to Seattle to meet Bruce during her summer school vacation. Also, when Eunice Lam (Peter’s girlfriend) came over to the U.S. in 1961, the Lee’s siblings (Peter, Bruce and Agnes) had met up with her. More info in my past article, “Eunice Lam Remembers Bruce Lee” dated April 9 2016: (http://www.network54.com/Forum/256969/m ... .1+of+2%29). Though it never mentioned Agnes was present during the meeting but she was living in S.F. bay area then, so, there must be opportunity for her to meet Eunice since both of her brothers came to S.F.

In the above article, Eunice said, “I enrolled into the summer class in the University of Washington (note: circa 1961) and his brother, Lee Chung-Sam (Peter Lee) told Bruce to take good care of me.” Bruce was in Seattle and Peter was in studying in Minnesota then. That’s why Peter was not able to meet Eunice in Seattle. However, they agreed to meet in S.F. during their school vacation.

Peter Lee
========
In Eunice’s recollections, she said Bruce borrowed a car and drove her with an elderly lady (car belonged to her) from Seattle to S.F. They waved goodbye to the elderly lady before proceeding to Auntie Sing’s house. She said, “Auntie Sing was a friend of Bruce’s mother, Grace Lee. She was a local Chinese who always welcome all her friend’s children to stay at her house and served them with great hospitality. Chung-Sam (Peter) stayed there before his school commenced.” So, it is likely that Agnes had stayed with Auntie Sing for a short while too when she arrived in S.F. Refer also to the following article for more info on Peter Lee, “HK Colony Fencing Champion In 1958 dated August 29 2015”
http://www.network54.com/Forum/256969/m ... on+In+1958

According to Eunice, Peter continued her courtship with her while they were still in the college years. Eunice said they used to contact each other via phone calls regularly as both were studying in different places. Sometimes, Bruce would also call and pretended to be his brother. Both bore quite similar tones and voices. Eunice was being tricked by Bruce many times but was not angry with him since she knew it was part of his jovial personality.

Peter was the pride of his parents. Not only was he good in his study and conduct in school, he was also very good in sports. He represented La Salle College and won the HK Colony Fencing Champion in 1958. He then represented HK to participate in the Commonwealth’s fencing competition held in the U.K. in 1958. According to Robert Lee, two months after Bruce left HK on April 1959, Peter was also sent to the U.S. by his parents to further his study. In the book, “Dragon and Tiger,” Peter met Bruce in S.F. and then in September 1959, they took a plane to Seattle. He joined Bruce in Seattle for a short stay before moving on to Minnesota to attend college (his earlier application was accepted by the college). Bruce did not complete his high school, hence, had to enroll into Edison Technical School to finish his high school study first before applying for the college.

So, Peter either began his college from either late 1959 or early 1960. Therefore, he should have graduated from the University of Minnesota by either 1963 or 1964. According to “The Bruce Lee Story,” Peter indeed attended college in Minnesota where he excelled in physics. After his father’s death in 1965, Peter returned to live in HK. He once worked as a teacher in La Salle College and was the fencing coach for the La Salle’s fencing team. According to Eunice’s memoir, she and Peter got married in 1966 once she had graduated from the University of Berkeley. Then, she gave birth to a son, Lee Kai-Ho in 1967. Subsequently, Peter worked as the Assistant Director for HK Royal Observatory. He later obtained his Doctorate degree and continued to hold the abovementioned prominent position for many years until his retirement in the 90’s. Peter divorced twice (once with Eunice Lam and another with 1975 Miss HK Champion, Mary Cheung) and later migrated to Australia in the 90’s with his son and daughter of second marriage. Peter passed away on 3rd Sep 2008 due to a sudden heart attack.

Both Peter and Agnes had fond memories of Bruce. They both said Bruce was a hyperactive kid, and would always be moving about all the time. He loved to play pranks on people with various kinds of tricks. None of the people in the house had not been “victimized” by him. However, it would be surprising to see him sitting quietly at a side since this was not his usual self and if he did, the whole family would be worried and would think that he must had fallen sick. Yet, beside his mischievousness, he was a kind-hearted person who would help the needy and stood up for the injustice others faced.


Thank you for sharing your insights LJF ... I look forward to reading your translations on the articles on Agnes and Phoebe.

It is quite helpful that you list your reference sources.
The one source you mention that I am cautious about is from the Sid Campbell and Greglon Lee book series Dragon and Tiger the Oakland years.

I recollect promotional samples being sent out to (martial art) publishers around the mid 1980s. Black Belt magazine (USA) basically took the section relevant to Bruce and published it in multiple parts in the magazine ... "Bruce Lee The Oakland Years".

In the early 1990s Dragon the Bruce Lee Story got released with a big publicity push from Hollywood. This would have been very encouraging for any parties that had a Bruce Lee sequel to sell. Sid Campbell was a script writer.

Initially, I was hoping that the book would be a compilation of historical facts sourced from correspondence, diary entries, eye-witness recollections etc. from James Lee's family, friends and students.

It appears to me though, that authentic, original ingredients have been speculated on, embroidered and then over the years had reliable information (Jesse Glover's book) and questionable information (The 1959 New York trip to Gin Foon Mark story from Karate International) from other sources added to it. The result is, unfortunately an unreliable and questionable reference source.
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

January 7th, 2017, 8:17 am #6

Hi LJF,

Your research skills are excellent and are a highlight of the forum. It is rare to find well written accurate, detailed, research (published in the English language) on the Chinese side of Bruce Lee's personal history (His childhood years, his family, his education, his school-friends, his early martial art years etc.).

Bruce's older siblings, Agnes and Peter pursued higher education in the USA and would meet up with Bruce (There are photos of Agnes in San Francisco and Seattle with Bruce and photos of Peter and Bruce together in Seattle). I am not aware of any English language publication that has interviewed Agnes or Peter. Are you aware of any interviews from the Eastern media?

Details I'm interested in are Peter's and Agnes' time in the USA (dates and locations of Universities attended). When and where they met up with Bruce. How did Peter and Eunice Lam meet (in the USA?)? Peter asked Bruce to take care of Eunice when she visited Seattle in 1961 ... where was Peter during this time?


Bruce Lee’s 2nd Elder Sister, Agnes Lee’s Roots Search In Shunde (aka Shun Tak)
===========================================================
(Source: By Leng Wei-Bing of Guangdong Chu Kong Commercial Press dated 18 Nov 2010)

On the 14th this month, another Bruce’s sibling was on her way to Shunde in search of her family’s roots. She is Agnes Lee Chau-Fung, Bruce’s second elder sister. According to the family record, more than half a century ago, Agnes returned to Shunde with her family, which included her younger brother, Bruce. However, Agnes who is now over 70 years old doesn’t seem to have much impression on this childhood trip in her memory. As from now, the two surviving sisters of Bruce and his younger brother have all been to Shunde, their ancestral hometown.   

Secretly visited Bruce’s memorial museum
================================  
Days ago, Agnes Lee and her husband were invited to the premier of the movie, “Bruce Lee, My Brother” in HK. After finishing her scheduled activities in HK, she and her hubby were on their way to their ancestral hometown in Shunde. The first stop was Bruce Lee’s Amusement Park.
 
Madam Wang Fu-Zhen, the GM of the amusement park and Wong Tak-Chiu, the director of Bruce Lee’s Memorial Museum personally welcome the couple. Both Madam Wang and Wong accompanied the couple and introduced the park and the museum to them. Agnes walked slowly and listened quietly to the introduction. Sometimes, she would pick good spots and took photos together with her husband. In Bruce’s Memorial Museum, there are numerous valuable photos which arouse Agnes’ interest, especially a family photo of her parents and siblings, which made her felt like returning to the good old days in HK. She was emotionally touched. Then, Agnes pointed to a blurred group photo of the 3 siblings and said that Bruce was a very mischievous and jovial kid in the family. As long as he was around, there would always be laughter. He would brighten up the atmosphere of the family, and that period was the happiest time in the family. As time got on in the museum, Agnes became more relaxed and seemed more familiar with her tour guides. The conversation between them thus, increased.   
 
Appreciating the hometown's effort for promoting Bruce Lee’s Culture
================================================  
Touring in the Bruce Lee’s Memorial Museum at a slow pace, Agnes spent about 2 hours looking and observing the souvenir and memorial items, and still found not fully contented. After that, she went to Bruce Lee’s Ancestral House to pray to her ancestors. Agnes said that after immigrated to the U.S., she worked in the medical industry and has stayed in a different city from her sister - Phoebe, brother - Robert and nephew - Shannon. Though they contact one another occasionally but she still heard from them about their mainland China’s hometown is paying particular attention in promoting Bruce Lee’s culture. This time she returned to the hometown by chance and witnessed the wonderful Bruce Lee’s Amusement Park which was heavily invested, built and back up by the Shunde’s local government. She also learnt how the folks and relatives of her hometown researched and compiled Bruce’s materials as well as saw the world’s largest Bruce Lee’s Memorial Museum together with the world’s tallest Bruce Lee’s stature being erected in the hometown of Shunde, she was completely moved. Agnes said, “Even in my own house, it is also impossible to see so many of my brother’s items. I really would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the effort put in by the town folks and relatives.”  

Touring around the city and tasted Shunde’s appetizing dishes
===========================================
Nov. 23rd will be the opening of Shunde’s Bruce Lee Cultural Festival and it is reported that Shannon will be bringing her daughter to attend Bruce’s 70th Anniversary celebration in Shunde. Agnes came and left in a hurry. However, on the night of 14th, Agnes and her husband were accompanied by the town folks and relatives to Shunde’s new town district to taste the delicious foods of Phoenix city before boarding the ship back to HK. Agnes said she has a good impression of the hometown and will definitely return in the future if there are opportunities.


Lee's siblings photo: https://s24.postimg.org/p0kf00ybp/3814e ... 205_th.jpg

Bruce's autographed photo to Agnes: https://s29.postimg.org/xu7s4u31j/4100221476044460.jpg

Robert, Phoebe and Agnes: https://s28.postimg.org/aajjoxp5p/18ec8p9n.jpg

Agnes and husband, Bing Chan (in middle) touring BL's Memorial Museum in Shunde: https://s27.postimg.org/yij8xe6qr/W0201 ... 089181.jpg



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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

January 7th, 2017, 8:27 am #7

((Source: Yi Du (aka First Read) dated 26 April 2015, adapted from 2008 Guangdong newspaper))

1) Returned to Shunde during childhood days; favored double layered steamed milk
===========================================================
In 2008, the world largest Bruce Lee’s Memorial Museum was established in Jun’an Town at Shunde of Foshan, Guangdong. Bruce Lee’s eldest sister, Phoebe Lee who is residing in the U.S. now, was invited to the opening ceremony. In her speech at the dinner feast, Phoebe used a phase, “Family and filial piety comes first” to describe her impression on her brother, Bruce.


Bruce was the 4th child among the five siblings. Phoebe (Chau-Yuen) is the eldest, followed by Agnes (Chau-Fung), Peter (Chung-Sum), and the youngest is Robert (Jan-Fai). Their sibling’s relationship was very close and cordial. Phoebe watched Bruce grew up and attained his fame. Bruce’s father, Lee Hoi-Chuen (aka Lee Moon-Chuen) was one of the prominent Four Cantonese Opera Comedians. He bought the whole family back to Shunde’s ancestral house once. Phoebe still remembered clearly about the trip back to the hometown in Shunde. She said, “It was 1945, Bruce was five and I was eight. The whole family returned to Shunde (for about 2 weeks). Our mother, Grace Lee was with us. The little Chinese junk we took was very small and there’s only a small room in the junk. The current of Kum Chuk river (in Shunde) was very swift and rapid, thus, the little junk had to be towed or pulled by men when it’s moving against the current upstream.” Phoebe continued, “Bruce loved to eat Shunde’s famous doubled layered steamed milk (sort of milk pudding), and the bovine liver among the beef organs. At night, we all slept in the ancestral hall and because the children were afraid of darkness and ghost, so, all the siblings and our mother squeezed together in one bed and slept horizontally.


2) Kneeling & bowing from the funeral parlor’s doorstep to father’s coffin
======================================================
In the eyes of his eldest sister, Bruce though, was quite an impatient person but he had great ambition and perseverance. Phoebe said, “He was especially filial to our parents and he cared a lot about his family. In 1965, our father passed away in HK. Bruce rushed back from the U.S. (Note: he was the last sibling to return on day 6th of his father’s passing and it was just a day before the burial of his father). Upon reaching the Kowloon funeral parlor, he knelt down at the doorstep immediately and bowed his head against the floor while advancing towards our father’s coffin on his knees. (Note: Chinese tradition of showing filial piety) Among all our siblings, he was the only who did that traditional act. He was really upset and wept uncontrollably aloud in front of our father’s coffin.


While mourning sorrowfully, Bruce cried to our late father, “Pa, I’ve achieved success today! Why won’t you bother to take another look at me now?!” His true emotions really touched every relatives and friends in the mourning hall. Phoebe said, “Because back then, when Bruce dropped out from his university and pursued his martial arts career, our father was against this idea and did not support him. Bruce promised that he was going to let father see him realizing his goal and attain success. Unfortunately, father didn’t live to the day when Bruce became famous few years later. In Phoebe’s memory, Bruce always placed his family and filial piety in the first place. She remembered when he was still a kid making Cantonese films in HK, he would always give HK$50 to his elder sister or personally bought her jewelry items whenever he got his pay.


After Bruce went over to the U.S., he would always remit money to his parents and at the same time sent gifts, such as wallet, purse, decoration ornaments etc. to his sisters or brothers. Phoebe said that in Chinese traditional culture, filial piety is of very significant importance. It’s also a tradition of Lee’s family. According to the family’s record, Bruce’s grandfather was a mute but he was very kind-hearted. During a time where all were fleeing from calamity, it was Bruce’s grandmother who carried his grandfather on her back and fled for their lives. Bruce’s father, Lee Hoi Chuen was born in Shunde. At the age of 8, Lee Hoi Chuen already knew how to catch fishes in the river and then sold them in the market. All the money he earned would be given to his mother who would then return a portion back to his son. This good family’s traditional virtues greatly influenced Bruce.


When Phoebe attended the opening ceremony of the Bruce Lee’s Memorial Museum and saw the global influence of Bruce, she commented that she was very excited and almost speechless. She said that if her mother in the heaven, sees Bruce’s today achievement, she would be very, very happy.


Robert and Phoebe: 1) https://s29.postimg.org/ma31nkdrb/11004 ... 140071.jpg

2) https://s23.postimg.org/jckv7587v/1373376962_cd7f.jpg

3) https://s30.postimg.org/wjnjhg275/U2423 ... 104135.jpg
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

January 7th, 2017, 8:37 am #8

The following are excerpts of Phoebe Lee's radio interview on 20th July 2010. The interviewers were Tsao Chip and CF Fung. (Note: This is a Cantonese interview and some sentences are being rephrased to make it more comprehensible (without changing the meanings) to the English readers)


Q1: Did your family always live in Nathan Road?
Phoebe: In early 1941, when my parents, Lee Hoi Chuen and Grace Lee returned to HK from S.F. with infant Bruce who was just three months old, we all lived on the 2nd floor of a building located at No. 5, Mau Lam Street. Subsequently, we moved to a bigger house in Katherine Building situated at 2/F, 218 Nathan Road in late 1941. Our house was directly opposite of the famous Shum Lok restaurant. Katherine Building was kinda of a 4-storeys Western type building. Our family lived on the second floor.


Q2: Was Bruce the 4th child in the family?
Phoebe: Actually, our parents had an elder son (Lee Han-Kwang) which was born before me. However, this eldest brother of ours died prematurely as an infant. I then became the first child so to speak. Our family usually addressed the child’s nickname at home. My name is Chau Yuen, and I was nicknamed dai ngan aka big eyes. After me is Agnes (Chau Fung, nicknamed Fung B aka Phoenix B) followed by Peter (Chung Sam, nicknamed lun mou aka curly hair. He was born with nice curly hair but was straightened after he cut his hair when he grew up). The 4th child was Bruce (Jun Fan, nicknamed Sai Fung aka little phoenix) and the youngest was Robert (Jan Fai nicknamed kau jai aka little puppy, not because he was cute but because like Bruce, he fell sick often and was fragile. According to the Chinese, it was best to give a nickname to the child to protect him from sickness and misfortune). (Note: In between Bruce and Robert, Grace Lee gave birth to another baby girl (Chau Peng) but like the first child, she died prematurely.)


Q3: We knew that you have a big family in Nathan Road’s house. How many people were living in your house back then?
Phoebe: There were a total of about 17 people in the family, i.e. My parents -- Lee Hoi Chuen’s couple and their 5 children, 5th Aunt (Kwan Ngan – wife of Lee Moon Tim, the late elder brother of Lee Hoi Chuen) and her 5 children (Lee Chau-Kan, Lee Faat, Lee Chau-Yun, Frank Lee Fa-Tsi, Lee Chau Foon), Servant Wu’s couple and son Ngan Jai, driver – Ah Leung. I remembered 5th Aunt took care of little Robert while Chau-Yun (Yu Ming’s future wife) took care of little Agnes. Our eldest cousin, Chau-Kan, who was a lot older than me, took care of Bruce’s movies affairs. It was such a big family and the house would always crowd with many people especially from the entertainment circle since father was in this industry. In addition, we kept some pets with us which made the house even more crowdie.


Q4: Was Bruce a very naughty boy as claimed by many books and magazines?
Phoebe: He was actually quite a good boy but sometimes very playful and couldn’t sit still for a moment. I remembered our father would usually take the whole family to the Shum Lok restaurant every Sunday morning to Yum Cha (drink tea) and eat dim sum. Bruce was very active and would be moving around the whole place. Father adored the children and normally would order a big meat bun for Bruce to eat as he knew it was his favorite. Robert had yet been born, so, Bruce being the youngest, was adored by our parents.


Q5: We heard that Bruce dislike swimming? How true was that?
Phoebe: Before Robert was born, mother used to bring us, the children to Lai Yuen (aka Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park) for swimming. Mother would teach us how to swim. When it was turn for Sai Fung to swim, mother would grab his arms and Bruce would try to kick the water. But when mother released Sai Fung’s arms and tried to let him swim by himself, Sai Fung struggled in the water. After a few attempts, he still couldn’t learn how to swim and finally gave up. (Note: Another time, Phoebe pressed Bruce’s head into the water to punish him for his mischievous behavior. From then onwards, Bruce dislike swimming and kept himself away from the water.)


Q6: So, what other things was Bruce not afraid of?
Phoebe: Though young Bruce had a phobia towards water but he was very fond of pet dog and had one at home called Bobby. Bobby was a cute and lovely dog. Bruce had a close relationship with Bobby and whoever it sensed was not friendly to Bruce, Bobby would bark, chased and bite that person (laugh). Actually, our father, Lee Hoi Chuen liked to keep dogs too, especially great dane. This might have some influence on young Bruce.


Q7: Speaking about your father, Lee Hoi Chuen, we all knew that he was one of the famous 4 Cantonese Opera Comedians. Could you tell us whether you’ve seen him perform on stage before?
Phoebe: Of course, so did my whole family. I remembered as a kid, when father was performing opera on stage, mother would bring the children to watch his performance. We usually went to the backstage to look for father after the show. Father would then bring the whole family to the nearby restaurant to have supper and he would order many cha siu buns for the kids and we would finish them all.


Q8: Could you still remember where exactly did Mr. Lee Hoi Chuen perform?
Phoebe: Oh yes, in the mid 40s, before Robert was born, father used to perform Cantonese opera at Ko Shing Theatre which was located in Sheung Wan, HK Island. It was quite a distance from our house. Father had to take a walla-walla (a kind of motor boat) near Star Ferry Pier and sailed over to HK Island. After his performance, he would again take walla-walla back to Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. From there, he would then take a rickshaw home. Usually, the rickshaw would pass by Cherikoff (bakery), Chantecler (restaurant) and Lascar Row/Whitfield Barracks, which were the landmarks along the way to our house at Nathan Road.


Q9: Bruce used to rub his nose in his movies, was it a habit in his real life?
Phoebe: Actually, very few people outside our family knew that Bruce had allergic rhinitis since he was a child and it was also a common nose sensitive problem among our siblings. That’s why you see Bruce rubbed his nose with his thumb or forefinger sometimes not because he wanted to do it intentionally but because he had sensitive nose. (Note: People who were unaware of it thought that he was imitating the Western screen gangster’s gesture. However, it became one of his trademarks in his movies later on.)


Q10: Could you share with us the behind stories about those 2 big family photos (poster-size) exhibited in the opening ceremony of the movie, “Bruce Lee, My Brother”?
Phoebe: The first photo being Bruce and me eating ice-creams. Bruce dropped one of his 2 ice-cream scoops on the floor. He wanted to eat mine and I stopped him. So, he made a funny face at me and quickly used his tongue to lick the remaining scoop of his ice-cream. The expression as if was saying what a shame! The second photo is our family portrait which was taken on the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Bruce was 15 (circa 1956) then and looked very young and raw and you could see his new-grown moustache which he purposely kept to show that he was transforming from a boy to an adult.


Q11: Bruce and your father, Lee Hoi Chuen acted in quite a number of Cantonese movies. Were you and other siblings involved in the filming as well?
Phoebe: Well, to make a living, my father played in both Cantonese opera and movies as well. He would bring us to the studio to watch him worked sometimes. One day, Bruce was spotted by a director who persuaded my father to let him cast in a lead role in the movie, “Kid Cheung” (Sai Lou Cheung in Cantonese). Before that, Bruce already had cameo appearances in several films. So did his other siblings but among us, Bruce was more interested and gifted in acting.


Q12: Do you still remember the day when Bruce left for the U.S. in 1959? Where did he stay in the U.S.?
Phoebe: Definitely. In 1959, the whole family saw Bruce boarded the President Wilson passenger liner at the Ocean Terminal situated at Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Everyone in the family felt sad to see Bruce’s departure to the U.S. When Bruce arrived at S.F., he stayed at an uncle’s house. My father told me this uncle was his old friend by the name of Quan Gin Ho (aka Kwan Gin Hong), a former teacher whom he knew when he was touring in the U.S. with his Cantonese opera group. Quan once returned to HK and met up with father for a reunion. My father told him in future, maybe his son might go to America but was afraid he had no place to stay. Uncle Quan promised father if his son ever gone to America, he could stay at his house. This was why father contacted Uncle Quan earlier and arranged Bruce to stay with him upon his arrival in S.F. Uncle Quan was quite old then and Bruce stayed with him for 1 year (Note: Phoebe mistakenly said 1 year, which in fact was only several months) before moving to Seattle and stayed with a couple, Ping Chow and Ruby Chow, another two of father’s old friends (Note: Ping Chow was also a well-known Cantonese opera performer previously. He would later performed opera in Vancouver’s Chinatown for charity and invited Bruce and Eunice Lam to perform Cha Cha on stage. Bruce gave Gung Fu demos with his students as well, circa 1961) Bruce lived at the attic of the Ruby Chow’s Restaurant. While studying at Edison Technical School, he told me he also worked as a part-time busboy (waiter) in Ruby Chow’s Restaurant besides teaching Cha Cha and later Gung Fu so as to make some pocket money for himself. He didn’t want to rely on my parents’ financial support anymore after he left HK.


Q13: Did you guys miss Bruce when he was in the U.S.? How did your family maintain contact with him besides letter?
Phoebe: We sure missed him badly. I remembered we used to have distance call with him once in a blue moon at a kinda of phone booth that collected HK$48 for every 3 minutes of calling. Distance call was considered very expensive back then. Everyone in the family would prepare what to say beforehand and tried to talk to him as much as possible before time was up and the next family member in the queue took over. Father gave Bruce US$100 on the day he departed for the U.S. But when he returned to HK in 1963, he gave much more money back to father plus some gifts he bought in the U.S. Father who was a serious person most of the time and seldom smiled, did express his delightfulness by constantly flashing his grin in front of all of us. From here, we could tell that he was really happy to see Bruce being transformed into a better and matured person after staying few years abroad.


Q14: We understand that your mother Grace Lee (Ho Ooi-Yi) was half Chinese and half Caucasian. Her look was Eurasian. Was she very westernized in her behavior and thinking?
Phoebe: Not really. She was raised in an almost Chinese family though. She was Catholic and my father, a devoted Buddhist. But both loved each other and lived well together. They were married in HK not in the U.S. or Shanghai and I think the place where they got married was called City Hall. My father was more serious and traditional but my mother more easy-going and open-minded. I remembered father though was quite traditional yet he would occasionally bring the whole family to the Paramount Restaurant for meals. That was a high class Western restaurant. My mother actually was the daughter of Ho Kom-Tong (1866-1950) and the niece of Sir Robert Ho-Tung Bosman (1862-1956), both notable Hong Kong businessmen and philanthropists.


Q15: Sir Robert Ho-Tung Bosman was the richest and most influential HK businessmen back then. Have you ever seen or met him before? If yes, when and where did you see him?
Phoebe: I remembered one day after school, my mother brought me and Agnes together with her to Ho-Tung’s funeral (26 April 1956). While Ho-Tung was still alive, mother sometimes would bring me and other siblings including Bruce to Ho-Tung’s mansion, The Red House on Seymour Road. I was surprised to see Ho Tung who looked European dressed in a traditional Chinese clothing made of good fabric instead of the Western suit. He was very kind and affable to us. I had fond memories of his graciousness. Bruce was also there but he was very young then. I also remembered Ho Tung’s daughter Florence Ho (1915 – unknown), my mother’s cousin. She was a fair lady and also treated us very nice.


Q16: How about your distant relative, HK millionaire, M.W. Lo whose Palm villa was used as ETD’s location shooting? Did you contact with him and his family?
Phoebe: Our family did maintain contact with the Low’s family previously but not very often. That’s why Bruce knew them too and thus, able to convince M.W. Lo to lend his villa for movie shooting. You know, Bruce also once engaged Lo & Lo Lawyer as his legal representative in HK then since they were opened by our relatives and were more trustworthy in a sense.


Q17: Was your father’s best friend, Leung Sing-Bo? ((Note: Famous HK comedian. His daughter is Man Lan, Bruce’s good female friend. Both Leung and Man Lan played in Darling Girl (1957) and Bruce had a brief appearance dancing Cha Cha with her.))
Phoebe: Not really. Uncle Bo (Leung Sing-Bo) did not visit our house as often as the following two uncles. These two uncles in fact, had very good relationships with my father. The first being Yee Chau-Sui ((1904-1955; real name Yu King-Wing, lived at No.59, basement, Pok Fu Lam Road, HK Island). Note: Yee played opposite Lee Hoi-Chuen and Bruce in Kid Cheung (1950)) Another good friend of my father was Poon Yat-On (1904-1964, real name Lee Hong-On, lived at No.108, 4th floor, Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon). Poon, like my father, was also one of the 4 famous Cantonese Opera comedians. Both Yee and Poon were buddies of my father and they used to smoke opium together. When both of them passed away, father paid respect to them in their funerals personally. He was very upset of their untimely passing.


Q18: Your father, Lee Hoi Chuen passed away in 1965. Did he have any discomfort before his passing?
Phoebe: Actually, father tried to quit opium smoking twice, one before 1958 and one in 1958, where he was treated by Dr. Yeung Gin Wong, the husband of Fong Yim-Fen who was the leading female opera and movie actress in HK. After quitted smoking, father’s throat felt uncomfortable initially but generally, his health improved. A month before he passed away, his stomach as usual had some disorder but it wasn’t any big issue. Other than that, he looked fine. Father passed away peacefully during his sleep. His funeral took place at the Kowloon Parlor and his coffin was placed there for almost a week before burial and waiting for his children to come back to pay their last respect. Peter and Agnes were the first two of his children to return from overseas. Bruce was the last to arrive at the funeral…. (Note: Phoebe repeated this same story over her interviews. For details refer to the earlier article, “Sister, Phoebe Lee’s impression of Bruce Lee – “Both Family & Filial Piety Come First”)


Q19: Did your brother, Peter stay in HK after your father’s passing?
Phoebe: No, after father’s funeral, Peter returned to the U.S. because his girlfriend (Eunice Lam) was still studying in the U.S. Peter tried to keep her company. So, he worked at the astronomic observatory before returning to HK a year later. He then worked as a teacher in La Salle College and later joined the HK observatory. He worked his way up to hold a prominent position there for many years before his retirement.


Q20: Bruce passed away in 1973. Did you ever seen or talked to him just before his passing?
Phoebe: I remembered Bruce came back to the U.S. in June. He was in LA and I was in another city. He met up with mother and told her he would be bringing her to HK to enjoy a good life there. Before leaving for HK, Bruce called me up to see how’s thing was going on my side. At that time, I was working in the United Airline as an accountant for few years since I went to the U.S. in 1970. Bruce told me to resign my job and come back to HK. But I told him what else can I do besides my familiar accounting. He said then worked for him and helped him out with his accounts. He said don’t worry as he would take care of me. However, I told him I was coping well with my job and we should talk about it another time. Bruce did not force me to make any decision. He then flew back to HK…... A month later, I received a call to tell me my brother was dead..…. .(emotionally choked)


Family photos:

1) https://s27.postimg.org/xv2u406tf/35872 ... 3627_n.jpg

2) https://s29.postimg.org/7kkblyhyv/65976 ... 896390.jpg

3) https://s30.postimg.org/ibohl53oh/bruce ... mily_2.jpg

4) https://s23.postimg.org/qanqvkn2j/20097 ... 159457.jpg

5) https://s29.postimg.org/9opm6lxaf/20097 ... 885906.jpg

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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

January 7th, 2017, 8:49 am #9

Thank you for sharing your insights LJF ... I look forward to reading your translations on the articles on Agnes and Phoebe.

It is quite helpful that you list your reference sources.
The one source you mention that I am cautious about is from the Sid Campbell and Greglon Lee book series Dragon and Tiger the Oakland years.

I recollect promotional samples being sent out to (martial art) publishers around the mid 1980s. Black Belt magazine (USA) basically took the section relevant to Bruce and published it in multiple parts in the magazine ... "Bruce Lee The Oakland Years".

In the early 1990s Dragon the Bruce Lee Story got released with a big publicity push from Hollywood. This would have been very encouraging for any parties that had a Bruce Lee sequel to sell. Sid Campbell was a script writer.

Initially, I was hoping that the book would be a compilation of historical facts sourced from correspondence, diary entries, eye-witness recollections etc. from James Lee's family, friends and students.

It appears to me though, that authentic, original ingredients have been speculated on, embroidered and then over the years had reliable information (Jesse Glover's book) and questionable information (The 1959 New York trip to Gin Foon Mark story from Karate International) from other sources added to it. The result is, unfortunately an unreliable and questionable reference source.
It’s normal that different people have different perspectives. For ‘Dragon & Tiger’ book, I agreed with you that it would be better if it is “a compilation of historical facts sourced from correspondence, diary entries, eye-witness recollections etc. from James Lee's family, friends and students”as you stated instead of writing it like a script.

In this book, there are some questionable sources like you mention about Bruce ’59 trip to NY and his learning of Gung Fu from Gin Foon Mark. There are however, some good sources as well, like Bruce was indeed picked up by Guan Jin Ho at SF pier and stayed in his house for several months. This has been verified by Bruce’s family. However, other sources outside this book, if I’m not wrong, someone mentioned Jesse Glover claimed Bruce was picked up by Fook Young and stayed in his house. This is incorrect as Bruce only met Fook Yeung when he went to Seattle not in SF. They might or might have not stayed together for a time when Bruce was working as a busboy and Fook Yeung a cook in Ruby Chow’s restaurant in the early 60s. Moreover, the detailed mentioning of the Kwong Sai Chok Lam Temple Praying Mantis skills and the ways of practicing is a credible source of info. So credits still need to be given to this book.

Readers may need to research to verify some of the info as stated in the book. I’ve tried to sort out the doubts as to whether Lee Hoi Chuen went to NY in June 1959. I asked Robert Lee before but he was too young to remember this. Phoebe Lee did not have any impression either. But according to the HK Commercial Press newspaper on 17th June 1959 papers, Chun Siu-Lei, HK famous Cantonese Opera actress and also Lee Hoi Chuen’s friend from both Cantonese Opera and movie, led the HK Arts Representative Troupe and flew to S.F. on 17th June 1959. The troupe landed in Chicargo on 19th to prepare for the 2nd Jul World Trade Fair opening ceremony and the performing of the Cantonese opera there for 2 weeks. Chun’s 4 big luggage that contained her opera clothing had already been shipped to the U.S. by American President Wilson Passenger Liner on 13th June and was expected to reach Chicago by 30th. After this, she would continue her Opera performance in Oakland, NY, SF and Hawaii etc. for about 3 months.

In 1959, Lee Hoi Chuen’s health was better than before because he had quitted smoking opium, and did Tai Chi exercise consistently as well as busy filming and performing on stage. According to the paper reports and film records, he only retired by 1961 or 62. Hence, there is a possibility Lee Hoi Chuen might have travelled with the troupe to NY.

However, even he didn’t, Bruce learning of the Kwong Sai Chok Lam Temple Praying Mantis skills in NY is a fact. According to Tony To Wai-Tung, he spoke to Bruce in mid 1972 and Bruce personally confirm about this. As to whether he learnt it from Master Gin Foon Mark or other NY mantis masters and the exact date of the learning, Tony To did not specify. So, further research did to be carried out on this.

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Joined: May 6th, 2016, 3:35 am

January 7th, 2017, 2:13 pm #10

The following are excerpts of Phoebe Lee's radio interview on 20th July 2010. The interviewers were Tsao Chip and CF Fung. (Note: This is a Cantonese interview and some sentences are being rephrased to make it more comprehensible (without changing the meanings) to the English readers)


Q1: Did your family always live in Nathan Road?
Phoebe: In early 1941, when my parents, Lee Hoi Chuen and Grace Lee returned to HK from S.F. with infant Bruce who was just three months old, we all lived on the 2nd floor of a building located at No. 5, Mau Lam Street. Subsequently, we moved to a bigger house in Katherine Building situated at 2/F, 218 Nathan Road in late 1941. Our house was directly opposite of the famous Shum Lok restaurant. Katherine Building was kinda of a 4-storeys Western type building. Our family lived on the second floor.


Q2: Was Bruce the 4th child in the family?
Phoebe: Actually, our parents had an elder son (Lee Han-Kwang) which was born before me. However, this eldest brother of ours died prematurely as an infant. I then became the first child so to speak. Our family usually addressed the child’s nickname at home. My name is Chau Yuen, and I was nicknamed dai ngan aka big eyes. After me is Agnes (Chau Fung, nicknamed Fung B aka Phoenix B) followed by Peter (Chung Sam, nicknamed lun mou aka curly hair. He was born with nice curly hair but was straightened after he cut his hair when he grew up). The 4th child was Bruce (Jun Fan, nicknamed Sai Fung aka little phoenix) and the youngest was Robert (Jan Fai nicknamed kau jai aka little puppy, not because he was cute but because like Bruce, he fell sick often and was fragile. According to the Chinese, it was best to give a nickname to the child to protect him from sickness and misfortune). (Note: In between Bruce and Robert, Grace Lee gave birth to another baby girl (Chau Peng) but like the first child, she died prematurely.)


Q3: We knew that you have a big family in Nathan Road’s house. How many people were living in your house back then?
Phoebe: There were a total of about 17 people in the family, i.e. My parents -- Lee Hoi Chuen’s couple and their 5 children, 5th Aunt (Kwan Ngan – wife of Lee Moon Tim, the late elder brother of Lee Hoi Chuen) and her 5 children (Lee Chau-Kan, Lee Faat, Lee Chau-Yun, Frank Lee Fa-Tsi, Lee Chau Foon), Servant Wu’s couple and son Ngan Jai, driver – Ah Leung. I remembered 5th Aunt took care of little Robert while Chau-Yun (Yu Ming’s future wife) took care of little Agnes. Our eldest cousin, Chau-Kan, who was a lot older than me, took care of Bruce’s movies affairs. It was such a big family and the house would always crowd with many people especially from the entertainment circle since father was in this industry. In addition, we kept some pets with us which made the house even more crowdie.


Q4: Was Bruce a very naughty boy as claimed by many books and magazines?
Phoebe: He was actually quite a good boy but sometimes very playful and couldn’t sit still for a moment. I remembered our father would usually take the whole family to the Shum Lok restaurant every Sunday morning to Yum Cha (drink tea) and eat dim sum. Bruce was very active and would be moving around the whole place. Father adored the children and normally would order a big meat bun for Bruce to eat as he knew it was his favorite. Robert had yet been born, so, Bruce being the youngest, was adored by our parents.


Q5: We heard that Bruce dislike swimming? How true was that?
Phoebe: Before Robert was born, mother used to bring us, the children to Lai Yuen (aka Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park) for swimming. Mother would teach us how to swim. When it was turn for Sai Fung to swim, mother would grab his arms and Bruce would try to kick the water. But when mother released Sai Fung’s arms and tried to let him swim by himself, Sai Fung struggled in the water. After a few attempts, he still couldn’t learn how to swim and finally gave up. (Note: Another time, Phoebe pressed Bruce’s head into the water to punish him for his mischievous behavior. From then onwards, Bruce dislike swimming and kept himself away from the water.)


Q6: So, what other things was Bruce not afraid of?
Phoebe: Though young Bruce had a phobia towards water but he was very fond of pet dog and had one at home called Bobby. Bobby was a cute and lovely dog. Bruce had a close relationship with Bobby and whoever it sensed was not friendly to Bruce, Bobby would bark, chased and bite that person (laugh). Actually, our father, Lee Hoi Chuen liked to keep dogs too, especially great dane. This might have some influence on young Bruce.


Q7: Speaking about your father, Lee Hoi Chuen, we all knew that he was one of the famous 4 Cantonese Opera Comedians. Could you tell us whether you’ve seen him perform on stage before?
Phoebe: Of course, so did my whole family. I remembered as a kid, when father was performing opera on stage, mother would bring the children to watch his performance. We usually went to the backstage to look for father after the show. Father would then bring the whole family to the nearby restaurant to have supper and he would order many cha siu buns for the kids and we would finish them all.


Q8: Could you still remember where exactly did Mr. Lee Hoi Chuen perform?
Phoebe: Oh yes, in the mid 40s, before Robert was born, father used to perform Cantonese opera at Ko Shing Theatre which was located in Sheung Wan, HK Island. It was quite a distance from our house. Father had to take a walla-walla (a kind of motor boat) near Star Ferry Pier and sailed over to HK Island. After his performance, he would again take walla-walla back to Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. From there, he would then take a rickshaw home. Usually, the rickshaw would pass by Cherikoff (bakery), Chantecler (restaurant) and Lascar Row/Whitfield Barracks, which were the landmarks along the way to our house at Nathan Road.


Q9: Bruce used to rub his nose in his movies, was it a habit in his real life?
Phoebe: Actually, very few people outside our family knew that Bruce had allergic rhinitis since he was a child and it was also a common nose sensitive problem among our siblings. That’s why you see Bruce rubbed his nose with his thumb or forefinger sometimes not because he wanted to do it intentionally but because he had sensitive nose. (Note: People who were unaware of it thought that he was imitating the Western screen gangster’s gesture. However, it became one of his trademarks in his movies later on.)


Q10: Could you share with us the behind stories about those 2 big family photos (poster-size) exhibited in the opening ceremony of the movie, “Bruce Lee, My Brother”?
Phoebe: The first photo being Bruce and me eating ice-creams. Bruce dropped one of his 2 ice-cream scoops on the floor. He wanted to eat mine and I stopped him. So, he made a funny face at me and quickly used his tongue to lick the remaining scoop of his ice-cream. The expression as if was saying what a shame! The second photo is our family portrait which was taken on the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Bruce was 15 (circa 1956) then and looked very young and raw and you could see his new-grown moustache which he purposely kept to show that he was transforming from a boy to an adult.


Q11: Bruce and your father, Lee Hoi Chuen acted in quite a number of Cantonese movies. Were you and other siblings involved in the filming as well?
Phoebe: Well, to make a living, my father played in both Cantonese opera and movies as well. He would bring us to the studio to watch him worked sometimes. One day, Bruce was spotted by a director who persuaded my father to let him cast in a lead role in the movie, “Kid Cheung” (Sai Lou Cheung in Cantonese). Before that, Bruce already had cameo appearances in several films. So did his other siblings but among us, Bruce was more interested and gifted in acting.


Q12: Do you still remember the day when Bruce left for the U.S. in 1959? Where did he stay in the U.S.?
Phoebe: Definitely. In 1959, the whole family saw Bruce boarded the President Wilson passenger liner at the Ocean Terminal situated at Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Everyone in the family felt sad to see Bruce’s departure to the U.S. When Bruce arrived at S.F., he stayed at an uncle’s house. My father told me this uncle was his old friend by the name of Quan Gin Ho (aka Kwan Gin Hong), a former teacher whom he knew when he was touring in the U.S. with his Cantonese opera group. Quan once returned to HK and met up with father for a reunion. My father told him in future, maybe his son might go to America but was afraid he had no place to stay. Uncle Quan promised father if his son ever gone to America, he could stay at his house. This was why father contacted Uncle Quan earlier and arranged Bruce to stay with him upon his arrival in S.F. Uncle Quan was quite old then and Bruce stayed with him for 1 year (Note: Phoebe mistakenly said 1 year, which in fact was only several months) before moving to Seattle and stayed with a couple, Ping Chow and Ruby Chow, another two of father’s old friends (Note: Ping Chow was also a well-known Cantonese opera performer previously. He would later performed opera in Vancouver’s Chinatown for charity and invited Bruce and Eunice Lam to perform Cha Cha on stage. Bruce gave Gung Fu demos with his students as well, circa 1961) Bruce lived at the attic of the Ruby Chow’s Restaurant. While studying at Edison Technical School, he told me he also worked as a part-time busboy (waiter) in Ruby Chow’s Restaurant besides teaching Cha Cha and later Gung Fu so as to make some pocket money for himself. He didn’t want to rely on my parents’ financial support anymore after he left HK.


Q13: Did you guys miss Bruce when he was in the U.S.? How did your family maintain contact with him besides letter?
Phoebe: We sure missed him badly. I remembered we used to have distance call with him once in a blue moon at a kinda of phone booth that collected HK$48 for every 3 minutes of calling. Distance call was considered very expensive back then. Everyone in the family would prepare what to say beforehand and tried to talk to him as much as possible before time was up and the next family member in the queue took over. Father gave Bruce US$100 on the day he departed for the U.S. But when he returned to HK in 1963, he gave much more money back to father plus some gifts he bought in the U.S. Father who was a serious person most of the time and seldom smiled, did express his delightfulness by constantly flashing his grin in front of all of us. From here, we could tell that he was really happy to see Bruce being transformed into a better and matured person after staying few years abroad.


Q14: We understand that your mother Grace Lee (Ho Ooi-Yi) was half Chinese and half Caucasian. Her look was Eurasian. Was she very westernized in her behavior and thinking?
Phoebe: Not really. She was raised in an almost Chinese family though. She was Catholic and my father, a devoted Buddhist. But both loved each other and lived well together. They were married in HK not in the U.S. or Shanghai and I think the place where they got married was called City Hall. My father was more serious and traditional but my mother more easy-going and open-minded. I remembered father though was quite traditional yet he would occasionally bring the whole family to the Paramount Restaurant for meals. That was a high class Western restaurant. My mother actually was the daughter of Ho Kom-Tong (1866-1950) and the niece of Sir Robert Ho-Tung Bosman (1862-1956), both notable Hong Kong businessmen and philanthropists.


Q15: Sir Robert Ho-Tung Bosman was the richest and most influential HK businessmen back then. Have you ever seen or met him before? If yes, when and where did you see him?
Phoebe: I remembered one day after school, my mother brought me and Agnes together with her to Ho-Tung’s funeral (26 April 1956). While Ho-Tung was still alive, mother sometimes would bring me and other siblings including Bruce to Ho-Tung’s mansion, The Red House on Seymour Road. I was surprised to see Ho Tung who looked European dressed in a traditional Chinese clothing made of good fabric instead of the Western suit. He was very kind and affable to us. I had fond memories of his graciousness. Bruce was also there but he was very young then. I also remembered Ho Tung’s daughter Florence Ho (1915 – unknown), my mother’s cousin. She was a fair lady and also treated us very nice.


Q16: How about your distant relative, HK millionaire, M.W. Lo whose Palm villa was used as ETD’s location shooting? Did you contact with him and his family?
Phoebe: Our family did maintain contact with the Low’s family previously but not very often. That’s why Bruce knew them too and thus, able to convince M.W. Lo to lend his villa for movie shooting. You know, Bruce also once engaged Lo & Lo Lawyer as his legal representative in HK then since they were opened by our relatives and were more trustworthy in a sense.


Q17: Was your father’s best friend, Leung Sing-Bo? ((Note: Famous HK comedian. His daughter is Man Lan, Bruce’s good female friend. Both Leung and Man Lan played in Darling Girl (1957) and Bruce had a brief appearance dancing Cha Cha with her.))
Phoebe: Not really. Uncle Bo (Leung Sing-Bo) did not visit our house as often as the following two uncles. These two uncles in fact, had very good relationships with my father. The first being Yee Chau-Sui ((1904-1955; real name Yu King-Wing, lived at No.59, basement, Pok Fu Lam Road, HK Island). Note: Yee played opposite Lee Hoi-Chuen and Bruce in Kid Cheung (1950)) Another good friend of my father was Poon Yat-On (1904-1964, real name Lee Hong-On, lived at No.108, 4th floor, Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon). Poon, like my father, was also one of the 4 famous Cantonese Opera comedians. Both Yee and Poon were buddies of my father and they used to smoke opium together. When both of them passed away, father paid respect to them in their funerals personally. He was very upset of their untimely passing.


Q18: Your father, Lee Hoi Chuen passed away in 1965. Did he have any discomfort before his passing?
Phoebe: Actually, father tried to quit opium smoking twice, one before 1958 and one in 1958, where he was treated by Dr. Yeung Gin Wong, the husband of Fong Yim-Fen who was the leading female opera and movie actress in HK. After quitted smoking, father’s throat felt uncomfortable initially but generally, his health improved. A month before he passed away, his stomach as usual had some disorder but it wasn’t any big issue. Other than that, he looked fine. Father passed away peacefully during his sleep. His funeral took place at the Kowloon Parlor and his coffin was placed there for almost a week before burial and waiting for his children to come back to pay their last respect. Peter and Agnes were the first two of his children to return from overseas. Bruce was the last to arrive at the funeral…. (Note: Phoebe repeated this same story over her interviews. For details refer to the earlier article, “Sister, Phoebe Lee’s impression of Bruce Lee – “Both Family & Filial Piety Come First”)


Q19: Did your brother, Peter stay in HK after your father’s passing?
Phoebe: No, after father’s funeral, Peter returned to the U.S. because his girlfriend (Eunice Lam) was still studying in the U.S. Peter tried to keep her company. So, he worked at the astronomic observatory before returning to HK a year later. He then worked as a teacher in La Salle College and later joined the HK observatory. He worked his way up to hold a prominent position there for many years before his retirement.


Q20: Bruce passed away in 1973. Did you ever seen or talked to him just before his passing?
Phoebe: I remembered Bruce came back to the U.S. in June. He was in LA and I was in another city. He met up with mother and told her he would be bringing her to HK to enjoy a good life there. Before leaving for HK, Bruce called me up to see how’s thing was going on my side. At that time, I was working in the United Airline as an accountant for few years since I went to the U.S. in 1970. Bruce told me to resign my job and come back to HK. But I told him what else can I do besides my familiar accounting. He said then worked for him and helped him out with his accounts. He said don’t worry as he would take care of me. However, I told him I was coping well with my job and we should talk about it another time. Bruce did not force me to make any decision. He then flew back to HK…... A month later, I received a call to tell me my brother was dead..…. .(emotionally choked)


Family photos:

1) https://s27.postimg.org/xv2u406tf/35872 ... 3627_n.jpg

2) https://s29.postimg.org/7kkblyhyv/65976 ... 896390.jpg

3) https://s30.postimg.org/ibohl53oh/bruce ... mily_2.jpg

4) https://s23.postimg.org/qanqvkn2j/20097 ... 159457.jpg

5) https://s29.postimg.org/9opm6lxaf/20097 ... 885906.jpg
Quite touching at the end. Some rare info about Bruce's family too.
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