Plans to convert Bruce Lee’s former Hong Kong home into a museum devoted to the martial arts master have fallen apart.
The house was being used as an hourly love motel until 2008, when talks began to establish a sort of Graceland for the 70s film star on the property. But Lee was more than a fighter or a movie star, he was a cultural icon. He was a manifestation of power for many Asian Americans who often didn’t – and still don’t – see representations of themselves in the media.
Some fans of the late martial artist are blaming the residence’s current owner, Yu Pang-lin, for the foiled plans. They believe that his conditions for donating the house (that it be equipped with a library, movie theater and martial arts training center) were an elaborate way of saying “I changed my mind; you can’t have it,” knowing that his demands weren’t reasonable. Yu is pointing his finger at the Town Planning Board, who rejected his required construction updates to accommodate the rest of the neighborhood’s low-rise skyline.
While it’s inevitable that a Bruce Lee museum will exist somewhere someday, the home looks like a no-go for the time being. If you just can’t deal with that kind of uncertain waiting, in July of 2013, the Hong Kong Heritage museum will display some of the items that were planned for the home location during a commemorative exhibition in honor of the 40th anniversary of Lee’s death.