Bruce Lee

Childhood days with 'Big Brother' Bruce Lee

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 June, 2012, 12:00am


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Robert Wang Wei-han may have rubbed shoulders with some of Hong Kong's most powerful tycoons for years, but none of them was as famous as the man with whom he went to school - Bruce Lee.

The movie star, four years older than Wang, was a loner who did not mix with the other pupils at La Salle College, which was then located at Perth Street, Ho Man Tin.

'There was something extraordinary about him that marked him out from the others,' Wang said. 'He carried himself as if he was superior to others. But he was not popular and lived in his own world of martial arts.'

Lee was born in the United States into a showbiz family, which gave him a better command of English than the other boys, and he already considered himself a star after appearing as a child actor in local films. Wang remembers him as being temperamental. All the 16-year-old Lee wanted to do was to practise his fighting skills, and most of the time it was on the other pupils.

'He was always on the prowl, looking for trouble. He was very unpleasant. Everyone was afraid of him,' Wang said. 'He had a reputation as a troublemaker and was involved in so many fights that he was summoned to see the principal frequently and earned himself many disciplinary warnings. He was eventually kicked out of the school.'

Before this though, Wang and Lee competed on the school boxing team together. Wang idolised him as a boxer because he was so good and freely admits to 'sucking up to him' and calling him 'Big Brother' because he was older. He went out of his way to befriend him and in return Lee called him 'Kid'.

Even after Lee was expelled from the school and returned to the US, Wang was destined to meet him one more time. It was 1972 and Lee was standing on the concourse of the Star Ferry terminal beside a large billboard advertising his new film Way of the Dragon. Wang was on his way to work and called out: 'Hi, Big Brother, you're now big in the movie world!'

'Hi, Kid,' Lee replied. 'Just stand here by my side.' Lee didn't take the conversation with him further and just wanted to give Wang his 15 minutes of fame. 'I shared in his glory as passers-by gasped in astonishment', snapping pictures, Wang said.