Museum muddle a blow to Lee's fans
Most kung fu movies may be trite, but the man who made the genre a worldwide phenomenon is timeless. Bruce Lee remains the one truly great international star Hong Kong has produced. A museum dedicated to his life and career should be a no-brainer. Yet, 38 years after his death, all the city has to show for his achievements is a mediocre statue on Tsim Sha Tsui's Avenue of Stars.
Philanthropist Yu Panglin made a good-faith donation of his property in Kowloon Tong, Lee's one-time residence. But his offer came with too many conditions. So, after two years of negotiations with the government the project reached a dead end and has been quietly shelved. An alternative is to dedicate a section of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin to commemorate Lee. But compared with using the star's old home the impact would not be the same.
Preparations have already been made for a Bruce Lee museum. Officials produced a documentary on his life and exhibits have been collected on the assumption the Kowloon Tong residence would be used.
Perhaps Yu could consider relaxing his conditions, which involve building new floors and expanding a basement to provide for a cinema, library and a martial arts training centre. They are very good ideas, but there are restrictions which have to be observed.
Yu blamed the Town Planning Board, but it seems it was the decision of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau to drop the project. However, it may still be possible to resume negotiations if both sides soften their conditions.
A Bruce Lee museum would not only be a mecca for fans from around the globe, it would also help to make the area even more vibrant.