Saturday, 24 January 2015

Lee Hoi Chuen's Grave, Cheung Sha Wan

Lee Hoi Chuen was not just famous (in HK, at least) for being a Cantonese opera and movie actor, he also gained significant fame in later life (well, perhaps posthumously...) because he was the father of Bruce Lee. 


I was told about his final resting place several years ago, but had put it on the back burner for the fact that trying to find a grave in a Hong Kong cemetery is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It wasn't until I moved to Kowloon, in the vicinity of St Raphael's Catholic Cemetery, that the Lee grave came back on the radar - largely because I was beginning to pass the place on a fairly regular basis on the bus or in a taxi. Also, it's almost exactly 50 years to the day since he died (7th Feb 1965) so I thought perhaps this was a good time to post.

Finding specific graves in HK is hard enough even when you have approximate locations, many of the big cemeteries here have thousands upon thousands of graves lined on terrace after terrace (HK doesn't have flat cemeteries - I assume due to the lack of practical space but also because of 'fung shui' considerations), but luckily for me I was given the section and terrace number by a friend who had visited very recently.

The cemetery itself is located at the very far end of Cheung Sha Wan. I say Cheung Sha Wan, but if you wish to get here by MTR then you need to get on the red Tsuen Wan <-> Central line and alight at Lai Chi Kok station exit B1. Lai Chi Kok station is a tiny bit closer.


Head north (i.e. turn left) up Tai Nan West St and at the junction with Wing Hong St you must turn right and walk until you get to the cooked food centre on the corner of Yu Chau West St. Turn left and immediate right again onto Wing Ming St. Straight up the road you will be able to see the Caritas Hospital (Ming Oi Yi Yuen - sadly a place I am all too familiar with courtesy of a very nasty broken toe last year). Here's the view from the bottom of the road.

Wing Ming St
Just on the left past the buildings is a small cluster of greenery which marks the turning into the cemetery underpass that takes you underneath Ching Cheung Road and into the cemetery grounds. It's actually signposted as below, so you can't miss it.

Fan Cheung...墳場

Nonchalantly walk past the gate guard and head all the way up the road to section 4. It's all the way at the back at the end of the driveway but you'll still need to keep your eyes open for the stone section markers so you don't wander too far.


Lee's grave is situated on terrace III of section 4. The picture below shows a view looking up towards the terrace from the bottom of the steps. Note that it does have a sign that says "4 III".


Can you see the rather lush fir tree behind the railings? Well, the grave you seek is next to the tree, but in case you still need guidance you can look for the grave number 8220. The number is on Mr Lee's grave picture (the one at the top of this post) and it is also on the stone incense holder at the base of the grave.


It's a fairly nondescript grave for someone who was reasonably wealthy and quite famous and looks like it is looked after quite well - the engraved characters look newly painted but I'm not sure if there are any family members left in HK to look after it. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, this grave is coming up to 50 years old.

I was lucky and visited this place on a rather fine day - perhaps a tad too warm - but as you can see, the vantage point gives a pretty good view out over Kowloon. Most of those high-rises are relatively recent additions and back in 1965 (and probably into the 80's) the view would have been very open.


The view up to the next terrace.
As in life, HKer's stacked one on top of each other.

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