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July 21, 2009

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Love motel to be Bruce Lee tribute

THE former home of Bruce Lee is now a love motel, renting rooms by the hour. But officials yesterday launched a design competition to turn it into a Hong Kong museum for the kung fu icon.

"I hope I can personally witness and oversee the completion of the Bruce Lee museum in my lifetime," owner Yu Pang-lin, who is in his 80s, said at a press conference marking the 36th anniversary of Lee's death.

Lee's fans have been calling for an official monument to their hero in his hometown for years.

Lee became a source of Chinese pride by portraying characters that defended the Chinese and the working class from oppressors in films such as "Return of the Dragon."

He died in Hong Kong in 1973 at the age of 32 from swelling of the brain.

Yu said he wants the museum to include a memorial hall, a library, a kung fu studio and a film archive.

Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, and a panel of architects and town planners will judge the design competition, and the winners will be announced in November or December, the Hong Kong government said.

Yu has offered to donate Lee's home and put up the HK$100,000 (US$13,000) prize money, but it is unclear how the museum itself will be funded.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government has begun to collect personal items that belonged to the kung fu star and has commissioned a documentary about the late actor and another about the construction of the museum.


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