Bruce Lee statue set to “rival Statue of Liberty’’

Such is the legend of martial artist Bruce Lee that his faithful followers now have plans for a 30-metre high statue of the man they claim will rival New York's famous Statue of Liberty monument.

What's more, they want to take their creation on a 10-year global tour to help celebrate the life and times of Lee, who is credited with taking Chinese martial arts to the world through a film career that was cut short by his death at the age of just 32 in 1973.

News of the plans has come to light during the Foshan Week currently being held at the World Expo in Shanghai (http://en.expo2010.cn).

Foshan, in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, promotes itself as the home of kung fu and has on display in Shanghai this week 100 smaller statue of Lee balancing some of the world's most recognizable structures - such as the Arc de Triomphe - on his outstretched feet.

But the massive sculpture artist Shu Yong plans will not be completed for another year and will apparently feature Lee in full flight, using eight legs to make it appear as though the statue is kicking.

"We hope it can compete with the Statue of Liberty. But our sculpture, The Kungfu God of 1,000 Legs, is meant to symbolize Chinese wisdom, creativity and health," he told mainland Chinese media. "We are taking it to the Guggenheim Museum [in New York] next year as part of a grand world tour."

Lee was born in San Francisco and raised in Hong Kong but his ancestry can be traced to Foshan, hence the city has been keen to claim him as its own.

Lee's name has once again been in the headlines this past month as the "on-again, off-again" saga of the fate of his former home in Hong Kong continues to drag on.

The actor's former residence in Kowloon Tong - used during the time he sprung to international fame thanks to films such as Big Boss and Fist of Fury - was up until recently being used a short-stay love motel but its owner bent to public pressure and offered the place to the government if it was be used as a museum honoring Lee.

But the Yu Panglin - known as "China's most generous billionaire" due to his generosity - and the Hong Kong government have now been bickering for more than two years on how the project might proceed.

And Lee's only remaining child - Shannon Lee - fears time may be running out as the 88-year-old Yu's health deteriorates.

"I do not know what will happen if a resolution cannot be found," Shannon Lee told the "South China Morning Post.". "It is possible that the project will have to be scrapped, which would be such a shame."

MS

 

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