By Kirara Kamo
Northwest Asian Weekly
“He had many different interests, pursued them in a humble way, and succeeded in everything,” Sheenie Yip, a marketing intern at Wing Luke Museum, said about Bruce Lee.
Yip, a college student, is in charge of press releases, social media, and creating content on Facebook for Wing Luke. The internship aligned with her interests and majors. She is studying media studies and East Asian studies.
As she dived into this internship, Yip learned that she and Bruce Lee shared some things in common.
For example, they are both from Hong Kong. They both have a strong desire to identify as being Asian American and they care about Asian representation in the media. Yip became more “into him” through the museum’s exhibit and realizing his many different contributions beyond his martial arts.
“He is one of the few Asians who influenced the U.S. media industry. His wave was incredibly influential.” She emphasized how Lee broke the racial barriers in the U.S. film industry. At the time when there were no Asians playing major roles in American films, Lee broke the mold by being himself and rejecting Asian stereotypes. Then there’s his personality. “[Bruce] had a sense of confidence, and he was very humble.” Yip said she was influenced by the way he lived and approached goals, and the fact that he wasn’t egotistical. “Bruce Lee is not just about kung fu. He was a Cha-Cha dance champion, a poet, and had many other passions.” Yip also emphasized how Lee’s passions enriched his outlook on life. “His impact is still alive and will last forever.”
Yip didn’t always embrace her Chinese-ness. As a child, she tried to forget Cantonese and anything to do with her heritage. However, after joining YouthCAN (Wing Luke Museum’s award-winning arts and leadership program for youth) to find community outside of her predominantly white high school, Yip said the positive experience prompted her to go back and find the “Asian part” of herself. Now, she can’t get enough of Asian American politics and history.
The Do You Know Bruce? exhibition at Wing Luke is part 2 in a three-part series on Bruce Lee’s life. It closes on Sep. 4. The exhibit focuses on Lee’s impact in the media and film industry, how he defied stereotypes, broke barriers, and transformed media perceptions by playing roles of real people rather than of Chinese male caricatures.
The exhibit also features Lee’s famous one-inch punch. Visitors can test and measure the G-force of their own one-inch punches. Part 3 of its series, “Day in the Life of Bruce Lee” is coming out on Oct. 1.
This installment takes a more personal look at Bruce Lee, with information gathered from his family and friends about his personal routines and habits.
Kirara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.