The Buzz: Who is This Ip Man?

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sig-fionamaWho is this Ip Man? People are talking about the Grandmaster yet again…partly because the insular Bruce Lee family tightly controls Lee’s image and public use, yet there’s still lots of interest in Asian history and kung fu that excites people. Currently playing in theaters, The Grandmaster is the latest by filmmaker Wong Kar-wai and stars Tony Leung playing the Grandmaster legend from the 1930s during his flight to Hong Kong after the Second Sino-Japanese War up until his death at the age of 79. This must-see is “poetic, heartwarming, sad and inspiring,” according to my friend Maria. Yip Kai-man (aka Yip Man or Ip Man) was born in 1893 in Guangdong, China to a wealthy family. He started to learn the martial arts style of “Wing Chun” at the age of 13 and became a policeman at age 24 and continued to teach Wing Chun to other notable students over the course of his life, the most famous (to Westerners ) being Bruce Lee. Back in 2008, the first Ip Man film was released in Hong Kong by another movie group and directed by Wilson Yip, and starring Donnie Yen (as the Ip Man) with martial arts choreography by Sammo Hung and given the full blessings of Ip’s sons who also served as consultants on the film. The film met with commercial success and led to the same group producing Ip Man 2 in 2010 centering on the Ip Man’s migration to Hong Kong in 1949 and features a cameo of the young Bruce Lee, at 13 who gets into one too many street fights and wants to study martial arts in order to “beat up people he doesn’t like.” Ip Man tells the young boy to come back when he’s older….leading to Ip Man 3 which seems to be in limbo as Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen have parted ways with Producer Raymond Wong. As Bruce Lee said “if you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

China’s No 1 Daughter: My parents and I were once again rooting for China’s darling Li Na at last week’s US Open tennis tournament but she was unfortunately overpowered by the No. 1 ranked Serena Williams. The No. 5 ranked Li Na didn’t go home empty handed however as she was awarded the US Open’s 2nd annual Sportsmanship Award for being a positive role model both on and off the court. Li Na was born in Wuhan, China to a professional badminton player father. She started playing badminton at age 6 and switched to tennis at age 8 and joined China’s National Tennis Team in 1997. She turned Pro at the age of 16 and won her first four singles tournaments and her first seven double tournaments. At age 29, she finally hit the $1 Million (plus) jackpot when she won the coveted 2011 French Open Singles title, making her Asia’s first and only Grand Slam singles champion ever. It hasn’t always been easy for Li Na but she is a true fighter and China’s pride and joy along side of Yao Ming. “I like that she’s easy going, and says what she has on her mind; no pretenses,” says my Dad. Wishing her better luck next year!

Erin Tjoe

Going Green! Erin Tjoe is affable, inspirational, talented, beautiful and intelligent: she understands the value of being both in front of the camera and behind it as a producer in numerous projects. Born and raised in Castro Valley, California to a Chinese Indonesian father and mother from Canton, China, Tjoe loved performing before live audiences as early as 5 years old. She is an actress, on-air host, comedian and model with many real life experiences that she shares with her audience. Tjoe is the producer of Green Travel Destination and will be the show’s On Air Host as they explore green eco-resorts, inspire positive change and adventure into sustainable exotic locations around the world. Tjoe is also the Executive Producer on the upcoming feature film Mahjong and plays the role of “Kimi” which is slated to film in San Francisco. Most recently, she landed the role of “Ariel” queen of the underworld in the film All Men Are Thieves which celebrated it’s wrap party in San Francisco and was attended by special VIP guest Mayor Ed Lee who supports film-making in the city.

Buzz Column Group Shot

SF Mayor Ed Lee at the All Men Are Thieves film preview party. Photo by Larry Wong.

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