Kowloon Funeral Parlour, 1a Maple St, Sham Shui Po
Seeing as short and sweet seems to be the mode at the moment (the long stuff takes me too long to do sometimes) then here is a quick one about a place I’ve only just got around to visiting courtesy of another planned Bruce Lee walking tour.
It’s the location of his Hong Kong funeral service.
Kowloon Funeral Parlour seems to be very proud of its role in what appears to be the largest funeral ever seen in the territory. So much so that the company’s website has a history and heritage page telling us only about that one funeral – coupled with the footage of the event. Check it out here.
Here is a shot from the day of the funeral (sorry, I can’t remember the source – it’s black and white so could be from Govt archive?).
This photo was most likely taken from the roof of 199 Tai Kok Tsui Road (that’s the road we can see going from bottom right to top left). This view is now pretty much obscured by the West Kowloon Corridor that was built above Tai Kok Tsui Road circa 1983. The funeral parlour (or at least the corner of it) is the bit poking out from the right.
Despite lack of info on the company website I can tell you that the parlour building was constructed in 1963. What you may not realise is that just around the corner is Bruce’s old school (his last one before he left for the US) St Francis Xavier College. It’s odd how these things work out and that he would end up in a coffin just around the corner from his old school. It wasn’t long before he died that he went back to SFX to present trophies for a sports day.
Anyway, here’s what the parlour looks like today. To be honest it’s a pretty ugly building. To me it looks more like a half finished mosque.
You can see the flyover on the right hand side? That’s the West Kowloon Corridor that now obscures the view in the B&W snap above.
Incidentally, the mantle that sticks out over the pavement used to have “Kowloon Funeral Parlour” written on it and had a bit of a curve, but I guess these things went when it was last renovated to the brown design it now has.
Here is a shot of where I think the B&W snap was taken from (the rooftop behind the flyover).
I don’t know if you recall from a post I did a few weeks ago when I mentioned that most funeral company’s utilise these huge ISUZU vans for carting around the coffins (scroll down on that post, it’s at the bottom)? Well, outside the parlour on the day I was there was a whole load of these van/trucks, one of them was being unloaded as I walked by – two guys lifting out a massive Chinese-style coffin.
These ISUZU vans are usually bedecked with funeral wreaths on the front (sometimes the sides and top as well) and sometimes have the name of the funeral company on the side too. I have only ever seen these things used as coffin transport – I guess they are the right size and perhaps a little more appropriate (for carrying coffins) than a truck with a flat bed on the back?
Anyway, here is also a snap of the main parlour, the same one where Bruce had his open coffin viewing that can be seen on film.