1900 Hong Kong question


 I have a question or two about life in Hong Kong at the turn of the 20th century.  If I were a wealthy Chinese businessperson living on HK Island, where would I live?  At Midlevel?
  Do you have any pictures or details of how a typical Chinese family would live if they had a great deal of money?  What kind of home would it be?  What would the interior look like?  What sort of things would set them apart from others or the colonials?  What would be considered luxury and available?  What did wealthy Chinese families do? 

Bruce Lee's mother, Grace Ho

Bruce Lee's mother, Grace Ho Oi-yu (b.1907 d.1996) was an Eurasian and an adopted daughter of Ho Kom-tong and a women by the name of Cheung King-sin (b. 1866 d. 1960). Cheung was an Eurasian, cousin of Clara Ho Tung. She lived in Shanghai most of her life.

Grace spent part of her childhood in Hong Kong, living at the Ho Tung Garden in the Peak under the care of Clara Ho Tung. Grace later married Lee Hoi-chuen (b. 1902 d. 1965)

Bosman - Consul for the Netherlands

In 1869 C.H.M. Bosman is shown as the Dutch Consul, and running Bosman & Co. - Marine Insurance.


Liz - "In the Web" is not

Liz - "In the Web" is not searchable on the Web.  At least not in Google Books.  They only have an overview of the book itself, and I can't find a copy to buy online.  I went to the Hong Kong public library to read it, and it is a wealth of informatin.  Printed in 1992, before all these fancy family-tree programs were available, there must be a dozen or more sets of family trees in the book.  Could you find out if Peter Hall would mind sending a copy to Google so they could scan and upload it ?

"Protected" woman

"Protected" woman

A woman acquired by, and living with a foreigner

The foreigner extended his "protection" to a native mistress.  That "protected woman" extended his name as "protector" over the inmates of her secret brothel.  ...  It was sufficient for the "protected" woman to say, when the officer of the law rapped at her door, "This is not a brothel, but the private family residence of Mr. So-and-So," naming some foreigner ... and the officer's search would proceed no further.

Heathen Slaves And Christian Rulers By Elizabeth Andrew and Katharine Bushnell

The position of a protected woman enabled her, under favourable circumstances, to achieve personal and financial independence.  Her primary relationship was to a single male, her protector.  This freed her from the domination of a mother-in-law, a primary wife, or males in the Chinese patriarchal family...  Independence, however, could become absolute with his death or absence.

Women and Chinese patriarchy: submission, servitude, and escape
By Maria Jaschok, Suzanne Miers

Bruce Lee's mother, Grace Ho

AET says Grace Ho Oi-yu was "an adopted daughter of Ho Kam Tong and a women (sic) by the name of Cheung King-sin".  He also says Cheung was "a cousin of Clara Ho Tung". This raises more questions than it answers.

Was Cheung married to Ho Kam Tong, and first wife or concubine? If not, why would Ho Kam Tong join her in adopting a daughter?

Ho Kam Tong had many wives, concubines and others, and more than enough children by them. Why would he want to adopt someone else's child? And why a girl?

How was Cheung a cousin of Clara Ho Tung? Clara was a cousin of Lady Margaret. So was Cheung also related to Lady Margaret, and if so, how?

Doesn't ring true.

Bruce Lee' s mother Grace had

Bruce Lee' s mother Grace had a relationship with Ho Kom-tong. She was not a wife nor a concubine. She was simply "protected" by Ho Kom-tong.

Information and photos provided by Wong Po-yuen, son of Ho Pak-yung, sister of Grace. Wong is currently living in China.


Bruce Lee's mother Grace had

Sorry, this doesn't make sense. The post previously said that Grace was adopted by Ho Kam Tong and a woman named Cheung. Now we are told Ho Kam Tong had a relationship with  Grace.  Gets more complicated all the time.

Grace's mother Cheung

Grace's mother Cheung King-sin had a relation with Ho Kom-tong. With Ho, Cheung had two daughters, Ho Pak-yung and Ho Pak-ngan. Cheung while living at the Ho Tung household in Shanghai, had adopted a son Peter and a daughter Grace. Both Peter and Grace were Eurasians.

I meant Cheung rather than Grace in earlier message


Bruce Li Family

Thank you for sharing this fasinating information about Bruce family!

Grace's mother Cheung

So what AET is now telling us is that Grace (mother of Bruce Lee) was adopted by Cheung King-sin, not by Ho Kam Tong.  What this all amounts to is that the popular belief that Bruce Lee was related by blood to Ho Kam Tong and his half brother Ho Tung is totally incorrect. 

Bruce Family

Bruce Li family history is rich and varied.  Thank you for sharing.

Bruce Li's mother Grace was

Bruce Li's mother Grace was "adoprted" according to one of the cousin of Bruce Li. It's difficult to confirm from other sources as most poepole who know the background are no longer around.

I have seen phtos of Grace (Oi-yu) and the two sisters Pak-ngan and Pak-yung. They don't look alike. Grace was more Eurasian looking.

Grace lived with Clara Ho Tung on the Peak, together with sister Pak-yung while in Hong Kong. She was certainly being treated as part of th family.


My apology again. It was

My apology again. It was Pak-ngan who stayed in Hong Kong. Pak-yung spent most of her time in China.

Book: In The Web by Peter Hall

Hi Annelisec, sorry for delay in replying school holidays etc. and keeping child entertained are currently top of the list! 

Anyway, the book In The Web is VERY good and, as you say, full of a wealth of information.  Peter hand draws his family trees.  I will ask Peter your question about sending a copy to Google, but suspect he will not as he is currently updating his book with newer information in preparation for another print run.  I have helped him with the Chater/Jordan/Laing family tree which will be very much more detailed than already there.  I know for a fact that the first edition only had 1500 on the print run, I shall see how many he plans on doing this time.  I was very lucky, I purchased my copy off ebay.  Good old ebay!

But rest assured, Peter is working very hard and a second edition is in the pipeline.

best wishes




I am a direct descendant of Pak-ngan you've seen pictures??

Is it possible to get copies of these? I stumbled across this searching for other genealogy stuff. Ironically I was just discussing the Bruce Li connection with other family members!


I have photos of Pak-ngan and

I have photos of Pak-ngan and Pak-yung. 



For Central and western

For Central and western districts ,  Caine Road and Bonham road were the lowest restricted area and they represented the boundary of wealthy westerners ?

The law was about the style

The law was about the style of house (European larger with more windows or Chinese, dark and airless), not the occupants.     As today, larger houses were constantly being redeveloped into smaller and smaller units.  Only the very wealthy owned their own houses.  Most Europeans rented because their "real" home was not in Hong Kong.  

Bruce Lee's mother

In 1941, Bruce Lee's mother, Grace Ho Oi-yu (b.1907 d.1996) states to the US Government that her mother was English, did not have "one drop" of Chinese blood and that she died 7 years earlier (c. 1934).  She also states that her father was Chinese.

That means that Grace eloped about 3 years before her natural mother died.

If the household in Shanghai was run along the same lines as the one in Hong Kong, then perhaps Grace, (and Peter) were Ho Kom Tong's children by an Englishwoman, and that CHEUNG King-sin "adopted" them while their mother was still living.

This makes Grace the natural daughter of Ho Kom Tong.   Which better explains why he was angry that she eloped with Lee. 


According to the book 香港大老何東,

According to the book 香港大老何東, Ho Kom Tong's father was a Chinese whose family name is Ho, who probably had an on and off relationship with Mdm Sze while "protected" by  Bosman . That explained the more Chinese look of Ho Kom Tong compared to his two half-brothers, Ho Tung and Ho Fook.

What's Ho Kom-tong mistress Cheung King-sin in Chinese character

What's Ho Kom-tong mistress Cheung King-sin in Chinese character?

peter hall

i wonder if the Peter Hall you mentioned is the same Rotarian DG Peter Hall...