Altar Photo: Right
Yuen Ling was born in 1921 to a large family in Sun Wui, Guangdong. In the depression, his family lost its fortune and he went to Fatsan with his older brother, to make a living peddling food from a pushcart at the railroad station. There were plenty of other food vendors and disputes were settled with force more often than not. Deaths were not uncommon, but Yuen Ling was known for his Kung Fu skills and was able to establish an important position for himself within the vendor community.
At the railroad station, Yuen Ling studied old-style Hung Ga Kung Fu under a Sifu nicknamed Sau Gau (Skinny Dog). Old Hung Ga is the style that was not from Wong Fei Hung. During the 1940s, with China engaged in World War II, Yuen Ling escaped to Hong Kong and settled in at the Shau Kai Wan Fish Market to make a living. Like the Fatsan railroad station, only the strong survived the competition, and it was here that he met Tang Fung.
He became Tang Fung’s last disciple and learned Hung Ga and Dit Da medicine. Being a strong-willed, intelligent and capable person, it was not long before Yuen Ling established himself as the top person at the fish market, controlling all of the seafood distribution throughout Hong Kong.
During this period, he also established a school at Main Street East, where he taught Hung Ga Kung Fu and treated patients at his clinic. Yuen Ling was legendary for his skills in negotiation and settling disputes for his students, neighbours, and friends. He would often attend these negotiations alone, carrying nothing save the iron whip-chain he wrapped around his waist. He would sit down with the opposition to discuss the issues and if the negotiation did not go well, he would settle the matter with force.
Yuen Ling was an accomplished lion dancer, well known for his Ngauh Chat Sau Dai Si. His black lion head was famous throughout Hong Kong for its run-ins with other lions and dragons. He never lost during these encounters, always emerging victorious. He also won many Cheurng Pao contests.
Due to the strain of running both the fish market and the Kung Fu school while suffering from stomach cancer, Yuen Ling’s health took a turn for the worse. He died in 1966 at the young age of 45. On the day of his funeral, martial artists from all over Hong Kong, as well as members of the law enforcement and underworld communities came to pay their respects. It was one of the largest funeral processions in Hong Kong’s history.