Death and life have their determined appointments, nothing lasts forever. On September 8, 1997, Master Yu Jim Yuen who Seven Little Fortunes both respected and feared passed away in Los Angeles. This Beijing Opera action actor who singlehandedly turned Sammo Hung Kam Bo, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Yuen Qiu and others into what they are today although was no longer with them, in the hearts of Seven Little Fortunes he only has gone from the then Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park sixth theater dividing wall to another place to continue to keep an eye on this group of mischievous kids.
Yuen Bun recalls Master Yu's passing with a lot of sentiment. "Master was closer to us then our own old men. When we started to get a firm footing in the film industry, he said bye bye to us. He toiled for so many years and cultivated this group of kids for the Hong Kong film industry, but he never got to enjoy the fruit of his labor."
Shocked By Bad News, Keep Working
About Yu Jim Yuen's contribution to the Hong Kong film industry, Jackie Chan also writes in his autobiography, "Master Yu is not only my god father but also one of the god fathers of Cantonese film industry. I was with Master for ten years. To me, he is a cold and absolute image. The most loving he has been with me at most was a light smile or a pat on my head."
Tough guys are always cold on the surface and hot within. Master Yu was like that, Jackie Chan is like that. Jackie Chan says, "The four closest elders in my life: Master, Papa, Mama, (Leonard) Ho Koon Cheung. When they died, I was still at work. Actually Master was sick for awhile, so I was mentally prepared. When I heard the news, I didn't have too much reaction. After I hung up I kept looking at camera positions and working."
If Yu Jim Yuen who once taught Seven Little Fortunes "if you charge you have to be responsible to the audience" knew that his god son remained professional despite the personal setback he would have been greatly pleased. Jackie Chan later kept the sorrow at bay and did not stop working until he completed the shoot. Then he rushed from South Africa to Los Angeles to attend Master's funeral and sent his Master on his final journey.
At the altar was a photo of Master Yu supporting his chin with one finger, meaning "the best in everything". When disciples like Hung Kam Bo remember Master's teaching of always be perfect, they all shed tears. Si Mo lost her old companion and was so grief stricken that she could not stand on her own. She needed others assistance. Yu So Chau saw her old father did not have much burial offering and immediately took off her jade Buddhist beads and her son's watch to give to her late father.
Pallbearers, Head Last, Feet First
When Hung Kam Bo, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and others carried Master Yu's coffin to the cemetery, they mistakenly carried it in the wrong direction as they went uphill head last feet first. Yu So Chau immediately urged everyone to switch positions. To others, this perhaps was a great disrespect, but to Yu Jim Yuen who constantly urged Seven Little Fortunes to train hard and liked to personally demonstrated moves like hand stand and somersault in his old age, this perhaps was the first in person demonstration for his disciples. (32)