Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Yu Jim Yuen's Seven Little Fortunes like many traditional Beijing Opera classes set up an altar backstage at the performance location for the elders. However Yuen Wah got mischievous and played a trick on the holy and untouchable elder and finally got what he deserved.

According to Yuen Bun, Yuen Wah indeed was the most mischievous kid around. "Back then Master put an elder statue at the Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park backstage. He was high above, like he was watching over us children's performance every night. Originally everything was fine. Then Yuen Wah one day maybe had too much time on his hand went to pull the elder's beard and put it in the elder's nose. After playing for awhile he put it back in its place. Perhaps because of that, that night everyone had problems on stage. We either took the wrong marks or sang the wrong lines. Everyone made mistakes, the difference was whether it was big or small."

Opera Traditions Followed Exactly

In the eyes of Yu Jim Yuen, for any mistake on stage, only one would remain next show. Yuen Bun continues, "That night after the show it was quite a show. Master with his cane interrogated us one by one. We lined up to say what we did wrong. When Yuen Wah came out, before Master opened his mouth he already said, 'I pulled out the elder's beard to play with'. After hearing that the Master was incredibly mad. The ones who were just beaten had to stand back out to be beaten again. That time was unprecedented trouble, we really had to thank Yuen Wah for that."

Yuen Wah played pranks on the elder. Without the elder having to anything Yu Jim Yuen already went ahead with punishing the violator. Although Master Yu's punishment would often involve the innocent and seem to be merciless, the disciples could only blame themselves for not properly watch over each other and for not stopping mischievous kids like Yuen Wah from any chance to act up.

As Yuen Ju recalls, Yu Jim Yuen valued the opera traditions a lot. She says, "The elder state truly can't be touched randomly. The Master is very uptight about these traditions. For example at the final show of the year the children had to jump on stage until they have covered every corner of it to represent we have completed this year's shows! Then next year at the 2nd we would have to pray, chop off the chicken's head then cover the stage with chicken blood. We had to do that every year."

Important Duty of Chicken Slaughter, Faithful Sammo

Fowl slaughter for worship was no simple task. Behind it was a lof of pressure. Yuen Ju says, "Actually the one who was holding the knife to chop off the chicken head had a lot of pressure too because it had to be done in one try. If not the following year would be unlucky. Thus Sammo was very faithful every time. You can't play around with stuff like that!" (27)

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