Dr. Kwok-Chu Lee (Master Lam Chun) is a book lover, strong supporter of selfeducation and a good friend of Richmond Public Library. The relationship between Dr. Lee and Richmond Public Library started in 1995 when he donated 1,800 Chinese language books to the Library. Since then, his generosity has ranged from donating books and money to conducting many successful informational seminars and fundraising activities. In 2011, Dr. Lee gave the Library 47,000 Chinese language books from his personal collection. This new donation was described by professional book evaluator and rare book dealer Bjarne Tokerud as a “national treasure.” To date, the total value of his cash and book donations exceeds $1.53 million.
Dr. Kwok-Chu Lee is a self-made renaissance man. Born into a wealthy family in Guangdong, China in 1931, he has led a tumultuous life and suffered several personal tragedies. His father died when he was just 14 years old. His eldest brother took control of the family fortune and he was forced to discontinue his education to go and work as a labourer. His work took him all over China. Despite the instability and hardship he faced, he understood the value of education and knowledge. He ardently pursued his studies in literature, classics, history, philosophy, fortune-telling, Chinese painting and calligraphy. The help and encouragement he received from librarians in China convinced him of the important role that public libraries play in promoting and supporting self-education. The period from 1969 – 1972 was the most difficult time in his adult life. During these few years, he suffered business failure, mounting debt, death of his fifth daughter due to a traffic accident and the near death of his wife from childbirth. He was also diagnosed with hypertension. Through determination, hard work and creativity, he survived and managed to rebuild his fortune.
Dr. Lee is a successful businessman; well-known author, editor, calligrapher, painter, and art scholar. He established a literary magazine called The Literati and the Southern Book Company in Hong Kong which specialized in the publication of books of literature. Writing under the pen names of Master Lam Chun and Lam Chun, his works, including books, articles and newspaper columns on fortune-telling, literature, calligraphy, painting and martial arts novels, are widely read by people from Hong Kong and Canada. One of his famous martial arts novels, Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲), was made into a popular television drama series in Hong Kong. Dr. Lee has participated in more than 30 calligraphy and painting exhibits worldwide to great acclaim. He is an academic committee member of the Hong Kong branch of the World Arts and Cultural Exchange Association, an organization of the United Nations.
Master Lam Chun is an internationally renowned Grand Master of feng shui and physiognomy. Taught by Chinese and Japanese masters, Master Lam Chun has combined the learning of both schools to form his own approach. He started doing fortunetelling radio programs in Hong Kong and Macao in 1952. The program he hosted in the 1970s on Commercial Radio Hong Kong boasted the highest listenership and made him a household name and an inspiration for future fortune-tellers. In it, he demonstrated his unique ability to tell people’s fortune by listening to their voices over the radio. He also dedicated himself to training future fortune-tellers by offering classes in Hong Kong and Vancouver, BC. His students, which numbered over 10,000, included master fortune-tellers Mai Lingling (麥玲玲) and Sherman Tai (戴添祥). His books on palmistry and physiognomy are considered valuable resources for fortunetelling students.
Dr. Lee firmly believes the words inscribed on a stone plaque donated to the Ironwood Branch library: “lifelong learning is the foundation of success”. His goal in donating to Richmond Public Library is to ensure that the Chinese people have good quality books that will support their lifelong learning and self improvement. With his help, Richmond Public Library has gained the reputation as the place to go to for Chinese books. Its Chinese language collection of over 60,000 items is well-known for its outstanding quality and range of materials.
|Keith Sacre Library Champion Award from the BC Library Association for his support of libraries, literacy, free public access to information and the overall aims and objectives of libraries.|
|12th World Outstanding Chinese Award from the World Chinese Business Investment Foundation. This award recognizes the contributions of the World’s outstanding Chinese to the global Chinese communities.|
|Honorary PhD Degree from Lansbridge University of New Brunswick, Canada.|
|1995||$2,000||1,800 Chinese books|
|1996||$10,915||3,900 Chinese books. Fund raised from Qigong Classes.|
|1997||$52,784||Sales of paintings & catalogues from Chinese Art Exhibit. 10,757 Chinese books.|
|1998||$38,613||Sales of paintings & catalogues from Chinese Art Treasures. 4,000 Chinese books.|
|1999||$52,820||15,575 Chinese books. Cash donations.|
|2000||$23,620||Cash donations. 42 Art Reference Books. 11 Chinese CDs.|
|2001||$47,592||Cash donation. 9,436 Chinese books.|
|2002||$44,154||Cash donation. 2,368 Chinese books.|
|2004||$17,422||1,708 Chinese books.|
|2005||$25,587||2,511 Chinese books.|
|2006||$21,645||2,085 Chinese books and 114 VCDs.|
|2011||$1,195,200||46,730 Chinese books, 200 VCDs and misc. art works.|