My late mother, Tuey Ping Lee-Hum, was a star Cantonese opera performer in both Canada and the United States. Written by Doug Hum and originally posted April 7, 2008.
By Doug Hum
She came to Canada from Asia (China) in 1936 with a Cantonese opera troupe to rally support for China against Imperial Japan which was threatening to conquer and subjugate China.
Prior to and during World War II, she performed on stage in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal in Canada. At the end of the War. the entire opera troupe was invited to perform in the United States where they performed in New York City, Boston and Detroit.
In New York, the opera troupe was welcomed as war heroes by New York City’s Chinese community because they were one of the first groups to sound the alarm about the threats of the Empire of Japan and even that of the threats of Nazis Germany. They were sounding the alarm long before Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor and even before Nazi Germany was threatening to conquer England.
At the end of the War, New York City’s Chinese community welcomed the group. In New York, the opera troupe continued to perform successfully for almost another five years until 1951. Their performances continued occasionally in Toronto, Canada into the late 1950s.
My mother continued to perform occasionally until well into her 80s. She passed away in 1994 at the age of 92.