Cheong Wai Phoe is the nephew of famous Malaysian Kung Fu master Cheung Hing. Cheong Wai Phoe lived in Penang his whole life and began learning Kung Fu from his uncle. Later his uncle recommended him to Saam Chan, who was living in Ipoh, and agreed to teach a few select students the Wing Chun Kuen system.
Cheong Wai Phoe learned from Saam Chan for 6 years. In 1972 he moved back to Penang, at age 27 and began passing on the Wing Chun Kuen system, under the name “Ban Chung Wing Chun Kuen”
Cheong still lives in Penang, and is the last living known student of Saam Chan and the oldest living ranked Cho Gar practioner. He is also one of the few remaining fourth generation Wing Chun masters, who also includes Fung Chun of Kulo Village.Recently, he came out of retirement and teaching selectively to foreigners and locals and runs Yu Feng Zhi Fu Cai Bo Xin Jun Temple a.k.a Prosperity God Temple at No. 1252-N, Paya Terubong, Ayer Itam, 11060 Penang. Tel No. +604-828 7092.
On Jun, 16, 2012, thestar.com.my / The Star Online ran an article from the GEORGE TOWN, PENANG which reads as Wayward youths and former drug addicts may be involved in violence but a 66-year-old Wing Chun master is helping to instil discipline in such lads, by teaching them the martial art..
Cheong Wai Phoe, who is head of the Opera Cho Gar Wing Chun (Cho Gar Hay Ban Wing Chun), believes that learning the martial art would help youths and former addicts gain employment in security firms or earn a living as bodyguards..
“With martial arts movies making a comeback, there are jobs for martial artists to serve in the choreography department and also as stuntmen,” he said, adding that he is willing to provide free lessons..
The Opera Cho Gar Wing Chun is listed in Wingchunpedia (www.wingchunpedia.org), the online Wing Chun encyclopedia website, as one of the major branches of the Wing Chun martial arts system. The website also mentions Cheong as the last known living student of Sam Chan, who brought the martial arts to Ipoh from Poon Yu Village in Guangzhou, China, and the oldest living Opera Cho Gar Wing Chun practitioner who is ranked. Cheong started learning the martial arts with Sam Chan in Ipoh in 1963..
“In the 1970s, there were more people interested in learning martial arts, as kung fu movies were very popular.I was interested in martial arts as there was little to do during our spare time.But nowadays with computer games, the Internet, and Facebook, the younger generation has lost interest,” he said..
Cheong now has over 20 local students who practise the art at the Yu Feng Zhi Fu Cai Bo Xin Jun Temple a.k.a. Prosperity God Temple in Paya Terubong, three to four times a week. He also has foreign students from the United States, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Thailand and Singapore who still continue to come back training as live-in students in the temple.
For more details, please visit http://www.operawingchun.blogspot.com/