|Master Lee is a friend to all who he meets.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices include theories, diagnosis and treatments such as herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage. TCM theory asserts that processes of the human body are interrelated and in constant interaction with the environment. Signs of disharmony help the TCM practitioner to understand, treat and prevent illness and disease. A practice long stemmed in tradition and belief that unfortunately, does not operate within the contemporary scientific paradigm. However, many believe in its powers and swear by the “touch” that heals. It is a tradition passed down from generations, one which is still being kept alive and was brought down to Belize at a time when people were unaware of its curative powers. Master Lee continues with his practice and his customer base continues to increase. We bring you a look into the life of Master Lee.
Master Lee was born in China Town, China on September 17th, 1958 to parents Wintwo and Shoxin Lee. He, along with his younger sister, Mingje, lived in the Town until the age of six. At that age, both his parents, who were government workers, realized that they did not have the time to care for their children. They made the difficult decision to have Master Lee grow up with his Buddhist uncle while his sister was raised by an aunt.
Master Lee’s uncle practiced herbal medicine and massage, a trade he began to teach Lee from the moment he arrived at his house. Master Lee would attend school and in the afternoons would be mentored by his uncle. After successfully graduating from the equivalent of high school, Master Lee proceeded to enroll at the China Army. He was accepted and at the age of 14 moved to get his military training.
While in the army, Master Lee also got the opportunity to attend school and decided to continue learning as much as he could about herbal medicine and massage. He pursued this career as far as it took him and, while still at the army, he received his medicinal and surgical degree. This was no easy feat and he spent 18 years in schooling, the first eight at a school in China while the last 10 were passed at a school in Hong Kong. “In China, they teach you everything. You have to learn all the body parts and how to fix everything. You become a general practitioner but are also branched out in different areas,” he explained.
Soon enough, not only was Master Lee performing minor surgeries, but he also took time to teach others what he had learned. “I went to the army university to teach those there what I had learned and what I was applying in my career,” he stated. For the following 26 years, Master Lee worked and learned in the Army Base.
In 1998, Master Lee decided to take some much needed time off and visited a friend who lived in Belize City. “I wanted to see,” he smiled. And see he did, saw much he liked and decided to grow roots in Belize. He opened up a grocery store, along with his friend. Unfortunately, the threat of Hurricane Mitch forced him to shut down the business and seek refuge down south. “When I come back the shop gone,” he explained.
With no shop, Master Lee chose to visit San Pedro, to find out what the island life had to offer. He stayed at Ruby’s Hotel, room number 26. Right out of #26 was where he first began taking care of people’s bodies on the island by massaging their aches and pains away. Discovering that the need was there and that people liked his services, Master Lee moved his business to Pescador Drive where he continued with his good work.
Master Lee had only one small problem. He realized that in order to move ahead he really had to get a handle of the English language. “I did not know any English,” he commented. According to Master Lee, that’s where the idea of opening the first Chinese fast food restaurant, Master Lee Fast Food, located in front of Alijua Building on Buccaneer Street, came into play. Constant, daily interaction with his customers allowed him the needed tools to learn more words in English. “My English is not perfect,” he admits, “it is getting better.” At Master Lee’s people could not only get their fried chicken, fried rice, chicken rolls, or chop suey but could walk away with some ice-cream or an appointment for a massage. Better yet, walk out of the restaurant feeling rejuvenated after the Master was done.
Master Lee also found love in San Pedro when he became very good friends with Hilda, a San Pedro resident. The couple had their first child in 2003 and Master Lee became the proud father of Nin. He not only fell in love with Hilda and Nin but also became a doting father to Hilda’s three other children, Yesenie, Rosanna and Ronel.
Unfortunately, the couple was heartbroken when after countless doctor’s visits and second opinions, the Lee’s found out that their son, Nin, had a tumor in his brain. Knowing very well that he had to care for his family and dedicate more time to them, Master Lee chose to sell Master Lee’s Fast Food Restaurant.
That same year, 2003, Master Lee tied the knot with Hilda in a small ceremony where close friends and family wished them well. To date, the Lee family has grown to include new born boy twins, Zhun and Hua. A delightful and much welcome addition.
Today, one can find Master Lee working out of the Coldwell Banker Building (formerly the Island Galleria). He continues to offer his treatments which include massages to cure historical pain, arthritis, sprains, broken bones, sleepless nights and memory loss. His great work supersedes him and he is well known for specializing in foot massages for, pregnant women, weight loss, lowering blood pressure, headaches and back pain. In his office, Master Lee also keeps a stock of Chinese medicines. “In China we do herbs, drink teas,” he explains and that is just what he offers, teas that heal. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Master Lee can be reached at (620) 2301.
Because of his expertise, Master Lee is often called to treat patients at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, the primary government health institution. “They call me, I go. I go help people with problems there.”
In his free time, Master Lee loves the quiet. “I meditate, no noise, nothing, I don’t drink or gamble, I like quiet,” he stated. He does plan to return to China but only to bring back much needed equipment for his practice. Other than that he insists that this is his home and does not plan to go anywhere. Always willing to offer a helping hand, offer a smile or work his wonder with just a touch, Master Lee keeps healing “Our Belize Community.”