Douglas (Doug) Wing Dock Hum was born in Toronto, Ontario. His mother, Tuey Ping Lee-Hum, traveled from China to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1937 as a member of a touring Cantonese Opera troupe. Tuey Ping Lee-Hum played lead male roles for the Chinese Freemason-sponsored Jin Wah Sing opera troupe, performing in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, Quebec. The performances raised funds for Chinese refugee relief through the Red Cross and called attention to the Japanese invasion of China. After touring with the troupe, she settled in Toronto, where she met and married Doug’s father, Hum See Tong, and performed with the Jin Hong Sing opera troupe. As a child, Doug accompanied his mother to New York City, USA, for three or four years while the Jin Hong Sing performed for Chinese American audiences. In his adult life, Doug Hum has been devoted to serving Toronto’s Chinese community; he has worked in various roles at University Settlement, a social service centre located near Toronto’s downtown Chinatown. He has also worked as a social worker and community liaison for Jack Layton, when Layton was first elected Toronto City Councillor in 1982. At the time of the interview, Doug resided in Toronto with his wife Fern.
Female Cantonese opera performer Tuey Ping Lee-Hum stands in a dramatic pose in a full general’s costume. The pattern on her robe evokes dragon scales and the pheasant feathers on her helmet denote status and can be manipulated by the performer to demonstrate skill. Tuey Ping Lee-Hum was famous for playing lead male roles. Her son, Doug Hum, donated one of her costumes to the Toronto District School Board Archives.