Keeping fingers crossed; will lion dance be allowed this CNY?

Association members a a photo call after their rehearsal. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: More lion dance associations are keeping their fingers crossed that Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) will revise the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to allow the performances of lion dance this year.

It has been two years of no show of lion dance and not only this important element of the Chinese New Year (CNY) is missing, but many of the lion dance associations are suffering as well.

Kwong Wai Siew Association’s Kuching Lion Dance Team captain Eric Leong said he does feel disappointed after learning that the lion dance is not allowed again this year.

“I believe that the other lion dance teams are in the same mood as us as this is the second year since 2020 we are not able to do lion dance during the CNY,” he said.

Eric said that his lion dance team, consisting of 40 lion dance performers and of various races including Chinese, Malay and Iban, had resumed rehearsals after receiving information that lion dance performances were allowed but in the end that was not the case.

“Initially, we were also waiting for instructions from SDMC. We have made preparations since last year, so when the announcement that lion dance is not allowed during CNY, there was indeed a sense of disappointment.

“But if SDMC still maintains the same SOP, we will respect and abide by the SOPs and government policies.

“Hopefully the lion dance activity can be restored to normal in the future,” said Eric, who is also a student of University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

Before the days of Covid-19, the lion dance team could earn at least RM30,000 to RM40,000 during the festivals.

With no income, they have made efforts to look for sponsors to support them since the imposition of the first movement control order (MCO).

“The income that we received is needed to fund lion dance equipment and maintenance,” he said.

Kwong Wai Siew Association was established in 1854 while its lion dance team was formed in 1954.

Its lion dance performers are all part-timers and they consist of students and those joining for the love of lion dance and as their hobby.

Lion dancers pose with a mascot during practice. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni
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