FORM Four student R. Kumaresan stole the limelight at the Ponggal celebration held by the Penang Hindu Endowment Board when he performed the Puli Attam (tiger dance) for three hours non-stop.
The SMK Air Itam student, dressed in a tiger costume, leaped about like a tiger before joining the Mayil Attam (peacock dance) performers at the event held in Jalan Macalister.
He later performed a fire- swallowing act to cheers and claps from the 200-odd crowd.
Kumaresan said he started practising seriously about six months ago.
“My interest came after watching Tamil movies and six months ago, I joined a traditional Indian dance group in Gelugor,” he said at the recent celebration.
He is also well-versed in Silambattam (Indian martial art using sticks) and can perform the Thappu (Indian drum performance).
JCI United Penang (Mandarin chapter) president Manisha Lynn Khoo Chye was excited to take part in the Ponggal (sweetened rice) cooking ritual.
“This year, I was invited to take part on condition that I wear traditional Indian attire,” she said.
Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister ll and board chairman Dr P. Ramasamy said that last year, the board disbursed study grants totalling more than RM600,000 to Indian students in the state.
He said the state had been giving RM1mil annually to the board for the past five years.
Dr Ramasamy said there was a proposal to build a RM6.2mil inclinator at the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple which would be helpful for elderly devotees who found it difficult to climb up the steps.
However, he said the project had yet to be finalised.
Also present at the event were Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Deputy Chief Minister l Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon and state executive councillor Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.