Lion dance troupes bracing for the worst

The Nam Wah Kangkar Pulai Lion Dance Troupe wearing face masks and observing SOP while performing a dragon dance at a mall in Johor Baru prior to the MCO that started on Jan 13.

LION and dragon dance troupes in Johor Baru are frustrated as they anticipate the cancellation of Chinese New Year performances in light of the movement control order from Jan 13 to 26.

Nam Wah Kangkar Pulai Lion Dance Troupe leader Datuk Teoh Boon Fooi said he was bracing

for the worst and the possibility that the MCO would be extended until Chinese New Year next month to check the spike in Covid-19 cases.

“My team of 40 lion dancers started training and practising their routine as early as last month.

“The MCO announcement threw a spanner in the works as we were looking forward to performing again after the bleakness of 2020, ” he told StarMetro.

Teoh said the troupe started receiving Chinese New Year bookings last November and had been scheduled to perform at a mall in Taman Sutera Utama today.

Previously, they were able to get between 500 and 600 bookings for performances at malls, hotels, corporate events and open houses.

He said the troupe’s last festive performance was for a Christmas event at a tourism spot in Desaru, where every team member was required to wear a face mask and adhere to the standard operating procedures as well as other preventive measures.

Chan says all training and performances for lion and dragon dance were put on hold following the MCO 2.0 announcement.Chan says all training and performances for lion and dragon dance were put on hold following the MCO 2.0 announcement.

“Given the current situation, it will not be a surprise if the MCO is extended at the end of the two-week period, which will lead to the cancellation of most of our bookings.

“Times are tough for us as I also run an event management company and our income dropped by 90% last year, ” he said.

At the same time, he urged the government to be more clear about guidelines and restrictions for both the industry and the public.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced that the MCO would be enforced in six states, including Johor.

Meanwhile, Johor Baru Kwong Siew Clan Association lion and dragon dance troupe coach Chan Sin Tong said all training and performances had to be put on hold due to the MCO.

“Most lion and dragon dance troupes rely on performances and shows to raise funds for training, entering competitions, operational costs and more importantly, to repair their equipment and costumes.

“With festive events likely to be disallowed under the MCO, the income of these associations and groups will definitely take a dip.

“It looks like it will be a tough year ahead, ” added Chan, who has more than 40 years of experience in lion and dragon dances.

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