Lion dance troupes stay home to stay safe

KUCHING: For the first time in the Nanyang Wushu Federation of Sarawak’s 47-year history, its lion and dragon dance troupe will not be performing during Chinese New Year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its chairman Datuk Seri Song Swee Hee said it was a difficult decision not to perform this year but the right one for safety’s sake.

“We have been visiting our patrons and supporters from house to house during Chinese New Year since the inception of the federation in 1974.

“This year, taking into consideration the rising number of Covid-19 cases, we’ve made the decision that we are not going to do any lion dance performances.

“I’ve been with the federation since its formation and this is the first time we will skip the lion dance for Chinese New Year, ” he said.

The move is also in line with the state disaster management committee’s standard operating procedure for the Lunar New Year celebration, which stipulates among others that lion and dragon dance performances are not allowed.

Till next year: Song cleaning a lion’s head at the wushu training centre  in Kuching. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The StarTill next year: Song cleaning a lion’s head at the wushu training centre in Kuching. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

Sarawak has been facing a surge in Covid-19 cases since early January. Sibu division is currently under the movement control order until Feb 14, while Kapit and Song districts were placed under the MCO from Feb 2-16.

The rest of the state is under conditional MCO until Feb 14.

Song said the federation’s troupe visited more than 80 houses during last year’s Chinese New Year.

“It is disappointing and sad that we are not able to perform the lion dance this year as it is traditionally the custom of the Chinese to do so during the festive season, ” he said.

“For sure not only my team but all the other lion dance teams will feel the same too.

“But no one can help it. It’s better to skip for one year, then we can meet our supporters in years to come.

“If we meet them this year and anything happens, maybe in the future we cannot meet them anymore, ” he said.

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