Retired pharmacist spreads joy through the art of clowning


Laughter is the best medicine: Fung posing with children. She says clowning is not just about balloons or magic tricks but also connecting with others through giving and receiving joy.

PETALING JAYA: Clowning has enabled retired pharmacist Fung Lee Jean to find her “inner child” and have fun again.

The passion for clowning began after attending a five-day workshop in 2007.

“During my working days, it was very stressful; whenever there was an opportunity to participate in clowning, I would go,” said the 66-year-old.

Fung said she used to be a funny child during her schooling years.

“I stopped having fun while working and being a clown gave me the space to be a fun-loving individual.

“Once I put on the clown costume and even just the red nose, it is like a magical transformation,” said Fung, who clowns under the alias “Sunshine”.

She said that clowning is a good way to maintain mental health, adding that it has become her lifestyle.

Fung said it has helped her incorporate “fun” into her life.

“The more I ‘clown’, the more I become that effortlessly fun-loving person.

“And I keep that ‘fun’ even after I take off my clown costume and make-up,” she said.

Clowning, Fung said, is not just about balloons or magic tricks but also connecting with others through giving and receiving joy.

“Adults and children love clowns, and it really uplifts the ambience,” she said.

Recalling her visits to hospitals and old folks’ homes as a clown, Fung said that she would spend time to provide emotional support.

“I find that people open up more to clowns because clowns are not judgemental,” she added.

Based in Kluang, Johor, Fung does clowning in a non-profit capacity.

She started a group called Johor Baru Happy and Joyous Club in 2008, which has a group of clowns offering services for non-profit organisations and hospitals.

“When our services are requested, we will go as a group. It is free of charge, but sometimes they would give us an allowance,” she said.

Fung added that clowning services can be quite expensive, up to RM500 an hour.

However, she said most clowns do it on a part-time basis.

According to Fung, her mother was initially against her participation.

“She didn’t want to see any pictures of me in a clown costume. But after understanding the good that clowning brings, she has accepted it and is proud of me,” said Fung, who is single.

She hopes to spread her passion for clowning through her free workshop at the National Training Week on June 30.

Her workshops are usually offered free or for mininimal payment, enough to fund her club.

“Once or twice a year, I would also do a full day of in-person training for clowning,” Fung said.

For that, she charges just enough to cover the cost of meals and the clown costume.

“I don’t do this for monetary gain but to spread the joy of clowning and laughter,” Fung said, adding that clowning is for everyone, regardless of age.

“Some of the clowns in my club are in their 80s, but when we wear the costume, we all look the same,” she said.

As for some difficult clowning skills, Fung said walking on stilts or riding a tiny bicycle is hard.

“Other skills like balloon art or magic tricks can be learned online. We also sing, drum and dance.

“Clowns can make mistakes but the children will laugh anyway,” she said.

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clown , National Training Week , workshop , joy

   

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