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Sayang Sabah - The voice of Sabahans

Lion dance an ancient art

A young visitors to the Gaya Street Chinese New Year Carnival looked on to the Unicorn and lion heads made by Wee Lip Fah. - Photo by Alex Mairin/SayangSabah
A young visitors to the Gaya Street Chinese New Year Carnival looked on to the Unicorn and lion heads made by Wee Lip Fah. – Photo by Alex Mairin/SayangSabah

KOTA KINABALU -The continuity of the lion dances practiced for the last 2000 years is important as it is the identity of a people.

In just a few days, Chinese from all over the world will celebrate their New Year with one of the major highlights being the lion dance.

This artistic form of dancing has spread throughout the world, and it is an exciting sight during such events, with its symbolism being welcoming good energy and chasing away bad omens.

In Sabah, the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration starts as early as a month before the actual day. Decorations placed around the city centre with red colors and lanterns exudes excitement and expectation.

Wee Lip Fah, 54, a lion dance master from Papar has been involved in the lion dance for more than 40 years and he believes that it is an ancient culture that should be perserved.

“Performing the lion dance need intensive practice and good technique. But there is more to it than meet the eye, it is a chance for us to celebrate our culture and history while embracing the present,” he told SayangSabah.

Lion dance draws heavily on kung fu and requires performers with a strong, athletic physique.

“It is not easy to perform the lion dance because the dancer need to performed under heavy and intricate costumes. You need skills and constant practice,” he explained.

Wee who teaches lion dancing under the Lotus Charity Association stressed that parents should be more open in sending their children to traditional and culture activities such as lion dance.

“I can see that nowadays, the parents are reluctant to send their children when it comes to cultural activities. They are more focused on their children’s academic performance instead,” he said.

Wee stated that the youth need to be exposed to their heritage and tradition.

“It is very important for the young generation to know their history and culture. If they don’t participate on any cultural activities, they will lose their identity,” he said. – By Fizah Yusof/SayangSabah

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