ONE would have thought that winning another national lion dance championship would be easy for someone who had 19 world and 10 national titles under his belt.
But Si Tiam Yong, from Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Association Muar, begged to differ. The victory, he said, was an exceptionally meaningful one for him and his partner Chong Kok Fu.
“After two previous attempts, this is the first time we are bringing home the champion’s trophy of this biennial Malaysia National Lion Dance Championship,” the 21-year-old said.
This accomplishment might help him put away the memories of his bitter experiences at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands, especially an accident that happened in 2006.
“I fell from a pole during a practice session two months before the competition, and was forced to take a break for a month,” recalled Si, who controlled the lion head.
It was sheer determination and a strong passion for the art that had spurred Si for a decade, while Chong, on the other hand, revealed that he was addicted to the thrill of the challenge.
“I take pleasure from the audience’s excitement when they are awed by the new moves we have invented,” the 24-year-old said.
In the 14th championship held at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands last weekend that drew 40 lion dance troupes, the Kun Seng Keng team received thunderous applause from the crowd with its “backward handstand” move.
“The hind legs of the lion were lifted while its front legs moved backwards,” Chong said.
The other seven teams put up equally stunning performances in the finals, although three teams lost significant marks due to accidental falls. Nevertheless, all three of them climbed back up the high poles and completed their routines, to the delight of the crowd that cheered them on encouragingly.
There was also a handful of Malay and Indian team members amid the Chinese-dominated troupes.
Young Bakri Anwar was one of them. The 13-year-old hit the gong for the Petaling Jaya Khuan Loke Dragon and Lion Dance Association Selangor, which emerged the third runner-up.
The pint-sized SMK Sri Utama student, who had participated in three lion dance competitions so far, said he was introduced to the troupe by his Indian friend a year ago.
“This is my first medal and I am proud of my team’s achievement,” he said.
When probed further, Bakri admitted shyly that he harboured dreams of becoming a lion dancer one day.
Sponsored by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Cotra Enterprise, the championship was also the first ever that incorporated the Double Lion category, in which two lions strutted their stuff in the court simultaneously.
Albert Fong, the coach of the champion team – Subang Khuan Loke Dragon and Lion Dance Association Selangor – said the most difficult part was to coordinate the interactions between the two lions.
The team’s highly dynamic performance started off with the two lions breaking through a box. They then embarked on a journey in the “mountains” (poles) in search of the cheng (a flower attached to a pole).
“One found it and happily shared it with the other,” Fong said.
The three-day event ended on a high note with Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Senator Heng Seai Kie, Resorts World Genting public relations and communications senior vice-president Datuk Anthony Yeo and Selangor & Federal Territory Lion Dance Association chairman Leong Lik Thong jointly presenting a mock cheque for RM10,000 to the Kun Seng Keng team.
Kwong Ngai Lion Dance and Persatuan Seni Goh Chor Wushu Tarian Singa Segamat won RM6,000 and RM3,000 respectively for emerging first and second runners-up.
Article Pick By Local News Paper http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2009/11/25/central/5166519&sec=central