SINGAPORE: More non—Chinese and girls are taking up lion dance in recent years, according to the veterans in the troupes.
Francis Xavier, 28, said: "When I was 11 years old, when I heard lion dance, I will run down to go and see. It’s quite interesting. When I was 12, I was interested to join a troupe. I approached a troupe and said I want to join. So from there I started. I don’t feel (like I’m a) minority because they don’t see me as Indian. They see me as a multi—racial (person), so we don’t see each other as Indian or Chinese. We see as same people, same troupe. Good team work."
In Teng Wei Athletic Sports Association alone, 25 per cent of its members are non—Chinese.
Its inclusive approach has brought it roaring success. Some of its feats include being in the top 10 list at the Ngee Ann City National Lion Dance Championship Finals in 2009 and 2010.
Lutfir Rahman, 16, said: "I like their movement, all those. When I first joined other groups, I saw one of the troupe jump on the high stilts. That made me more interested. Then in my second troupe, I started doing all those."
There’re those who join the troupe for other reasons.
Hazel Boey Yung Fun, 16, said: "There are many things that I can learn about the Lion Dance culture. There are fun people here — we’re like one family. They treat me like a little sister. Sometimes when they play, they won’t cross the line. They won’t bully me. I bully them."
The troupe said it’s not surprised that this art form is gaining a foothold.
Sam Lye Kok Huey, owner of Teng Wei, said: "Because Singapore is a racial harmony country, and also all these non—Chinese — they like to know the Chinese culture. And more girls because, more girls are more active so they like to have more exercise."
Moving forward, the troupe said it hopes to see more people taking up this art form.
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