SIBU (February 6): Lion dance performances are held on a moderate scale during the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration, but they still enjoy popular support whenever they are held.
Sibu (Quanshu) Martial Arts Association (SMAA) head coach Gilbert Wong said they can only accept about 10 invitations a day from their regular customers due to standard operating procedures ( SOPs) put in place by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).
“Overall, I say that all of our customers are happy and satisfied with our lion dance performance during the CNY celebration,” he said, adding that the lion dance performance not only adds color to the celebration, but also gave a festive mood to the celebration.
“CNY celebrations are never complete without the sound and rhythm of the lion dance troupe,” he added.
He admitted that their main income comes from lion dance performances during CNY celebrations and thanked SDMC for revising the SOPs that allowed lion dancing during CNY this year.
“Our business is already down and although we have managed to perform this year, the revenue collected is still not enough to cover the costs, although it is better than nothing,” he added.
Wong said they are only accepting reservations for the first four days of the celebrations and also for Chap Goh Mei due to strict SOPs.
Still, he said it was better compared to last year when Covid-19 totally wiped out the lion dance show when Sibu was placed on lockdown following the emergence of the Pasai Siong cluster on January 9, 2021. .
The cluster became the largest Covid-19 cluster in the state, infecting more than 1,200 people statewide and sending the state into lockdown.
Wong said he is also looking forward to holding more lion dance performances at temple ceremonies and opening outlets to increase their income.
Established over 40 years ago, the SMAA Lion Dance Troupe is the only one to have regularly performed lion dance here in recent years.
“In the past, we would perform throughout the celebration – from dawn to dusk due to popular demand. In a day, we could play in 20 to 30 houses spread several miles apart.
This year, they still manage to bring together a team of 16 performers who have been divided into two groups.
“Hopefully we can still be strong and continue to offer our service whenever needed,” he said.