4th Plaza Merdeka lion dance tourney to wow mall goers

Cheah (centre), Ngoi (on his left) and other distinguished guests holding up flags of the countries participating in the 4th Plaza Merdeka (International) Lion Dance Competition to be held from Jan 4 to 6 next year.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 19: The 4th Plaza Merdeka (International) Lion Dance Competition 2019 will return from Jan 4 to 6 at the Plaza Merdeka Shopping Centre, with more international teams vying for honours.

There will be seven teams from Singapore, China, Vietnam and Indonesia and 14 teams from Malaysia. They will be competing in two categories: Traditional Dance and High Pole Dance.

Organised by Plaza Merdeka Shopping Centre in collaboration with Persatuan Naga dan Tarian Singa Hong Yang Kuching, the competition is fully supported and endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports.

Plaza Merdeka general manager Cheah Kheng Mun emphasised that the event was aimed at promoting the standard of lion dance in the state.

“With the addition of more international teams flying in next year, it is hoped that this sport will be able to promote Sarawak, especially Kuching, to the tourists,” he told a press conference today.

“More importantly, we hope this event will be included in the Sarawak Annual Calendar of Events and can be one of the sports that will encourage sports tourism to Sarawak.”

From left: Ngoi, Cheah, Cecelia and Kueh receiving the blessings from the lions after an opening performance.

The international teams are Singapore Teng Yang Dragon and Lion Dance Association, Singapore Tian Eng Dragon and Lion Dance Centre, Singapore Teng Yong KSK Dragon and Lion Dance Association, China Guangzhou Chen Chong Ling Dragon and Lion Dance Association, Vietnam Ngoi Guan Kaiwei Lion and Dragon Dance Group, Vietnam Ju Yuan Event Troupe and Indonesia Perkumpulan Naga Singa Khatulistiwa.

From Malaysia, they are Pertubuhan Tarian Naga dan Singa Wen Ching Kelapa Sawit Johor (two teams), Persatuan Penganut Agama Buddha Xi Nan Kelapa Sawit Johor, Persatuan Tarian Naga dan Singa Xuan Wu Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, Hawks Sport Club Sabah, Loong Xing Sport Club Sabah, Persatuan Naga dan Tarian Hong Yang Kuching Sarawak, Persatuan Tarian Singa dan Naga Jee Xiang Ruyi Sarawak, Persatuan Kebudayaan Jasmani dan Sukan Fho San Kuching, Sarawak Ex-Highians’ Lion Dance Troupe, Sarawak Serian Wu Zhe Xian Shi Temple Lion Dance Troupe, Malaysia Sarawak Kuching Kwong Wai Siew Association, Sarawak Xin Yang Athletic Association, and Kelab Tarian Naga dan Tarian Singa Tian Eng Ban Hock.

Malaysia Siang Hock Kong Cultural Association president Ngok Yoke Tam added that the event served as a good platform to push lion dance to greater heights.

All the teams will bring their best to the floor, showcasing their skills, talent and showmanship after years of practice.

The organiser promised spectators will be treated to superb and vibrant performances of lion dance, and the competition will be judged by 32 international and national judges.

In the Traditional Dance category, the champion will receive RM2,000, while the first and second runners-up RM1,500 and RM1,000, respectively.

In the High Pole Dance category, the champion will be awarded RM5,000, while the first and second runners-up RM4,000 and RM3,000, respectively.

There will also be elite awards and consolation prizes for the remaining participants.

Plaza Merdeka welcomes the public to come and watch the event to be held at the mall’s Main Atrium on the ground floor starting at 10am over the weekend.

Ministry of Tourism Sarawak’s Event Section assistant secretary Cecelia Senja, Persatuan Naga dan Tarian Singa Hong Yang Kuching representative Kueh Gang Yeu as well as representatives of sponsors were present. — DayakDaily