Wednesday January 23, 2008
Dancing dragons leap for glory
By ANURADHA RAGHU
THEVAN Nair expected to see lions leaping from poles, but what greeted him instead was a vibrant array of dragons.
The 42-year-old factory supervisor had taken his family to IOI Mall Bandar Putra Kulai in Johor to watch the 2nd IOI Mall Open Dragon Dance Competition on Jan 13.
“I initially thought it was a lion dance competition, but I am glad I came because I’ve never seen a dragon dance before,” he said, adding that before this he had only seen dragon dances on Discovery Channel.
His sons Sagadran Nair, 10, and Saseendran Nair, 12, enjoyed watching the dragons.
“At first I was a little frightened of he dragons but after a while I began to like them,” said Sagadran.
Thevan said his family planned the outing when they found out about the event at the beginning of the year.
The competition was jointly organised by IOI Mall Bandar Putra and Johor Long Shi Sports Association in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations.
The event, officiated by Johor Wushu, Dragon and Lion Association vice-president Tan Hua Kia, saw the participation of nine teams from Johor and Singapore.
It drew hundreds of onlookers who were captivated by the graceful movements of the dragon and the display of acrobatic stunts on metal poles.
The overall champion was the Johor Long Shi Sports Association troupe whichh went home with the RM3,000 prize money, medals and a trophy.
Singapore Long Shi Sports Association was placed second, earning RM2,000, medals and a trophy.
Muar Chinese Boxing Fellowship came in third and received RM1,000 in prize money, medals and a trophy.
Johor Long Shi Sports Association chairman and chief instructor Chan Hong Kin was pleased with the win.
“The members practiced very hard for this win,” he said, adding that they normally practised on weekends from 11pm to as late as 1am, but two weeks before the competition they practised every day.
“It was gruelling for the dancers, but all their hard work and effort has paid off,” he said, adding that the team previously bagged first place at a competition in Thailand in December 2007.
Wong Swee Wai, 19, the drummer for the champion over the past ten years, wowed the crowd with his outstanding skills, which guided the troupe’s dragon through a spirited and lively performance.
“Playing the drums is my hobby and I really love it,” said Wong, adding that he never regretted joining the troupe.