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Flying with Lions – First Day Chinese New Year, 2012

By January 25, 2012Geographer Photographer

Lion Dance trucks have long held a certain romance for me.  When I got to ride in the truck during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Penang, it was such a treat.  For years now I have been looking for a troupe to ride with for a day during Chinese New Year.  And this year it happened!  The boys of Heng Kok Lion Dance Troupe gave permission for me to spend a day with them on one of their trucks.  Here are a few images from the day.

The day started pre-dawn at the workshop where the trucks were loaded up, prayers said, and lists of destinations reviewed.

Not being a spring chicken anymore, I looked at the back of that truck with a bit of intimidation.  Bless their hearts for helping me on and off.

Our first stop was in Sungai Long at a bungalow, with a young sun coming up behind the hills.

Private homes were our focus of the day, a few large bungalows, a few link houses – all the same in the eyes of the lion.  Each performance was treated respectfully.  The Lions also have to be careful not to knock anything over amidst the revery.

Heng Kok did one large audience performance that day in central KL.  The acrobatic dancers had the audience gasping in amazement as they flew across the tops of the poles.

Back on solid ground, we went to a beautiful private compound off Jln Ipoh where Heng Kok was returning for the third year in a row.  The team work was awesome as there were 5 homes to visit during this visit, each requiring the ritual inspection of the house, the firecrackers, the preparation of the offering tray, and the respectful reverence of the ancestor altars.

As at every stop, people were using phones and ipads to photograph the lions.

At this stop, the lions even gave the cars the blessing of a closer look.

And then the team took the skies again!

I can’t say enough about what a great team these guys are.  They work hard.  Everyone took turns under the costume and playing the percussion.  It is hot work too.  There was plenty of discussion throughout the day, and moral support and friendship and everyone helps load and unload the truck at each stop.

Tired?  You bet.  As the truck bumped along, the boys caught some sleep.  At one point I think I was the only one awake in the back of the truck! 

(But oh, those lucky red packets help make it all worthwhile!)

We made a total of 7 stops in about 10 hrs.  At each place, Heng Kok left behind some happy customers and some great photo memories. 

Back at base on Pandan Perdana about 6pm, a tired crew carried the equipment to the office.

A great day of dancing with lions!

For more information about Heng Kok Lion Dance Troupe check out their Facebook page!

 

Cheryl

Author Cheryl

Rarely without my camera, I am inspired by energy in a crowd, the peacefulness of light, and the intensity of spirit. Based in Malaysia, I photograph rituals and traditions, ceremonies and celebrations, beliefs and ideas.

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