‘Lion dance rules to affect funds’

National 1 minute, 32 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI’s biggest lion dance troupe is expected to raise less money for charity this Lunar New Year compared to previous years because of a shorter allowed time frame for performing.

The Ministry of Home Affairs last week confirmed that lion dances are only allowed from Febuary 19 to 21 at the temple, school hall and residences of Chinese association members. Performances are not allowed at night.

Captain of the Chung Hwa Middle School Bandar Seri Begawan (CHMS BSB) Lion Dance Troupe Ong Boon Biau told The Brunei Times yesterday that this was the third year performances had been restricted to three days – but the first one where one of the three allocated days only allows for afternoon performances.

“On the first and third day of Chinese New Year, we are allowed to perform from 8am to 5.30pm (with breaks from 11.30 to 1.30), but on Friday we can only perform in the afternoon from 2pm to 5.15pm,” he said.

The 80-member troupe - comprising 60 per cent of students – raised over $200,000 for CHMS BSB last year, used for charitable causes including scholarships and assistance to orphans and other underprivileged students.

“(Traditionally) we had packages that began at a few hundred dollars (for shorter performances), running up to a few thousand for more lengthy and elaborate displays - those who wanted performances but could not afford could opt for the smaller package.

“With a tighter schedule this year, we are unfortunately looking at cutting off the lower (cheaper) performances and focus on our higher end bookings,” he said.

Muslim students have previously performed as part of the troupe, but Ong said CHMS BSB would respect new regulations preventing them from doing so.

“We do not allow Muslims to participate; we fully adhere and respect to the rules and regulations issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” he added.

The Brunei Times