Lion dance troupe remains a strong charity fundraiser
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE hike in school fees at the capital’s Chung Hwa Middle School (CHMS BSB) has not lessened the burden on the school’s lion dance troupe to raise funds for the school as well as for other charitable purposes.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, the school’s vice-chairman of the Board of Directors said that the lion dance troupe’s effort every year raises money mostly for charitable donations to the poor and the needy, with only a small part going to the school’s operational expenses.
Wee Meng Han explained that the lion dance troupe was a non-profitable club within the school which used to help raise funds through its performances besides promoting the tradition of the lion dance among Chinese people in Brunei.
“The school fee hike was done to sufficiently finance the school operations itself but the funds we raise from the lion dance troupe during the Chinese New Year period is usually meant to help those in need,” he said.
“Also now with the Fee Relief Fund that we have to help some students pay for their education, the money raised would also go towards that so it does not make it easier to raise funds just because we increase the school fees,” he said.
In recent years, the number of days that lion dance troupes are permitted to perform have been limited to just the first three days of Chinese New Year and they are also not allowed to perform on a Friday.
Wee said that while he naturally preferred for the lion dance troupe to be allowed to perform for all fifteen days of the Chinese New Year celebration period, the troupe has tried to make the most of the three allocated days by scheduling their visits well in advance.
“We are allowed to perform from 8am until 5.30pm in these three days so we have already had bookings for our lion dance services arranged with a full schedule designed to try and maximise the number of houses the troupe can visit,” he said.
“This year we have three teams of lion and dragon dance performers and each team can visit up to nine houses of Chinese Association members so we hope that we can raise the optimum funds from these 27 houses that we will visit,” he said.
Wee said that it was important to keep the traditions of the lion dance performances alive as it is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Chinese people, especially so for the ones in Brunei who are descendants of the Chinese diaspora.
“This is our traditions that has been passed down from generation to generation so we must not only just keep it alive but also actively promote it so that the young will understand its significance while also using it as a vehicle for charitable purposes,” he said.
The Brunei Times