Lion dance troupe sees red over edited video clip

 |Feb 3, 2017
Gerakan's lion presenting the peeled fruit to Prime Minister Najib Razak. - Pic credit Facebook Najib Razak.
The “lion” presenting the peeled fruit to Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Gerakan Chinease New year open house. – Pic credit Facebook Najib Razak.

The lion dance troupe that performed at the recent Gerakan Chinese New Year open house is annoyed with the video clip showing its lion supposedly refusing to dance for the Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor.

Malaysia Gai Feng Lion & Dragon Dance Athletic Association founder Yong Kheng Chien said his troupe felt that the troupe became the target of certain irresponsible politicians and bloggers out to tarnish the association image.

“It is very damaging to the association as we are professional lion dancers and I appeal to all to keep us out of politics.

“We are upset over claims that the lion dance troupe refused to perform and the wording that ‘even the lion is brave enough to protest against the prime minister’,” he told reporters at a press conference at Wisma PGRM in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Yong said he felt that it was his duty to clear the air over the recent video because it had gone viral and was picked up by pro-opposition bloggers for political mileage.

“The lion dance troupe was peeling pomelo and oranges during their performance which lasted less than two minutes to present to the VIP, which was the prime minister,” he said.

Yong, who is chief lion dance coach, said the video clip was edited to 45 seconds and did not show the troupe’s entire performance.

He said the association was not seeking an apology from those behind the video, saying such a demand will only court more responses.

“I appeal to all parties not to get involved and use our cultural performance to divide the nation but to unite it,” he added.

He noted that even Najib had praised the troupe performance and was impressed by it.

When questioned by reporters if the association will lodge a report with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) over the spread of false news, Yong said that was an option.

“If the matter doesn’t end here, we will bring it up for discussion with the association committee to decide if a report should be made,” he said.

On Sunday, Jan 29, a pro-Mahathir Mohamad political blog – OutSyed The Box – shared the video, which was originally uploaded on KiniTV.

While the original video did not highlight the lion dance, the blog zoomed in on the clip which was part of the video, showing the lion bowed down to the ground in front of the prime minister and his wife.

The blog posted the headline as: ‘Gerakan lion refuses to dance for MO1’ and included in the narrative, a speculation, that it looked like the lion was protesting.