KOTA KINABALU: Melvin Chin and his troupe were over the moon when the government gave the green light for lion dance performances during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
In the years before Covid-19 struck, his group used to rake in quite a handsome earning, performing for businessmen, companies, and even state VIPs, among others.
Chin, who leads the Kepayan branch of the Yick Nam Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance troupe, said they were eager to get back into action after a year on the sidelines because of Covid-19.
But his hopes of a roaring business quickly dissipated with only a few bookings received. The surge of cases in Sabah from the first day of Chinese New Year did not help either.
“Before the pandemic, we used to perform day and night during the 15 days of the lunar new year, but this time, we were only busy for the first two days,” he told FMT.
“We were not able to cover our costs like fuel and Covid-19 self-test kits for our performers who took the tests on a daily basis.”
However, Chin said they continued to perform because it was their passion.
Arman Duilah, from the Yick Nam branch in Inanam, said there were more than 30 last-minute cancellations.
He said they did not even get one request to perform on Chap Goh Mei, traditionally one of the busiest days for them.
“We used to bring in more than RM50,000 throughout the Chinese New Year period previously, but this year, we didn’t even come near that figure,” he said.
Arman said they were also disappointed with comments, particularly on social media, blaming lion dance troupes as one of the sources for the rising Covid-19 numbers in Sabah.
He said they could not be held responsible for crowd control.
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