Thursday, June 27

Random lion dance practice irks residents

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THE loud noise drummed up by lion dance practice is driving residents at some housing estates in Kuching out of their wits.

AUSPICIOUS: The flamboyant lion dance graces every auspicious event of the Chinese community.

They are annoyed by the insensitivity and inconsideration of troupes in their areas that disrupt the tranquility of neighbourhood with the beating of drums and clashing of cymbals, saying such a practice totally disregards the well-being of the community.

One such resident, Alfred TK Chan, was looking forward to the privacy and quiet of his home after a hard day at the office and all he wanted was to put his legs up and watched sports on TV.

However, he could not have been more peeved when the peace in his sitting room was rudely shattered by the ear-splitting din of lion dance practice in a nearby house.

“Naturally, I was annoyed. I just wanted some peace and quiet in my own home but everything was spoilt by all the loud banging of drums and cymbals.

“Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind lion dance when it is done at the appropriate time but certainly not at random – or on just any evening,” he said.

Apparently, it’s common these days for individual lion dance troupes to practise at residential areas.

And like Chan, Agnes Lim, another nettled resident, is not amused. In fact, she is rather annoyed at the inconsideration of the troupe in her area especially as their practice coincides with the study time of her three school-going children.

“It’s disruptive. How can they study with all this noise going on,” she lamented.

The loud beating of drums does not help an equally annoyed resident, Jessie Ng, either in caring for her 85-year-old ailing mother.

“Mum has been sick for quite a while now and since there are a few of us in the house, we decided to look after her on our own. But all this noise is not doing her any good.”

Though her mother has never verbally complained, Ng feels the noise is depriving her of much needed rest.

“She cannot rest properly amidst all the drumming.Sometimes, I feel sorry for her – she is tired and needs to rest,” Ng said.

For another resident, Alicia who finds the noise a nuisance, especially in the evening, it’s the disrespect shown by the troupe for the community that irks her.

“Even though I have no personal grievance against lion dance practice, I still find it very annoying when it’s done in the evening when most people want some peace and quiet to enjoy TV.”

She said with the practice in progress, she had to turn up the volume to follow the dialogue of her favourite show.

“I feel it’s rather inconsiderate making all this noise. It’s a disrespect to the community.”

According to her, about two years ago, someone passed on in one of the nearby houses. The grieving family was holding a wake and a lion practice was carried out at the same time.

“I find this very strange. When members of a household are in mourning, there are more appropriate ways to express their grief – most people would agree beating drums is not the way to do it.”

Another time, she noted, practice was done on Christmas Eve but it was significantly shorter probably because the troupe realised it was not the right season.

There are others who personally disagree with lion dance practice being carried out in any residential areas but they tolerate it so as not to spoil the prevailing communal harmony.

“I don’t know who these people are but I definitely don’t want anything to happen to my family or myself,” one resident revealed.

Most of the residents agree that the practice also causes noise pollution which should not be allowed in a housing estate.

They also believe the community hall is a better venue – or any place where the deafening sound will not be so disruptive and intrusive.

According to the residents of one housing estate, lion dance practice in their areas is carried out by a troupe that is not affiliated to any associations. They usually start around 7pm and carry on till 8pm to 9pm. Sometimes they practise on Sunday afternoons.

There are also no specific practice days or seasons – it can be done anytime throughout the year.