Lion Dancers

We received our  long term rental car last week.  It is a Honda Civic, it is a much better experience than the first car.  Now that we have a real car rather than a riding lawn mower with doors.  We are much more confident about getting out and about.  The haze is still pretty bad so wevare saving some of the more scenic activities of Penang when it is better outside.

This weekend we took the 10 km bridge off the island over to Butterworth on the mainland to see a Chinese Lion Dancing Competition.  It was held in the center atrium of the Penang Mega Mall.  This is definitely a different mall experience  than the mall next to our condo.  Very different.  First off I think we might have been the only white people in the entire building.  B got a lot of attention, I think he might the first white, strawberry blond kid some people had ever seen.  It is  very strange to walk around have people point at your child.  Everyone had a smile, not once did I feel unsafe, it was just a very different experience.  The malls on the island have stores that you recognize.  There was not a single store that I recognized the name of. There are a few that get lost in translation.  Some that end up being pretty funny to the 12 year old that is still in my brain sometimes.

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The Lion Dance competition is an annual thing they put on, with teams from all over Asia.  This is the first planned event that we have been to since moving here.  We learned a very important lesson.  This is one that people warned us about, punctuality.  It means a very different thing here, than our American brains allow us to register.  Everything that we read said the dancing was supposed to start at noon.  We got there about 11:30, went and had some lunch and walked around a bit.  We did not account for “Malaysia time”.  People started getting spots on the upper floors looking down onto where the competition was to be held so we grabbed a spot.  And we waited. B got grumpier and grumpier.  And we waited some more.

This is where competition was held.

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It finally started at 2 pm.  I sure am glad we stayed because B LOVED it.  He clapped and laughed and pointed.  It was a hit.  This is him clapping at one of the lions.

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The dancing was pretty impressive.  They do most of it up on the stilts, accompanied by a percussion team.

Here are a couple of pictures of the one of the lions.

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We had a good time even with the late start.  I have never seen this in person, it kind of reminded me of watching the Native American Dancing at the Red Earth Festival.  We really enjoyed it.  We were able to video one of the routines in its entirety.  It was a big file so we put it up on Youtube.  It is embedded here.  It is about 10 minutes long, but I think pretty interesting.  If you listen carefully there are some parts in which you can here B cheering Yay! Yay!  and clapping.

They do this for Chinese New Year in February too.  This is certainly something we will have to seek out as the opportunity arises.

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