This year we missed the first day of the 7th annual International Lion Dance Competition that I had enjoyed so much last year
. This was due to the fact I'm volunteering for the Chingay Festival
and had to be at rehearsals. But that didn't stop me and Team@AKAAWOL.com from catching Day Two of the event, "Soaring Lions Over Water" lion dance competition.
We were fortunate and honoured to be seated in the section by the VIPs and their guests. This included guest-of-honour, Grassroots Advisor Dr Lily Neo, whom we had the pleasure of meeting.
It was great fun to see the reaction from the children who were there to see the performance. It was also great that the performers played along with the kids who were trying to be brave and pet the lions.
Also I had stepped out to get photos of all the people milling outside of the event when a Singaporean girl who thought I didn't have a ticket to get in offered me her entry wristband. Her act of kindness towards a foreigner and complete stranger shows the awesomeness of the kind spirit of Singapore. I was really touched.
This event is much different from the event we saw last year. Here, it consisted of a knockout competition where in each round, two teams perform for three jaw-dropping minutes on a series of up to two-metre-high poles, before jumping across to a large platform that’s positioned over a large inflatable pool of water. Then they switch costumes to one that can take water and in a sumo-style contest, attempt to wrestle the other team into the pool. The album above highlights the action on the poles prior to the big jump to the platform, which in turn, is highlighted below.
It's clear these athletes are more than just physically fit as they perform all kinds of move that amaze and delight the audience from the very young to the young-at-heart. It's even hard to remember that these guys are performing on platforms that are two metres high and have just enough room to fit both feet on, due to the perception of ease they portray as they jump from post to post. Yet clearly one wrong move and the performer can fall to the mats below, possibly even leading to injury.
The wrestling was really a test of endurance as the performers are already a bit tired from the three-minute workout they get prior to getting on the platform. It was great to see the respect and esteem each team had for the others.
Of course for there to be a winner someone was going to have to get wet. It's a big drop into the pool and I'm not sure that it was warm enough last night for them to have enjoyed getting drenched. The audience seated in the front row (us included) was liable to get splashed, which naturally made for even more fun and excitement!
The team from Thailand did an amazing act while there was a little break. Yes, that's a lion two-man-high passing under a lion that's three-man-high. Then the towering lion that was four men high! WOW! And here’s a video of how they did it. Definitely not for those with fear of heights.
Team@AKAAWOL.com wasn't alone in the pursuit of awesome photographs at this event. In fact I'd recommend going to the next lion dance competition to any amateur photographer because it's a great experience and a chance to test your skill and equipment. (Personally, I'd much rather have had the prime lens I rented last year due to the bigger aperture and speed of focus.)
Chilli Padi was busy getting photos and posting updates to our Facebook page
too. Beside her is a lovely lady from the media. Upon chatting with her, we discovered she was representing CCTV China to get footage of the event. We also had the pleasure of meeting a fellow Singapore-loving American, the really cool guy you see seated behind Chilli Padi in this shot. Making friends on the job is always a perk!
See the typo? I spotted it and it bugged me all night. Comment below if you know what’s wrong with it.
Here’s a gif of team Thailand when they entered to compete; this team was really something else. Not only had they won the night before during the official competition, but they also performed that amazing four-man-high lion totem pole feat and then went to win this Soaring Lions Over Water
competition as well. They really seemed to be a class above the rest this year.
And here are two videos that show how they did it:
No doubt the team from Thailand was excited to win and they thoroughly deserved it. The part that really got me was after that photos you see in this gallery, they too jumped into the pool. So none of the performers were going home dry. (They had jumped from the other side of the platform so I couldn't get the photo.) It seemed like a great act of sportsmanship on their part.
If I haven't made this clear yet, I would like to say that I have a great amount of respect for the performers and all they do. I'd also like to thank the organisers for the work they put in to make the event possible.
Just in case anyone was wondering who the winners on first night were:
1st place: Thailand
2nd place: Malaysia
3rd place: Singapore
And on the night you’ve seen documented here:
1st place: Thailand
2nd place: Malaysia
3rd place: Taiwan