He is only 19 years old but Leon Ng founded Qing Wei Cultural Troupe and is also the troupe leader. Currently he is still pursuing his studies in Diploma of Product Design and he juggles his time with studies, lion dance performance, making lion head, and sharing his knowledge. Leon is the youngest lion dance maker and today we have the honour to interview him.
1. At what age did you started learning lion dance? What influenced you?
Leon : I started to get involve with lion dancing since I was very young about 5 years old under the influence of my uncle. My dream since young was to own a troupe of my own.
2. Many people place tags on lion dance such as lower educated, gangs,
etc. What is your take on that?
Leon : Its the past of lion dance troupes they see, times have change now. People and the whole society changed too. They should look at lion dance now as an international sport and also understand the culture behind lion dance than to judge a book by its cover.
3. What would you do to change their opinions?
Leon : We would continue to do the best in our part and let the public see that lion dance then is no longer the same as lion dance now. We will provide good services and proper image to the public. We would also give back to the society by doing charity and offering free performance to old aged homes and orphanages during Chinese New Year.
4. What age did you started making lion heads? How did it happen?
Leon : This passion started since I was 10 years old. I was mesmerised by the beautiful and bright coloured lion heads from Hong Kong but lions were costly at that time which I could not afford. So I said to myself that why not I try doing my own? I went to troupes to take their unwanted lions and dismantle them to their skeleton frame to try to understand the process. But it was not as easy as I thought to be, I went through a lot of trial and error, a lot of time and money was also spent in the process. However they were not wasted. As years goes by, many seniors offered me tips and taught me some techniques to making and painting a lion and dragon head. Numerous practise and advices had brought to my skills today. I am still not perfect yet and is still undergoing the learning process to make my products even better.
5. How long does it take for you to make one lion head?
Leon : Till now I do not built the whole lion from scratch but rather on repair and refurbish works. I am more focused on making dragons. I take my own time to complete a work depending on my work and school schedule.
6. What fulfillment do you get from making lion heads?
Leon : It’s a satisfaction that cannot be explained when I get to see my products coming to live during a performance.
7. To continue this art, would you teach others how to do it?
Leon : I do not mind sharing what I know and do a little of my part to share this art so that it can be continued for generations to come. This culture has gone through thousands of years and I wish to be part of it to bring this forward.