Lion Dance Singapore — Multi Cultural Fusion of Malay Traditional Music Instruments and Martial Arts
Malay Muslims in Malaysia could adopt the Chinese Lion Dance. The Chinese Lion Dance is performed accompanied by the music of beating of drums, cymbals, and gongs. Suppose the Chinese Lion Dance was adopted by Malay Muslims in Malaysia, traditional malay musical instruments such as membranophone (drum-sounds produced by membrane-covered musical instruments) such as the gendang, geduk, gedombak, rebana, kompang, tar and jidor drums AND idiophone (percussion instruments of fixed immovable surface), such as gong, kesi, canag, saron, kenong, gambang kayu, bonang, etc; could be used instead.
Lion Dance Singapore has close relations to kung fu or Wu Shu (武術) and the dancers are usually martial art members of the local kung fu club or school. Suppose the Chinese Lion Dance was adopted by Malay Muslims in Malaysia, Silat Melayu could be used instead.
For countries like Malaysia with a substantial Chinese population, local expertise may be available in making the “lion” costumes and musical instruments without having to import them from China. Suppose the Chinese
Lion Dance was adopted by Malay Muslims in Malaysia, materials and/or motifs associated with Silat Melayu and traditional Malay musical instruments or Malay motifs in general could be incorporated into its design. Green? The spectrum of possibilities hence variations depending on the quality and degree to which each element and sub-element is introduced in proportion to others are endless and exciting, not only craft-martial arts-music elementwise but also Chinese-Malay elementwise creating a wide range of hybrids.
This would preferably require the Chinese and Malay communities to work in tandem or one relative to the other to not only promote intercultural innovation which would shift our mindset from being merely a consumer of foreign cultural innovation to one of a producer but more importantly intercultural understanding. This would also breathe fresh life into the arts as a whole and may even revive lesser known and more traditional elements or forms by bringing them to the forefront hence increasing their visibility and making them more relevant to our cultural climate as a result of this fusing of worlds made possible only through an art form as dynamic and multifaceted as the Chinese Lion Dance combining craft, martial arts and music bringing together in a particular fashion elements that would otherwise not be seen together.
Fluidity is the essence of survival
The Chinese Lion Dance troupes could also use Chinese rhythms with Malay musical instruments and players (CM) or vice versa — Malay rhythms with Chinese musical instruments (MC), a combination of Chinese and Malay instruments, various composition of Malay musical instruments and players, Chinese gestures and poses AND rhythms with Malay musical instruments and players (C-CM), Chinese rhythms with Malay gestures and poses AND musical instruments and players (M-CM), Malay rhythms with Chinese gestures and poses AND musical instruments (C-MC), Malay gestures and poses AND rhythms with Chinese musical instruments (M-MC) assuming a standard set of Chinese musical instruments yet to be determined and identified are played by Chinese players alone and a standard set of Malay musical instruments yet to be determined and identified are played by Malay players alone.
Suppose the hypothetical standard set of Chinese musical instruments yet to be determined and identified isn’t met in any way, shape or form, the resulting art form would be different. Suppose the hypothetical standard set of Malay musical instruments yet to be determined and identified isn’t met in any way, shape or form, the resulting art form would be different. Introduce Chinese musical instruments into the mix and vice versa and the resulting art form would be different.
The possibilities are literally endless.
Lion Dance Singapore has been in the forefront of fusion arts within Singapore’s diverse cultural scene, and the constant demand for performance arts that encompasses the various ethnicity that makes up Singapore, the events scene will move towards creating a unique identity of Singapore, which is more commonly known as the “Rojak-Culture”. Donald Trump and Kim’s visit to the little island further affirms Singapore’s position as a hub for the MICE industry, which will push Singapore as the place to be for visits to Asia.
Most overseas event companies enjoy having Lion Dance Singapore to perform for their event as they understand that Lion Dance Singapore has the capacity to cater for bespoke performances that encompasses the various ethnic dances without compromising on excitement. While many may argue that this is creating a “pseudo-culture”, the truth is that Singapore’s diverse identity is Singapore’s culture.