(video courtesy of Seldon Su)
I have done many lion dances for the Kung Fu Federation banquet and for Kung Fu Federation events. I remember one time we went to Mohegan Sun and Chan Bak Fahn actually jumped on the Dragon head. Many times he and Mr. Yee would grab the lion thinking, "Aiya this lo fahn or youngster doesn't know! Make sure he gives the orange to so and so!" As a youngster, I guess the first time this might have been helpful since you can forget what to do. However, often times we rehearsed a lot and thought, "Let me do my lion dance!" I was flashing back through all these memories 15 some years of lion dance, as I watched this funeral lion dance from the back. I was thinking maybe Henry Yee's spirit is right there saying, "Go over there! Bow to my body! Now over here! Now over there!"
It was weird to think if it was for another event of course he would be giving directions, wanted or not, but here we were doing it for him, but he wasn't here. (Well physically anyway, depending on your belief system) The drum the ritual of it really brought me into a deeper mourning and deeper remembrance. I thought of all the performances we did together and other times when we played a solemn beat. Some celebratory, some activist. The Protest Parade against the pogroms in Indonesia against ethnic Chinese, the protest against immigration crackdowns on the commons. But also all the banquets, years and years of them for various new Years events.It was a weird kind of sadness. A good sadness. A sweet solemness like the candy passed out at the door.