Fostering Unity Through Cultural Activities

A cute pink lion visited the Cultural Street today. Pic courtesy of JB Heritage Walk Committee

Cheers and delightful awes filled Jalan Tan Hiok Nee aka JB Heritage Walk aka Cultural Street in Johor Bahru today as this cute pink lion appeared.

After 30 minutes of strutting and prancing to music from a YouTube channel, the two performers of the lion dance were revealed to be Millie Kek, 56, who manipulated the paper-mache head of the lion, and Rafeah Hussein, 37, who acted as its hind legs.

Millie Kek (left) and Rafeah Hussein. Pic courtesy of JB Heritage Walk Committee

Kek and Rafeah had known each other for nearly 20 years, and when Kek invited Rafeah to try out as her sidekick for the event on Saturday, Rafeah gladly agreed.

“My partner, who is a 70-year-old auntie, had something on this Saturday so I asked Fifi (as Rafeah is affectionately known) to help me out,” said Kek, who started practising for the dance only three months ago.

“We can’t do the difficult moves such as leaping from pole to pole.  Ours is just a simple routine,” she said.

Kek, who was formerly an auditor, left her job in 1993 to venture into the insurance industry.  She is a cultural enthusiasts, and has formed a group called Sitomi comprising of like-minded women.

“Sitomi is also staging several plays at the Cultural Street. One of them is about a Hainanese matriarch who is trying to get along with a Teochew daughter-in-law. The two main characters are facing difficulties due to the communication barrier. It’s not only generation gap issues but also the dialect disparity,’ she said.

Cheers and awes of delight from the crowd. Pic courtesy of JB Heritage Walk Committee

“Cultural differences should bring people together, not pry them apart.  I find time to come to Jalan Tan Hiok Nee every Saturday as all the activities here are a cultural celebration,” Kek added.

Meanwhile, Rafeah, who works as a clerk, said she was nervous throughout the performance as she had only practiced three times before the live event.

“The most difficult part of being the hind legs of the lion was that I had to keep my back bent throughout the thirty-minute-long performance,” she said.

Rafeah said she enjoyed visiting her friends’ home and eating the cookies during the Chinese New Year.

Red packets featuring the Rabbit to usher in the Water Rabbit in 2023. Pictures courtesy of JB Heritage Walk Committee

JB Heritage Walk committee outgoing chairman Jacky Lim said the Cultural Street is always abuzz with activities on weekends, since its official launch in 2009.

“Sometimes events would start as early as 7am on a Saturday. The last activity will end at 4pm. There are also events on Sundays, but most of the events are on Saturdays.

“We will invite calligraphers, artists, musicians, dancers and other performers to showcase their talents here. Making the Heritage Walk a success is a concerted effort. It is the pride of the Chinese community in Johor and a cultural celebration for all,” Lim said.

Target Red Zones For Lockdown

Only red zones should be locked down while businesses in green zones should be allowed to operate in order to revive the economy.


Target red zones for lockdown
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels


By Michael Tay, who is the Johor Covid-19 Pandemic Taskforce chairman, and also Johor MCA Government Coordinating Chairman.


It is not logical nor does it make economic sense to lock down the safe zones or compare Johor with other states that have a high Covid-19 infection rate.


I would urge the Federal Government and also the Johor Menteri Besar to allow eateries, hair salons and shopping malls which are not in the red zones to reopen.


It’s not about getting vaccinated anymore.  People’s savings are depleting due to the pandemic.  Some have already started using their retirement funds.


We should follow Sabah’s model.  The Federal Government should not impose excessive restrictions on any state which do not have a high infectivity rate.


I once again urge the Federal Government to let the Menteri Besar and his committee of health professionals from the state to draw up their own SOPs in battling the pandemic.


The Menteri Besar should know the red zones, the safe zones, and the landscape and demography of his state better than anyone else.  If the Menteri Besar of a state is not a health expert, then the health personnels from the top hospitals should be tasked to advise him.


The public would thank the Federal Government if businesses can re-open, as many entrepreneurs and industries are hanging by a thread over the continued lockdown.


Food court and restaurants that offer only takeaways are not earning enough to sustain their business.


The Federal Government should adopt a decentralized approach.  Let each state have its own SOP.


I sympathise with the healthcare workers but I also hear the pleas of small business owners and those who have lost their jobs, who have depleted all their savings and are turning into paupers, some are resorting to a life of crime while some are contemplating suicides.


It has been reported that textile and apparel factories have ceased operations since last year, leaving about 6,000 employees retrenched.   The chain reaction of that was numerous small-medium enterprises have also shut down or downsized causing about 15,000 to lose their jobs.


The problem with Selangor having such huge spike in the number of Covid-19 cases is because of the foreign workers in factories.  Many of these workers are believed to be illegal, so they try to avoid getting caught.  Majikan perlu ambil tanggungjawab saring pekerja asing


Factory owners should conduct tests at their own premises and isolate the workers who tested positive.  This would prevent the infected ones from spreading the virus to others.


Targeted lockdowns should be practiced, and those who have received two doses of the vaccine should be allowed more freedom, if they are well.  So, please don’t miss your appointment if you have been called up.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in Your Say are those of the contributor, not the blog owner.


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