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The Sight Of Borneo Kirin

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Synopsis: Kirin, a mythical creature in Chinese culture, has appeared in various art forms such as painting, sculpture, and dance throughout China. It symbolizes peace, prosperity, and harmony. It plays a big part in Chinese Hakka culture, especially during Chinese New Year. It gathers people together and shows unity.

In the year 1883, when the Hakka people started arriving in Sabah (North Borneo), they brought the Kirin dance culture along with them. It started with a group of carpenters who performed the dance during festivals. Back then, even Catholic schools used the Kirin dance for fundraising. The dance serves beyond religious boundaries.

The Kirin dance peaked during the millennium year. Dance teams were everywhere around the state of Sabah. However, due to the tough training, the high level of commitment needed, and the lack of support from the Chinese community, there was always a shortage of new blood.

As the elders start retiring, the Kirin dance inevitably faced its downfall. Nowadays, the value of the dance has less recognition. People often view it simply as a moneymaking tool.

However, some still fight to keep the culture of the Kirin alive.

Notably, The Hakka Association Sabah. They looked into its history, going through archives and documents and conducting interviews, in an effort to preserve the Kirin dance culture.

There is also a group of young Kirin dancers who are passionate about the dance. They try to be innovative, ease the learning curve, and make it more appealing to the masses. However, things haven't been smooth all the time. The group faced challenges when they tried to mix Kirin dancing with a traditional local dance. It wasn't well received. The group has yet to find a breakthrough.

The Kirin dance is more than just a cultural dance. It promotes unity in the community and is also a driving force to raise funds for education. It is a part of Sabah's history.

Director: Pentium Tee joined the filmmaking industry in 2017. He is a producer, director and editor, focussing on short and feature length documentaries. He has won awards in the China Sabah Short Film Competition & Hopes Imago Short Film Competition.

  • Genre : Documentary
  • Director(s) : Pentium Tee
  • Run Time : 60m (followed by Q&A)
  • Release Year : 2022
  • Country : Sabah, Malaysia
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