Nine dragons to carry Kowloon
Kung fu master Lung Kai-ming, 61, has a busy schedule preparing for lion dance and dragon dance performances during the Lunar New Year holiday.
The vice-president of the Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Association will lead a team of his students performing in Tsim Sha Tsui East on the first day of the festival, when Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa and his wife will dot the eyes and decorate one of his dragons.
Since he was eight, Mr Lung has been a follower of North Shaolin, famous for the practice of 'Iron Hand' by its master Ko Yue-cheung.
Mr Lung has four children, one of whom - a full-time therapist - teaches martial arts in Canada.
What's on your mind? Last year, we were voted by television viewers as the best performing team on the first day of Lunar New Year. The trophy is still there on the shelf. Our performance this year will be more spectacular with nine dragons and five lions. We had three dragons and eight lions last time. Is there any special reason for more dragons? 'Nine dragons' means Kowloon, where the performances will take place. It also symbolises a peaceful transition to Chinese sovereignty this year. It is common in Chinese society to have dragon dances for celebration. Do you think people's mood will be different because of the handover? If the weather is good, there will be a lot of people coming to watch. The dragon dance has close ties with 'stability and prosperity'. Every country would like to see that exist in Hong Kong. The dance will have the same effect on people's mood as the fireworks. They are both Chinese traditional customs. This is also why we are holding a lion and dragon dance contest with its June-July schedule straddling the handover date. How do you score a lion or dragon dance performance? It is based on eight expressions for lion dance - happy, angry, sad, joyous, dynamic, static, frightened and suspicious. For dragon dance, which relies on good teamwork, the team has to carry out a number of patterns smoothly within a limited time.