INTRODUCING traditional Chinese lion dance in secondary schools helped to clear the misconception that the activity was one for gangsters, said the instructor of the Martial Arts and Lion Dance Club of Po Leung Kuk 1984 Prevocational School. A martial arts and lion dance instructor, Kwok Wing-cheong said the history of some lion dance clubs and certain prominent members created a very bad image of the activity which sometimes deterred parents from allowing their children to take part in it. 'It was associated with triads and people somehow thought it was something for gangsters only,' said the 57-year-old veteran. Promoting lion dance in secondary schools is a positive step towards clearing its bad image. Mr Kwok said one of the positive aspects of the activity was the physical training. It also helps train the participant's sense of rhythm and music because 'the lion must always move according to the beat of the drum and the gong'. Students can also cultivate a sense of unity. 'A lion dance team is a real team. Students learn to co-operate with each other. Any lack of co-ordination on anybody's part would spoil the entire performance,' Mr Kwok said. To be a good lion dance performer, one has to understand and be able to imitate the movements and gestures of a lion. 'Once you put on the lion head, you should always remind yourself that you are the lion and every move you make must resemble that of a lion.' Like humans, lions follow certain customs in their society. 'When a young lion meets an older lion, its way of greeting differs from that with a lion of similar age. And when a lion passes a temple, it stops and pays tribute to the god,' Mr Kwok said. With most performers being males, people might get the impression that the lion dance is not for females, but that is not true. 'You can become a good performer as long as you have a strong interest and can use your skills, strength and emotions effectively.' The club, formed this year, has 75 members and meets twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday. DO YOU have a friend with an unusual hobby? Does your school have a unique club or association you would like other students to know about? If there is, drop us a line with a brief summary. Novelty Corner, Young Post, GPO Box 47, Hong Kong, or fax us on 811-1048.