Meeting lion head maker a CNY dream come true for Sabah teen with muscular dystrophy

Annen (in orange) was over the moon when he got to meet Siow (bottom right), who has been crafting lion heads for more than 30 years. — Picture courtesy of Teoh Teik Hoong
Annen (in orange) was over the moon when he got to meet Siow (bottom right), who has been crafting lion heads for more than 30 years. — Picture courtesy of Teoh Teik Hoong

PETALING JAYA, Jan 9 — It was a roaring delight for 17-year-old Annen Keith Tec Chuan when he got to meet veteran lion head maker Siow Ho Phiew at Hospital Likas in Kota Kinabalu recently.

The teenager with muscular dystrophy was treated to a lively lion dance performance by Siow who also sat down with him to share key tips on crafting the perfect lion head.

The meeting was made possible by Children’s Wish Society (CWS) Malaysia who sought out the artisan after hearing of Annen's passionate enthusiasm for lion head-making.

A love for the traditional dance began when Annen was a young boy and he recently embarked on making a lion head himself using bamboo and papier-mache.

His finished work of art is set to be displayed at the Sabah Art Gallery’s “New Talent Exhibition” from January 13 onwards.

Annen loves every aspect of lion dancing and even got to participate as a drummer at a lion dance performance two years ago. — Picture courtesy of Teoh Teik Hoong
Annen loves every aspect of lion dancing and even got to participate as a drummer at a lion dance performance two years ago. — Picture courtesy of Teoh Teik Hoong

CWS Malaysia vice-president Teoh Teik Hoong, who flew in with Siow for the meet-up, said the society received a special request from Annen in early December last year.

As a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of lion head-making experience under his belt, Siow has been a long-time idol for many lion dance enthusiasts including Annen.

“With help from Guan-Di Temple Bandar Sunway chairman Koay Teng Koon, we met up with Master Siow at his workshop in Selangor and conveyed Annen’s wish to meet him.

“Master Siow was elated and immediately agreed to fly in to meet his number one fan and to share with him some tips on how to make better lion heads,” said Teoh in a press release posted on CWS Malaysia’s Facebook.

Siow (right) giving a fiery performance at the drums. — Picture courtesy of Teoh Teik Hoong
Siow (right) giving a fiery performance at the drums. — Picture courtesy of Teoh Teik Hoong

Teoh also thanked the management and doctors of Women and Children Hospital in Likas, volunteers from Sabah, and The Klagan Regency Kota Kinabalu who helped make the meeting a success.

“CWS is a national society dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of terminally ill children across the country.

“We are no stranger to Sabah as we fulfilled more than 200 wishes in Sabah since we started in 2008.

“It warms our hearts every time we see a young boy or girl smile when their wish is fulfilled.”

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