14 June 2018

Amid the loud noise of firecrackers, drums, cymbals and confetti cannons, VACC apprentice Michael Ho has to maintain his focus and concentration on routine, movement and fluency. 

 

Fourth-year apprentice motor mechanic, Ho is a lion dance performer for his Vietnamese Buddhist youth group, Dai Bi Quan Am.

 

Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in many Asian countries in which performers mimic a lion’s movement in a colourful lion costume.

The lion dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other cultural and religious festivals and is thought to bring good luck and scare away the evil spirits. It may also be performed at business grand opening events, wedding ceremonies and movie premieres.


“Hearing the drum roll to start the performance is a real adrenaline rush for me,” Ho told Australian Automotive. “It’s thrilling and it makes me happy that I bring joy to so many people watching my performance. When I was a child I use to get excited and loved watching the lion dance and all these years later I’m performing. It’s great to see all these young children now watching me.”

 
Currently working at 3 Point Motors an authorised Mercedes-Benz dealership in Fairfield, the 21-year-old Ho started in his youth group and the lion dance team after his friend in year seven at secondary school suggested that he try it out.

 
With the lion’s head weighing approximately five kilograms, lion dancers need to be fit and very agile as they perform numerous acrobatic moves. Ho trains with his team throughout the year as often as he can. They practice new routines using different props, various movements, jumps and instrument playing.

In the weeks leading up to the busy Chinese New Year celebrations, training is ramped up to three days a week for two or three hour sessions. Keeping fit can mean weight lifting, running, aerobic exercises and constant stage performance rehearsals.

“Michael is an impressive young man,” says VACC Apprenticeship Field Manager, Steve Tye Din. “He goes about his daily tasks in the workshop without any fuss or commotion. He has completed all his trade schooling and is a great worker and try’s very hard to improve his skills and knowledge. To be a volunteer and give up so much of his time to perform the lion dance for so many years is a real credit to him.” 

When Ho completes his apprenticeship he intends to stay with 3 Point Motors and keep on improving his trade skills to become a master diagnostic technician.

 He also plans to get engaged to his partner Jenny, a team member who assists in the lion dance performance. They both share a love of cars and are considering buying a Honda S2000 or an imported Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution wagon.   

“I also want to travel overseas to Japan with my partner and go back and visit relatives and tour Vietnam. I was only four-years old when I was there last time and don’t remember much but I’ve been told it has changed a lot,” Ho added.