Lion dancers bid tearful farewell to comrade

RAWANG - Two lion dance troupes banded together to give one of their own an emotional send-off that honoured her love of the traditional performance.

At the funeral of 18-year-old Choo Heng Poh here yesterday, the raucous sounds of the lion dance rang out as members of Rawang's Quan Yi Dragon and Lion Dance troupe and their counterparts from the Kuala Lumpur Xinyang Athletics Association beat the drums and cymbals amidst a sombre atmosphere.

There were no prancing lions but it was a poignant affair that also attracted curious neighbours in Taman Rawang Perdana.

The troupe members later led the funeral procession out of Choo's house towards Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, where the teenager was cremated.

Choo played cymbals for the Quan Yi group since its inception four years ago.

The girl died after she was hit by an out-of-control lorry in Subang Bestari at 1pm last Wednesday.

Heng Mun, 23, said her sister took part in lion dance not only as a hobby but a source of income too.

Read Also: "I'm in pain": Teen's dying words to lion dance instructor

Tears rolled down her cheeks as the grie­ving sibling sang along to the Mandarin song Jin Sheng Yuan (Destiny) by Chinese folk sin­ger Chuan Zi, at the funeral.

Choo's lion dance instructor, known only as Yan, 43, also broke down while singing to the solemn tune.

Days earlier, Yan had asked Choo to hang on and not be afraid as she lay dying in his arms by the roadside.

Photo: The Star/ANN

She died an hour after being rushed to a private medical centre in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

Also present at the funeral to pay their last respects were Choo's family members, friends and schoolmates from SMK Rawang.

The prayer ritual started at about 1pm, followed by mourners singing Mandarin songs.

Pallbearers loaded the casket onto the hearse an hour later for the funeral procession.

Choo leaves Heng Mun, a 24-year-old bro­ther and their 49-year-old mother.

The girl and her troupe members were off-loading equipment from their truck when three of them were struck by a lorry.

The injured teammates have since recover­ed.

Sungai Buloh OCPD Supt Dr Abdul Aziz Awang Darus had said the 63-year-old lorry driver could have had an asthma attack when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the truck parked by the roadside.

The lorry driver and his attendant were at the hospital and went on their knees to beg for forgiveness from Choo's family.

Police recorded their statements yesterday.