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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (March 1, 2021)
ASIA / PACIFIC
March 1, 2021
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 5
Dragon dance ban saddens Manila residents
By Aaron Favila
The Associated Press
ANILA, The Philippines —
Raucous dragon dance shows
have been banned in Manila’s
Chinatown due to the pandemic, casting
aside a crowd-drawing Lunar New Year
tradition many believe helps drive misfor-
The Philippine government’s ban on
large public gatherings and street parties
to fight the coronavirus dealt a big blow to
hundreds of dragon dancers and
production crews who are struggling to
find other sources of income.
“There would have been large crowds
wanting to drive away the misery and bad
luck, but our street dance shows were
prohibited this year,” said Therry Sicat, a
Filipino slum-dweller who with his
siblings manages one of several dragon
dance troupes in Chinatown.
“If we had 100% fun in the past, I only
feel 30% of that this time around. It’s really
depressing,” said the 31-year-old, whose
wife is pregnant with their fourth child.
The absence of the dragon dances is a
palpable sign for many Manila residents
that the pandemic crisis that shut down
much of Manila’s economy and locked
down millions of Filipinos in their homes is
spilling over well into this year. But Sicat,
his siblings, and their families are fighting
to keep the Chinese tradition — and their
livelihood — alive.
After the dragon dances were banned by
Manila’s mayor, Sicat and his family used
their Styrofoam, paint, and other dragon
costume-making materials to craft
decorative miniature Chinese-style lion
heads instead. The colorful items have
become a hit online and fill their small
creekside home with hope and joy. About
200 have been sold so far, priced at 1,500
pesos ($30) each, he said.
Other members of his dragon dance
troupe, which employs about 50 dancers,
have set up online food businesses or are
working as motorcycle food deliverymen to
make ends meet, Sicat said.
Sicat’s profits from the decorative lion
heads are just a fraction of the income
generated by their dragon dance shows in
the past. During the busy Lunar New Year
season in past years, a Chinatown
business establishment would pay 35,000
pesos ($720) for a session of dragon and
lion dancing accompanied by drummers
and merrymakers for good luck.
Sicat still brims with optimism despite
the dire economic times in one of the
countries hardest hit by the pandemic in
Southeast Asia. He said he looks forward
to the return of the hope-inspiring dragon
dances and to hearing the drums again.
“There’s no Chinese New Year, but we
are all healthy. We can survive this
pandemic,” Sicat said.
The Philippines has reported more than
576,000 COVID-19 infections, the second
highest number in Southeast Asia after
Indonesia, and 12,318 deaths.
About 70 million Filipinos are to be
DRAGON DANCE DETERRED. Robert Sicat,
left photo, sprays a protective coating on a dragon
head at a creekside slum in Manila’s Chinatown in the
Philippines on February 4, 2021. The dragon and lion
dancers did not perform this year after the Manila city
government banned dragon dances, street parties,
stage shows, and any other similar activities during
celebrations for the Lunar New Year due to COVID-19
restrictions, leaving several businesses without in-
come. After the dragon dances were banned by
Manila’s mayor, Sicat and his family used their
Styrofoam, paint, and other dragon costume-making
materials to craft decorative miniature Chinese-style
lion heads instead. (AP Photos/Aaron Favila)
vaccinated with the hope that it will help
Manila’s devastated economy bounce
AP journalist Joeal Calupitan contributed to this story.
Hindu festival draws crowds of bathers to rivers
By Rajesh Kumar Singh
The Associated Press
RAYAGRAJ, India — Millions of
people have joined the 45-day
Hindu bathing festival in the
northern Indian city of Prayagraj, where
devotees take a dip at Sangam, the sacred
confluence of several rivers. There, they
bathe on certain days considered to be
auspicious in the belief they will be
cleansed of all sins.
Rows and rows of colorful tents, in which
the devotees stay, line the sprawling
festival site. Millions of Hindus travel
every year to the event, called Magh Mela,
where pilgrims offer prayers and enter the
holy waters where the Ganga, Yamuna,
and mythical Saraswati rivers meet.
In Hinduism, this period is called
Kalpvas and the devotees who choose to
stay for the entire time are known as
Kalpvasis. They give up their daily routine
and instead camp at the site, living on
frugal meals and performing rituals.
Virender Kumar Shukla, a Kalpvasi
devotee, is attending for the fifth time. He
said he hopes by offering prayers to “find a
Continued on page 7
Attention, Multnomah County renters!
Your eviction moratorium protections are changing
Starting February 1, 2021, Multnomah County renters will
be covered by the Oregon statewide eviction moratorium,
which protects tenants from eviction for nonpayment or
without cause until June 30, 2021. The repayment grace
period also ends on June 30. This means that renters will
have until July 1, 2021, to pay back the money they owe.
You must take action to stay protected
To be protected from eviction for nonpayment or eviction
without cause, sign and return the “Declaration of Financial
Hardship for Eviction Protection” form to your landlord
Get the form
You can download the form at multco.us/covid-eviction.
You can also pick up a paper copy of the form at any
Multnomah County Library location.
Return the form soon
You can return the form to your landlord in person or by
mail. You can also take a photo of the form and send it to
your landlord by email or text message.
Renters are encouraged to submit the form to landlords as
soon as possible. Although landlords are required to give
their renters information about the moratorium protections
with a copy of the declaration form, you are encouraged to
submit the form even before receiving the notice.
Learn more at multco.us/ covid-eviction
Year of the Ox!
February 12, 2021 to
January 31, 2022