In The News: PAS okays I-Dance campaign

http://sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=28382

Thu, 11 Dec 2008 

by Opalyn Mok

GEORGE TOWN (Dec 10, 2008):
 PAS leaders here have given the I-Dance Campaign the thumbs up after the state government agreed to segregate male Muslim participants from the female dancers.

At a meeting between PAS leaders and state government officials last weekend to discuss issues raised by PAS concerning the potential “unhealthy” elements of the campaign, it was agreed that female and male Muslim participants would not be allowed to perform dances together.

State sports and youth exco Ong Kok Fooi said the earlier objections by PAS against the dance campaign was due to a misunderstanding about some details.

“We had to explain to them the details of the campaign and that we are actually encouraging youths to participate in healthy activities like street dancing in an open air environment instead of them going to nightclubs and discos,” she said.

At the meeting, the PAS leaders hoped non-Muslim dance participants would also be segregated in the campaign activities although it was not a requirement.

“They also wanted to ensure that the I-Dance activities are closely monitored and that public decency is observed,” Ong said.

After hearing the explanations of the campaign details, Penang PAS chairman Ustaz Mohd Salleh Man was satisfied that the campaign had positive values which are good for youths.

“We find that the activities in this campaign will be good and healthy for youths and could keep them away from drugs and alcohol,” he said, adding that the attire consisting of sports outfits and based on safety, is also acceptable.

As for objections by Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) that the activity was being promoted in schools to students, Ong said it was done with permission from the schools.

“Furthermore, we only promote the event after the school exams. This is a non-profit event meant for youths,” she said.

The I-Dance Campaign group will meet with CAP officials  this week to explain the details of the campaign.

Ong said the campaign would help reduce social ills as it features dances popular among youths, such as hip hop, modern dance and breakdance.

“Street dancing could counter negative vices such as loafing, vandalism, illegal racing, drug and alcohol abuse as it is held in open air public places and requires quite a lot of coordination and energy,” she said.

The I-Dance Competition, organised by Danzity Dance House, is being held for the second time this year after the success of the Penang Street Dance Competition in 2007.

Activities under the campaign, which started last August, include dance workshops, I-Dance campus rally and weekly hip hop classes.

The culmination of the campaign will be the Penang Street Dance Competition 2008 at New World Park on Dec 20 (preliminary rounds) and at Queensbay Mall on Dec 27 (finals).

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