Halau Ka Lei Kukui Hi’ilani has an overseas extension on the Southeast Asian island of Singapore, which is an independent Republic. It was started as a Singaporean hula ministry in May 2011 and in March 2012 was officially recognised by Kumu Lei as an offshore branch of our halau. This group from Singapore of eager and enthusiastic ladies is led by alaka’i Namiko Chan Takahashi under Kumu Lei’s direction.
Christmas 2012 saw Ka Pa Hula Ka Lei Maile Hi’ilani taking to the streets in Singapore’s central shopping district as part of the Celebrate Christmas in Singapore movement, an annual gathering of local churches and arts ministries to share the spirit and story of Christ’s birth with all citizens, residents and tourists. Participants share carols, Christmas hymns and a few general pieces through their chosen medium; whether through song or dance or other art forms. It’s our annual chance to proclaim Jesus publicly across the nation.
On 21 December, the Islandgals performed at the Tong Building in Orchard Road, the heart of Singapore’s biggest and most crowded shopping district. We were joined by various groups who are not part of the halau but who wanted to learn more about hula and partner with us for this big event. On 22 December, we were at Millenia Walk which is another mall closer to the Central Business District. We had friends from Calvin Chong’s ukulele ministry providing live music for a few numbers. Daniel Ang, one of our halau sisters’ husbands, accompanied us with a slack key guitar rendition for Ua Mau!
December brings us not only to Christmas but also to the annual Festival of Lights, a special month-long celebration in memory of Josie Chansky’s one-of-a-kind handmade folk art Christmas decorations made from recycled materials. Elizabeth Freeman took over the curation of the collection in 1996 and initiated the very first official Festival, which has been delighting locals and visitors ever since.
Our halau’s Kapaa Keiki Class performed the Jingle Bells hula accompanied by the Kaua’i Chorale at the 2012 festivities held in Lihu’e. Then Santa and the keiki began the light-up countdown—10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one—upon which every tree on the lawn fronting the Historic County Building was lit. The effect was beautifully magical. After this, the parade began on Rice Street with creatively adorned festive floats.
Part of the Festival’s yearly dazzling display are Christmas trees decorated with recycled materials. In the photos, you can see Alysse and Makamae standing next to this year’s featured tree, decorated with recycled tin cans. We are glad to be part of our community’s Christmas celebrations, honouring the aloha spirit shared by two very special ladies, while also encouraging the environmentally-friendly practice of recycling!