Ramlah is the fourth person from the right on the second row.
Ramlah de Rose
Dance, Dance Revolutionary
Ramlah de Rose, 54, may be visually impaired, but that has not deterred her from creating a buzz and looking to motivate cancer survivors and patients through her dance group “Be Hype & Be Happy”.
Since a tender age, Ramlah has been attracted to dance and movement. Ramlah would imitate the dance moves she saw on television, and as a secondary school student in the 1980s, she joined the Malay dance group at the community club, where she honed her skills.
Ramlah’s experience with Chingay has come a long way. With the Malay dance group, she recalls performing with the community club in a street parade at Bendemeer, near where she lived.
Continuing her dance journey, she explains, “Some time around 2010, I joined a belly dancing school. At this school, students like me participated in performances. That experience gave me exposure and built my confidence to perform publicly. In fact, the school didn’t just teach me belly dancing, I learned the samba and fusion dance as well.”
Her love for dance that led from one thing to another.
Saying ‘Yes’ Three Times
A friend who was a member of the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) approached her to join the organisation’s performing contingent for Chingay 2017. Ramlah was game.
After Chingay 2017, SCS had a fundraiser called ‘Relay for Life’. They approached Ramlah and asked if she could form a group to perform for their event at Bukit Gombak Stadium. She agreed the second time.
Then, for the third time, SCS asked if she could form a dance group for their patients and survivors. Despite her challenges with her vision, Ramlah said a resounding ‘yes’.
She shares enthusiastically, “We don’t know (the pain) they were going through because while some of the SCS participants are survivors, some were still undergoing treatment. Yet, during practices, I noticed that they were enjoying themselves. Dancing helped them forget their problems.”
And that’s how Be Hype Be Happy began in May 2017.
Setting Goals: Being Part of Chingay
With a group of fun-loving participants between the ages of 50 and 80, Ramlah looked actively for events they could be part of as a goal for Be Hype Be Happy to work towards. Being part of Chingay 2020 was a big target.
“I wanted to boost their morale, motivate them, get them to exercise and keep fit.” Ramlah continued, “It is also a sense of pride to be part of the action in a national event.
Participating in Chingay 2020 was not without its challenges. As a contingent in the parade, participants had to dance from the start point to The Float @ Marina Bay. The distance they had to dance, their health, and the new disease called COVID-19 were at the top of Ramlah’s mind then.
“The group did it! I was very proud and happy,” exclaimed Ramlah, “It was a great satisfaction to be able to do it, even though some of them were not too well. And hearing about COVID-19 at that time was concerning too, but our group members remained committed.”
Always in the Groove
Be Hype Be Happy’s physical activities had to cease in line with national COVID-19 restrictions.
Still, Be Hype Be Happy never lost momentum.
Towards end 2020, enthusiasm reigned as the group joined We’ve Got Talent! with an online dance performance titled “Fight Song”, based on the chart-topping hit by Rachel Platten. This time, visually impaired members from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, of which Ramlah is a client, joined hands with the SCS cancer survivors in the performance.
“It was my dream to teach the visually impaired how to dance. To have them dance with the cancer survivors made it extremely meaningful. They are survivors facing their challenges, yet they send the message to all Singaporeans not to give up during the pandemic.”
Hopes and Dreams for Chingay
Ramlah’s optimism is infectious as she aspires to involve everyone in future parades. She would love to see neighborhood parades again, just like the old days.
“I also hope that more special needs performers, such as wheelchair users, will be involved with Chingay,” she beams.