Sam Jee Lek

 

Street swagger

Article from the Sun daily by Rachel Law (posted on 28 July 2015)

A CHILD'S desired pursuit for b-boying or breaking (aka breakdancing) is probably not going to sit comfortably with his or her parents. B-boy to watch Sam Jee Lek, fondly known as Lego Sam, playfully chided the overexposure of parents to Hong Kong dramas, which he thinks are responsible for perpetuating the association between b-boying and illicit gang activities.

The baby-faced lad, who recently walked away as victor of the prestigious Red Bull BC One Malaysian championship, unveiled his share of the struggle: "My mum didn't support me at first. She thought dancing is a waste of time and had preferred that I study hard. But I was a stubborn child; I danced anyway. I joined and won multiple competitions to prove to her that I can go far through dancing," said Sam, whose stage name derived from his childhood love for the toy bricks that his mother used to bring home.

Growing up, Sam was fascinated by b-boying stunts he saw on television. He was experimenting with handstands at home until a friend brought him along to attend dancing classes when he was 13. The Cheras bloke hasn't looked back ever since and is now indulging in his passion full-time; teaching, performing, competing and occasionally judging contests.

This October will witness the 20 year-old representing Malaysia for the first time at the Red Bull BC One Asia Pacific Final 2015 in Seoul, South Korea.

What do you love about bboying?

It challenges me in a way that's different from other dances. Learning a move can take three to six months or up to a year! It took me over a year to master the air track. Every move is difficult and we often get injured.

Yikes. What was the worst injury you've gotten?

I broke my left hand from doing a front flip and it took half a year to recover! I am quite sad because my left hand isn't as strong anymore. I can use only 50% of its strength now.

Do you face any other challenges as a b-boy?

Surviving is a challenge. You may love dancing and what you do but when you don't get shows, you don't really know what to do. There's no security in terms of income. But teaching helps me get by.

Who do you look up to?

Thias Lopez aka Thesis from the United States and Shorty Force from South Korea. Both of them are strong in all four elements of b-boying (toprock, downrock/footwork, freezes and power moves). To me, you must be good at all four to be a good b-boy.

Tell me about your tattoos.

I have seven and each means something to me, for instance the cross on my right oblique represents my faith. My favourite is the one of my name (Lego Sam) across the chest, which I got done when I was 17 – but I'm not a bad kid! I just love the artistry of tattoos.

Is there anything you wish to change about the b-boying scene?

I hope to see a more competitive atmosphere; a different person championing the local scene because Malaysia is often represented by the same bboy for two to three consecutive years. We need to see more kids coming up and beating us! I also want to uplift the Malaysian b-boying scene when I travel for competitions.

Finally, what does b-boying mean to you?

Peace, love, fun and unity. It doesn't matter who we are and where we come from, b-boys gather together wherever we are because of our passion for dancing.

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