Hip-hop dancers Cha Cha Kong and Lil Fat prove dropping out of school doesn't always end in disaster

Hip-hop dancers Cha Cha Kong and Lil Fat prove dropping out of school doesn't always end in disaster

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Lil Fat (right) was one of Cha Cha Kong's star students, whose life was transformed by dancing.
Lil Fat (right) was one of Cha Cha Kong's star students, whose life was transformed by dancing.
Photo: May Tse/SCMP

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Cha Cha Kong (top) and Ma Wai-tim (above) turn expectations on their heads.
Cha Cha Kong (top) and Ma Wai-tim (above) turn expectations on their heads.
Photo: May Tse/SCMP

Failure, underachiever, worthless. These are just some of the common terms that Hongkongers use to refer to people who drop out of secondary school.

Unable to find any sense of achievement at school, these people often hang around on the streets and end up getting into trouble with the law.

Cha Cha Kong Mun-chai, a dance instructor at Youth Outreach's School of Hip Hop, is all too familiar with these stories. He, too, was a lost soul before he discovered the world of hip-hop dancing.

"I hated school. I left after finishing Form Three," he says. "It was really frustrating not knowing what to do with my life. Then I started to dance on the street because I thought it was cool. Later I realised it was what I loved doing which gave me my goal in life - to be a dancer."

With a goal in mind, Kong started looking for ways to improve his dancing. He soon discovered Youth Outreach, a group that helps young people stay out of trouble by teaching them how to dance.

"It was a perfect match," he says.

"I started learning to dance at Youth Outreach, then they offered me a job to help out at the 'Hang Out' - a place where people can enjoy themselves instead of wandering the streets."


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Every week, Kong, along with social workers, visits different districts of Hong Kong. They are on the look-out for anyone that might need his help.

"People tend to be wary about talking to social workers," he says. "It's easier for me, a dancer, to approach them. If I can get them interested in dancing, there is a much greater chance that social workers can help them."

This month, at only 27 years old, Kong was given the important task of directing Youth Outreach's annual dansical performance, one of the biggest fundraising events for the group. "I was once a troubled youth. I know how it feels to be labelled as someone who seems incapable of anything because they didn't do well at school," he says. "Everyone has the chance to be successful, they just need a chance. I am lucky to have found dancing and I hope my story can inspire others."

Kong's story has already been an inspiration for others. The dansical, held in Sha Tin on April 18, was more than just a chance to show off jaw-dropping dance moves. The narrative of the show was based on the real life of dancer Lil Fat (real name Ma Wai-tim). Lil Fat was one of Kong's star students, whose life was transformed by dancing.

Like Kong, Ma was a secondary school dropout who found a new life through dancing. "Kong was my first dance teacher. He taught me how to dance," he says. "Now I work as a dance instructor at the School of Hip Hop. My parents used to be so worried about me not being able to take care of myself, but I have far exceeded their expectations."

Watch Cha Cha and Lil Fat in action

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Turn failure into success

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