1 June 2008

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23rd Sabah Dragon Boat Race 2008

A traditional Chinese festival that evolved from myths and legend, that has grown into one of the main highlights of the year. This exciting race has attracted many teams from as far as Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, China and Brunei.

The thugs of drums and the roar of oarsmen unite with sounds of the waves as Dragon Boats steadily, yet surely and as quickly make their way across the River Milo. The men search desperately for the body of one whose love and loyalty for his country is the symbol of true patriotism. Maidens throw dumpling after dumpling into the river in the hope that the fishes will not find Qu Yuan, their beloved poet and countryman. To stand spectator to this scene, one is certain to feel their grief and pain and yet, will also feel strength in the voices of the men and the power of their united spirit.

Held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, the first Dragon Boat Races, the Chinese today celebrate the Duanwu Festival not only to remember Qu Yuan, but also to continue the tradition to honour "the spirit of the dragon" which is the spirit of uniting and working together as a team for one common purpose.

This year Kota Kinabalu will host the 23rd Sabah Dragon Boat Race along the shores of the Likas Bay. Initiated by the Sabah Chinese Cultural Association 19 years ago, the Race was placed under the responsibility of the Sabah Tourism Board in 1996. The race was then briefly under the organised by the Ministry of Youth & Sports in the years 2002 and 2003 but is now (since 2004) back in the hands of Sabah Tourism.

During the Race competing teams drive their boats forward rowing to the rhythm of pounding drums. The multicoloured boats are decorated with ferocious-looking dragon heads, scaly bodies and elaborate tails that rise out of the sea. The winners of the race are crowned king for the year which is a great honour among the Chinese in Sabah.

Spectators are not only able to watch an exciting series of races but there are plenty of delicious local fare to be sampled at the stalls set up along Likas Bay. Look out for one of the most popular Dragon Boat Festival delicacy, rice dumplings called tzung tzi or chung tze which were originally eaten in memory of Qu Yuan, but has since gradually evolved into a snack for all occasions.

Event Date : 15th June 2008
Time : 07.00 am
Venue : Likas Bay,Kota kinabalu Sabah Malaysia Borneo


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