Fiery dragons on the water

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am


This Saturday is the Dragon Boat Festival. Rowers will take to flamboyant dragon boats to show off the rewards of their hard work over the past few weeks - and months.

Hosted by members of the Aberdeen Dragon Boat Race Organising Committee, two junior reporters were in Aberdeen last Saturday to try out the sport.

Our journey of discovery

We boarded a sampan - a Chinese fishing boat. As it slid across the water in Aberdeen, we had a great view of the surroundings and learned about Aberdeen's history.

Aberdeen was named after a former governor, the Duke of Aberdeen. It used to be a fishing village and home to many boat-dwelling people. Since then, Aberdeen has been transformed into a semi-commercial district.

Most of the Tanka people - the original boat people - have settled in public housing estates and other low-cost housing projects. Yet their rich fishing history is still evident in the area.

We looked at different kinds of sampans, including the fish-processing walla-walla vessels. Walla-wallas get their name from the sound of their motors.

Aberdeen is famous for its superb dragon boats. This ancient tradition attracts both old and young Tanka people.

Helen Wong

Dragon boating tricks

Synchronised rowing takes much more effort than it may seem. A rower needs to keep his eyes on the person in front of him to avoid their oars clashing. He also needs to steal a glance at his partner beside him to make sure their actions are in sync.

Cheng Nga-Kam, a dragon boat coach, told us that discipline is vital in the sport. 'Rowers must strictly follow orders from coaches and be alert to the drum beats from their boat,' he explained.

Areon Chan