It took more than an appetite for fun and mountaineering skills to climb Cheung Chau's new, improved bun tower yesterday. A sense of history was required as the traditional bun scrambling event - scrapped in 1978 after the bamboo towers collapsed injuring more than 100 climbers and onlookers - returned to the island. Yesterday was training day for the 48 contestants in the first Bun Scrambling Competition for almost three decades. Today that number will be whittled down to the 12 who will take part in the event at midnight on May 16. Once the highlight of the annual Bun Festival, it was held to appease the spirits of those killed by a plague in the 19th century. Former fisherman Wan Kee, 45, who used to compete in the event, said he was so excited about its revival that he had rushed to become the first applicant. 'The climb was very meaningful for me because it reminded me of the old days in Cheung Chau,' he said. Liu Hiu-ying, who was the fastest to scale the 14-metre tower, said it was a historic moment for her as the competition was opened to women for the first time. 'I am happy that the game is conducted in a much safer manner and accepts women,' she said. Then it was my turn. A Cheung Chau native who was present as an infant when the towers collapsed in 1978, I put on a safety harness and was sent up to the base of the tower with a pull of the rope by my instructor. Holding onto the horizontal rings of the structure, made of bamboo and steel, I realised I did not have much confidence in the traditional material. 'Can I trust the bamboo?' I shouted down to my instructor. I was midway through when I decided to suppress my fear of heights and take in the view. On my left was the Pak Tai Temple, which worships the highest deities of the Bun Festival. On my left was a tranquil sea lined with junks. On the nights of May 15 and 16, islanders will make their offerings and perform Taoist rituals for fishermen lost to the sea. What would the Pak Tai deities and the lost souls think about us climbing a rocket-like steel tower? By the time I reached the top my legs were shaking uncontrollably. I am not sure whether this structure, which has become the talk of the island lately, can be called our tradition. But at least it might make people think a little about this small island's heritage.