Dragon Boat Races Cancelled for 2nd Year in A Row Due to COVID-19 Restrictions


Drag-on boat racers will have to drag-back their boats into storage instead.

The Straits Times reports that, for the second consecutive year, dragon boating events at Bedok Reservoir that were scheduled for 14 June will be cancelled due to COVID-19 safe distancing measures.

The paper explains that a standard 12-crew boat would require at least five people to paddle, but current safety measures in place mean that only two people can be accommodated on every boat. 

So unless you are a Korean drama lead heroically obliterating those who kidnapped your romantic interest (remember this scene, “Crash Landing on You” fans?), rowing a dragon boat would not be possible.

Ms Apple Huang, vice-president of publicity and promotion at the Singapore Dragon Boat Association, remarked that the dragon boating community had gathered tightly together over the course of the pandemic.

“We treasure every opportunity to train and race,” she notes, “when the situation does not allow it, like now, we do our part to fight the virus by getting ourselves vaccinated and staying at home.”

Previously, the festivities would see the participation of more than 3,000 dragon boaters and supporters from more than 120 teams. 


Why Dragon Boating?

The Dragon Boat Festival, a Chinese festival that falls on 14 June this year, began in honour of Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet and politician who drowned himself in a river after the fall of his country’s capital. 

The locals raced in their boats to save the beloved figure, which gave rise to dragon boat races that are now a staple of the occasion. 

The story is also that, when Qu’s body could not be found, locals threw rice into the river to feed the fish so that they would not predate on his body. The lumps of rice then became the traditional delicacy of rice dumplings, wrapped in leaves and eaten on the occasion.

The Dragon Boat Festival is also known as the Dumpling Festival or Duan Wu Jie.

Both President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted well wishes on Facebook, encouraging Singaporeans to “still celebrate the festival through enjoying dumplings and spending family time together”.

Lee also noted that the festival coincided with the first day of eased COVID-19 restrictions, and urged readers to “stay safe and keep watching out for one another” “whether you made your own bak chang at home, or bought some to support your favourite hawker”. 

“Things are not quite the same yet, but united, we are heading in the right direction,” he remarked.

You can read both Facebook posts below: 

Feature Image: CHEN MIN CHUN / Shutterstock.com (Image is for illustration purposes only)

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