YAY!!! It’s the weekend again!!! Some might ask what difference it makes to me, since I am retired and every day is pretty much the weekend. Well, yes and no. Every day I get to waken on my own with no alarm clock, and I set my own schedule, but I have to tell you … I work harder now than I ever did when I was an accountant working 12-14 hour days! I am busy from the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning until usually 3:00 a.m. or so, when I tumble into bed to read for an hour or so. Weekends, however, are special because unless she is at a band thingy somewhere, daughter Chris is home, she and Miss Goose do the house chores, and we have family day on Saturdays whereby we go out to eat and usually for a trip to my favourite place, Barnes & Noble. So I do still look forward to weekends!
A ‘feel-good’ story crossed my path today, and it led me on a journey. I came back to get you all and take you with me on a journey to … Hong Kong!!! We are going to Hong Kong to see the Dragon Boat races and to meet one very special team of racers who I think will really impress you! Don’t worry, you’ll be back in time for whatever is on your Saturday docket.The Dragon Boat Festival takes place every year on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month, normally in May or June in our calendar. This year it was on June 18th. The festival is best known for its colourful Dragon Boat races where teams of paddlers race the long narrow boats accompanied by the beat of the drum down to the finish line. The drumbeat is to keep members of the team in time.According to one popular legend, the Dragon Boat Festival has its origins in the old man Qu Yuan, an official that was so disillusioned with his country’s government that he drowned himself in protest by jumping in the river. The locals rushed to the site, paddling on their boats and banging drums, gongs and everything they could find to scare away anything that might harm Qu Yuan in hopes to find and rescue him but they were not successful. They also brought offerings of rice to calm the old man’s spirit. The pilgrimage with the long boats, the drumming and the rice evolved into massive and colorful events and the dragon boat races and competitions that characterize the festival of today.The races last for three days, and every year, thousands compete. This year, though, was special for there was a new team on the block called the Darkness Fighters. Their mantra is “Challenge the impossible.” You see, this team is special for they are all blind and most are well beyond retirement age! For some, it is their first time competing in any organized sport. “I’m really happy to be here today because I didn’t think I would be able to do things like this,” said Tsang Jau Rung, 72, who began losing her sight 16 years ago and joined the Fighters this year.
“It is a group effort,” said Annie Wing Chee Lo, 60, who steadily lost her sight over the past 10 years. “It requires our utmost focus and perseverance for us to do well.”For the blind paddlers the race has its own sensory delights: the thrum of the drum, the spray of the water, the crowd’s cheers. By the end of the race, they are sopping wet, exhausted and beaming with pride. They placed fifth out of eight teams.
“We were all on point with our rhythms and didn’t mess one another up,” Mr. Lau said. “That alone is a win for us.”
Now wasn’t that a fun journey with which to start the weekend? I hope you all enjoyed the trip to the Dragon Boat Festival and enjoyed meeting the Darkness Fighters! Have a safe and wonderful weekend!