So what do a Buddhist Monk, a Coca Cola kugel and ESSA members have in common? Probably very little other than beating drums and Dragon Boat racing at Wemmer Pan on Sunday, 26 May.
This annual event marks the 5th day of the 5th lunar month on the Chinese calendar and coincides with numerous Chinese festivities. This traditional custom started as an attempt to rescue the patriotic poet Chu Yaun, who drowned on this day in 277BC. Rice dumplings were thrown into the water to in the hope of preventing the fish eating their hero poet. Our main qualification for the race is probably that we can all identify a paddle and actually know what to do with it. Most of us never even get a practise in before the big day, but fun and excitement is always had by all. We lost our first race against the Mexicans by a dragonhead, and were then placed in a different league. We later beat "KES and the ESSA traitor team" quite deservedly and when our chance came to race the Mexican team again we found that they had admitted defeat against us and gone home! But the time that we spent waiting for them at the start provided some ESSA members with a platform for shouting our praises about ourselves and it was there that ESSA girls discovered what gentlemen ESSA men are (ask the Coke lady for details). The details of the other races have become a vague memory amid shouts of 1; 2; 3* and row! row! row!*
but this year we surprised ourselves again by reaching semi-finals by manipulation, default and good-luck. Then, with our last race being rather wiggly, we succumbed to defeat.
Thanks Tony and Jono. You were great and thanks for organising the team.
Mickey von Maltitz