MESSAGE OF THE CHAIRMAN OF STANLEY
Mr Alson Wong, 2002
The annual Stanley Dragon Boat Races grow in size and reputation and keeps breaking new ground year after year. After 30 years of solid hard work, now comes the time of golden harvest. This year, we boldly renamed and upgraded the event to "championships" status. Soon afterwards we realize that the IDBF had included the Stanley races in its annual calendar for international events.
Such success and international recognition will not be possible without the support of the community and assisting parties, as well as the dedication and concerted effort of all members of the Association.
The dragon boat is a jewel in the Chinese culture. Its charisma is beyond our imagination, drawing both Chinese and expatriate alike to its mantle. But it is more than a Chinese cultural treasure. It boasts, according to Paddler Magazine, the second largest involvement base of any sport worldwide. For many years, the Stanley Residents Association has committed considerable resources for the grass-roots development of the dragon boat racing as a sport. The Association has played an increasingly important role in its appeal by popularizing and promoting the culture of dragon boat races to all people in Hong Kong. We have sought to widen the participation base by targeting a wide range of citizens and corporate firms to form dragon boat teams. Stanley Main Beach has become the cradle in which many new dragon boating teams to cut their teeth in competition. But dragon boating has contributions beyond Chinese culture and sport.
Modern society cries out for people to work as teams to overcome the tribulations that face us. Dragon boating provides an environment in which the development of co-operation and the sense of belonging are essential. Thus what could have remained a "niche" sport has the potential to make a wide ranging contribution to modern society.
Realizing that potential, the Association has responded to the call for wider access to the sport. We have purchased 12 new boats in the past 2 years, expanding our fleet to 22 boats. A speed boat has already been installed for patrolling purposes and to ensure the safety of participants.
Capitalizing on the outstanding natural setting of Stanley, the Association plans to provide more races featuring a diverse format, such as our successful short course invitation event this year and, to make year round involvement in the sport a possibility, year round training is proposed.
2002 sees a change in the race format. The organiser have set separate classes for which teams of different strengths may opt. This endeavour not only can encourage novices to take part, it also stimulate the elite teams and provides them with a consistently higher standard of competition than was possible in the past. The format changes from a simple 2 tier knock-out to a multiple tier of more complicated advancement stipulations. We hope that the new format will provide a more stimulating competition for all teams regardless of ability.
This year, over 140 teams will compete in one single day again, thus making Stanley Dragon Boat Championships one of the world's largest events of its kind. This is a credit to people of Hong Kong and the efforts and support of our dedicated band of workers and the local community. Without all these people an event of this size would simply not be possible and I should like to conclude by expressing my sincere gratitude to the Southern District Council, all assisting parties, athletes, officials, guests and VIPs.
Year by year the Stanley Dragon Boat races grow in popularity and attract thousands of paddlers from many nationalities. The event has earned celebrity status and, this year, sight-seeing tours from the territory and abroad will visit Stanley especially for the event, thus providing a huge boost for local tourism and business. But running an event on such a scale requires mammoth logistics and, this year, we are fortunate to be able to draw upon the support and subsidy from the District Council. Their valuable contribution will ensure a smoother buildup to the whole event.
The Association has assumed the role of organizer for several decades and in the process has built up a wealth of experience which is brought to bear each year to ensure the success of the competition. This year we have broken new ground in a number of directions. First, we have deployed our resources to purchase ten new boats. This expands our fleet, a necessary move as the number of entries continues to grow past towards the 142 mark. This record is a milestone in its own right and will make the whole atmosphere of the event more spectacular.
Second, to boost enjoyment and tourism we are planning for the first time this year to hold a Festival Concert, during the afternoon and after the races, in the Main Street Pedestrian Area. RTHK has agreed to support and broadcast the performance.
Third, dragon boating is now regarded as one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. The Association is delighted to see more people enjoying the sport and determined to support its development. Hence, we have established and registered the “Stanley Dragon Boat Association” and we are proactively planning for year-round practice for members.
Fourth, capitalizing on RTHK's successful webcast last year, we are going to set up a temporary amateur radio station for the event with instant images being sent out all over the world via the technology of slow scan TV.
Finally, in another milestone and testament to the status of the event the Hong Kong Post Office and Australia Post will present a new stamp launching ceremony right at the race.
It is very important for us to mention that such achievements are due only to the support and encouragement we receive from participants. We would like to thank, also, the District Council as well as the various departments, organizations and individuals who have contributed so much to the success of the event. Last, but not least, we would like to thank Mr Y.P. Tsang, the Commissioner of Police for honouring us by his presence as Chief Officiating Guest.
May I wish you all an enjoyable Tuen Ng Festival.
The annual Stanley Dragon Boat Festival have gloriously forged
ahead to its thirty-first year. In the last decade, the Stanley
event has been proudly attracting more than a hundred teams
participating each year. This year, we are again on par with our
highest official record of 130 entries which is first set in
1996. Of course we are delighted to see such amazing figure and
the event being well received by the public. It is no doubt a
pressure and driving force for us to do even better.
The Event have now become so successful that it can match in scale any international tournament in Hong Kong and abroad. Actually, it is without much of our ambition at the beginning that it naturally turns out to be in a scale as it is today and we just need to accept our role and strive for better operations in the future. The number of athletes alone this year has exceeded 2500. We believe it is the world's largest single-day event in dragon boat history. As far as Hong Kong is concerned, Stanley is the first district to have foreign participation. It has always been, and is still the biggest race with the largest number of participants and is most welcomed by foreigners.
Our official race web page was first constructed in March 1999. Then only in one single year we have a hit count of 8000. By May 2000 the barrier of 10 thousand visits was easily cross over. Then came the news that our "Legend Research Room" was indexed in the Teaching Resources Bank of the Teachers Community Platform managed by the HK Federation of Education Workers. Then on top of RTHK's live show on-site in the last decade or so and the 1999 maneuver to include the live broadcast in her web-site, digital cameras will be set up this year for on-line TV broadcast. Such groundbreaking moves allow netizens all over the world meet us live in cyber space. All such achievements actually reflect the acceptance from the general public on our contributions, to amateur sports, to culture activities, community events, folklore studies and tourist industry, etc..
All the success of the Stanley event owes to the endeavour and hard work of the assisting parties, organizing committee members and volunteers.
It worth mentioning the fact that for years, people taking part in the event treasure the cross-cultural friendship.Here, I would like to thank again all parties for their contribution. Of course the support of all participating teams should not be forgotten.
This year, we are honoured by the presence of Mr C.K Ng, Commissisoner of Correctional Services, and various honorable guests who will officiate the Ribbon-Cutting and Eye-doting Ceremonies .
I sincerely hope that every year during the Dragon Boat Festival, Stanley Main Beach is always filled with joy and laughter.
As time goes, the dragon boat festival which is originally devoted to the commemoration of the patriotic poet Qu Yuan has developed into a community activity which allows cultures from east and west to mix in Stanley. To comment on the scale of the event, we cannot resist to say that in recent years, entries in our event here see no parallel or anything near in the territory as far as this water sport is concerned. The Organizing Committee is composed of enthusiasts from all walks of life with different nationalities, together with government officials, corporate executives and representatives from various organizations. Since it is formed in February, evaluation was the first to be done with great care. Then comes the functioning of the Secretariat and the various sub-committees who immediately start to apply for venue permits, send out invitations, process entries, formulate race schedule, renew the boats and equipment, and start the publicity campaign, so on and so froth. Every member is very devoted and hopes to provide the best race day we can offer. We are glad to welcome the 130 participating teams. They come from the commerce and industry sectors, community organizations, sports associations and government departments. The races are divided into 3 categories, and add up to more than 40 starts. I believe that there will be fierce competitions at Stanley Main Beach again. Besides, the spectators and visitors, who will add up to tens of thousands, cheering on the beach, will certainly brighten up the tourist industry of Stanley Market. "Join in Heart, Unity is Strength" is my feeling serving as the chairman of the Organizing Committee. On behalf of the Committee, let me once again express my highest honour to the various government departments, community organizations and individuals for their support and assistance which make the event at Stanley so spectacular and smooth. Finally, may I wish all competitors a very successful and fruitful day. Last but not the least I would also like to extend my best wishes to our honorable guests.
The annual dragon-boat races in Stanley have gloriously forged ahead to its thirtieth year. In recent years, the races have been becoming very successful. Our dragon-boat races can match in scale any international sporting tournament in Hong Kong. The number of athletes alone has exceeded 2500. We believe it is the world's largest single day event in dragon boat Race. In Hong Kong, Stanley is the first district to have foreign participation. It is used to be the biggest race with the largest number of participants and most welcomed by foreigners. We are of course proud of its scale. In 1993, there were 107 teams participating, we thought that was the largest number of teams we could manage. The attraction of the dragon-boat races seemed to have reached its climax. However, in 1994, the number increased to 109. In 1995, it dropped a bit to 101 but then rose again. In 1996 ad 1997, amazingly there were 130 teams. In 1997 and 1998, there were 126 and 120 teams respectively. All the successes of the annual dragon boat races in Stanley are due to the endeavour of the assisting parties and members of the organizing committee. They are people from different walks of life, yet they can whole-heartedly work together for it. Many of them are volunteers and do not accept any pay. For years, people taking part in the annual dragon boat races have treasured the cross-cultural friendship developed and scattered out of the event. Every year, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club fully supports us and works as the adjudicators committee, RTHK Radio 3 (English Channel) broadcasts the whole event live, the South China Morning Post sends reporters to cover the event. The resident British army regiments up until 1997 provided help on land and sea on a voluntary basis. The whole beach is like a carnival on the dragon-boat racing days. All these are beyond the imagination of the local Chinese organizers in the early years. The above all contribute to the wonderful success in the Stanley event. Today, we can share this joy with the public on the Internet. The background information available is actually more than anybody can think of, but on the internet it is relatively scarce. We hope to be a middleman to put this information together for those who are interested. This is a meaningful project and with educational value. Please pay a visit to our Legend Research Room. Here, I would like to thank all parties and friends who have helped organize the whole event and the support of all teams participating. This year, we are most honoured by the presence of Mr David H.T.Lan, J.P. Secretary for Home Affair, who will officiate the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. I sincerely hope that every year during the Dragon Boat Festival, Stanley Main Beach is consistently filled with joy and laughter.