Chasing Dragons

Chasing Dragons

Chopsticks Club races at London’s Dragon Boat Festival

Chopsticks Club was delighted to put together a ‘scratch’ crew to take part in the 2015 London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on 28 June 2015. The Festival has become the second largest Chinese cultural event in London after the Chinese New Year Celebrations, attracting over 10,000 people.

Traditionally the Festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th month in the Chinese lunar calendar and started as a protest against corrupt rulers in 278BC. It is a popular and fun annual event supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office at the London Regatta Centre, London’s Royal Albert Docks. Principal attractions include the drama of the boat racing, live music, lion dancing, and food. Most importantly, it is a cross-cultural celebration.

It was therefore a natural choice for Chopsticks Club, a professionals’ membership network providing a crucial bridge between Chinese and British culture, to take part in this event. We joined 39 other teams representing organisations such as PwC, Zhonglun Law and Embassy of PRC for a day of competitive racing.

Each team needs 14 people and a drummer; no previous experience is required. Our team was truly cross-cultural with Hong Kong, mainland China, UK, Italy and Germany represented. Under the expert leadership of our endurance athlete CEO, Theresa Booth, our team was given top tips and warm-up exercises to get us pulling together (literally) right from the start.

Erica Ng, Director General, HK Economic & Trade Office, said that the Dragon Boat racing was emblematic of the strength, energy, ‘can-do’ spirit, team building and competitiveness that Hong Kong is renowned for. Our team displayed all those characteristics too in abundance!

It is surprising how fast this race is; the experts pull their oars once per second and we had a lot to learn, particularly in the first race. We had a thoroughly enjoyable day and were encouraged both on land and from the water, by our youngest member, 11-year old Toby, with the words, “Go Chopsticks!” shouted through a megaphone.
Richard Mao, Chopsticks member and China Desk Manager for Business Monitor International, said “I really enjoyed myself; it was a fun day!’

Our team was sponsored by Varcale Capital Management Ltd, a globally focused investment business offering investors a Forex (aggressive) Managed Account, (Alternative) EIS Approved Film Finance Fund and Forex Structured Product Wealth preservation. Varcale expressed their appreciation “to the Chopsticks Club Members who attended and paddled so hard on the boat and even HJ's son on the megaphone. We were grateful for having such a good location for our stand as it was near the awards ceremony and other activities” by Varcale.

We were also sponsored by Golden Phoenix Restaurant, located in Gerard Street in London’s China Town, offering excellent food and a flexible venue to suit all tastes and group sizes.