(Clearwisdom.net) The 25th annual Malacca Dragon Boat Championship was held in the Malacca River on June 1, 2008. Local Falun Gong practitioners entered women's and men's teams to participate in this traditional cultural event. Both the Singapore and the Malaysia divisions of the Divine Land Marching Band came together to perform. To add to the festival atmosphere of the race, practitioners from Singapore also brought a waist drum group to entertain the crowds.
Chief Minister of Malacca Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam hosted the opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m.. The organizing committee invited the waist drum group to perform on the main stage. The chief minister then threw zongzi, a popular food, into the river as part of the traditional ritual to open the dragon boat race. The chief minister, accompanied by President Huang Shudang and other guests, themselves then rowed a dragon boat.
During the dragon boat race, practitioners held up banners, displayed photo boards and gave out materials to provide the local people with an opportunity to learn about Falun Gong and the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Many people learned about the facts and signed the "Million Signatures Campaign" to call for an immediate end to the Chinese Communist Party's persecution of Falun Gong.
The Chief Minister of Malacca also came to learn about Falun Gong. He took informational material about Falun Gong before leaving.
Seventeen teams from Singapore, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Malacca took part in the Malacca Dragon Boat Championship this year. The only Women's Team was the Kuala Lumpur Falun Dafa Dragon Boat Team. The organizing committee asked the women's team to row before the other teams raced. Sixteen teams competed in total. Four teams from Penang entered the final race and won the first four awards. Penang Today Walking Club Dragon Boat Team won the Championship in this year's race.
At the award ceremony, the organizing committee issued a Spirit Award to the Kuala Lumpur Falun Dafa Dragon Boat Team (Women's Team) to express appreciation for the team's continuous participation and support for the dragon boat races since 2002. Many people shouted together "Falun Dafa Is Good" when the practitioners accepted the awards. President of the organizing committee Huang Shudang said in an interview, "I'm grateful to Falun Dafa for sending a women's team to participate in the race every year."