Recently the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” was released, for those who have watched the series this was another fun movie and features what is supposed to be medieval Singapore. That was fiction but Singapore celebrated the pirate theme by organizing a River Raft Race on the Singapore River at Clarke Quay with some of the participants dressed up like pirates and flying the “skull flag”.
The event is basically to race free-style hand made rafts that are all not sea (or river) worthy and they are built by various groups of people supported and sponsored by the Singapore Polytechnic. The rafts were made from bamboo, recycled water cans, tires, drums and pretty much whatever material that can stay afloat-although a lot of them that were designed to float actually didn’t and ended up soaking the participants. The race was only on a 100 meter stretch of water. The idea was to have fun, raise funds for charity and spread awareness (more on that later) and that’s what everyone did, the participants and the onlookers.
Organizers and saftey canoes before the race
The river raft event has been going on for the last 19 years and it was originally conceived as an awareness campaign for keeping the Singapore River clean and navigable. The atmosphere was that of a carnival, accompanied by music and DJ’s from local radio stations providing interesting tit bits of information and live commentary of the race.
A "poor" pirates' raft for sure
People had gathered in large numbers to either participate or to encourage those who were participating and it was great fun to hear remarks from by-standers who were desperately cheering on some of the teams that were half submerged and trying desperately to find movement, other than going around in circles. There was no shortage of imagination when it came to raft building and the participant’s sense of humor. To cap it all, the day turned out to be beautiful, nice, clear, sunny, after days of rainfall and cloudy weather.
Will this float? Will this win? asking questions...
Rafts lined up
These Viking pirates needed to be towed..
A painting competition was organized for kids of various age groups and many of the budding artists sat by the riverside drawing and painting the raft race as they saw it. There was rock climbing events on a simulated rock wall of course, netball competitions and food and heritage tours as part of the event.
Kids at the river side 'drawing' the race
Rafts at the starting grid
I thought you'd find hippos in rivers, here's a rhino though!
Ferrari's got more competition than from just Lewis Hamilton!
Jaws-this one went in circles and almost sank!
I’d like to add that As fund-raising is very much a part of Raft Race, a sum of $83,724 was collected for this year's beneficiaries - Autism Children's Centre, The Salvation Army Haven Children's Home, Clementi Student Service Centre and Singapore Polytechnic's Overseas Community Service Program.