My condolences goes out to the 5 paddlers who drowned after the race in Cambodia. This isn’t another of those “I-don’t-know-them-so-I-won’t-care-less” kind of situation because (i) they were friends of my friend and (ii) this was an accident that could potentially have been avoided.

I won’t like to talk about things on hindsight because it is usually very sad when I have to do that. The natural question would have been on why the use of life jackets was abandoned. However, I can almost put myself in the shoes because there is a chance that I would have done the same. I won’t call it peer pressure, but rather, if you were from a dragon boat team, you would understand the cohesiveness (and perhaps, to a certain extend, the competitiveness to win) of a team. When something is decided upon, the whole team stands with it.

For this team spirit, I applaud them. No, I don’t mean that abandoning the life jacket was a good idea, but I applaud them for their unity. It’s sad that this had to happen, and from a governance point of view, investigations would probably have to do into why this was not discovered earlier. But hey, if you were ever in competitive sports like this, where donning of life jackets are not compulsory, then it really depends on the team to make a decision call.

While I stand by their decision, I mourn for them at the same time. To them, thank you for fighting to do the nation proud. We will remember you.

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