Annual ‘duck-catching’, ‘angpow-grabbing’ event a big Yuletide hit

Participants swim in all directions in their bid to catch the 100 ducks released into the Seduan River.

SIBU: It was fun, excitement and laughter galore as dozens took part in the annual ‘duck-catching’ and ‘angpow-grabbing’ event in Seduan River, Sungai Merah Bazaar here on Christmas Day.

The event is the brainchild of local businessman Chung Ngiok Kwong, 73, who said its key objective was to enliven the Yuletide season here.

“Apart from 100 ducks, I gave out 5,000 mini baked eggcakes and 20 angpow packets,” said Chung, who sponsors the event each year.

“If I am not mistaken, it is already into its eighth year, and I will do it again next year,” he added.

Spectators converge on Sungai Merah for the annual event.

Spectators began gathering at Wong Nai Siong Historical Corridor as early as 8.30am, even though the event was only scheduled to commence at 10am.

The ‘duck-catching’ session had participants swimming in all directions as they attempt to catch the 100 ducks released into the river, encouraged by the cheer from the big crowd of spectators, whose noise drowned out the sounds of passing vehicles.

For Aking Ludom, 38, this year’s event was special as he managed to snare himself several ducks.

Hailing from Balingian but working here, Aking said he made it a point to take part every year.

“There were times when I walked home empty-handed. But today (Monday), I had a good catch,” he told The Borneo Post as his friend, Argentina Dollah, 20, nodded in agreement while holding several ducks which he also managed to catch.

A contender leaps from the 12m wooden pole, suspended some 20 feet over Seduan River, in an attempt to reach the angpow packet.

The ‘angpow-grabbing’ event proved to be an even bigger hit.

The event required contestants to walk across a 12m wooden pole, suspended some 20 feet over Seduan River, before leaping to grab an angpow packet dangling from another pole on the opposite riverbank.

Like the duck-catching, the ‘angpow-grabbing’ event was open to all – however, each participant must know how to swim and not be afraid of heights.

A participant gets hold of two ducks in Seduan River.

Twenty red packets were up for grabs as many took turns to navigate the narrow wooden pole before making their ‘leap of faith’.

Many hopefuls lost their balance halfway and plunged into the river before even reaching the tip of the pole.

It was not until several minutes later that one participant finally grabbed the first red packet, which further enlivened the atmosphere as the spectators cheered and applauded with deafening intensity.

Aking (right) and Argentina with the ducks they caught.

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