The good times flow on Melaka River
By JASON GERALD JOHN AND KELLY KOH LING MIN | firstname.lastname@example.org
CURRENT ATTRACTION: A flotilla of gaily-decorated boats and their strange and wonderful passengers make waves in the historical city
MALACCA: A MYRIAD of neon lights on its banks enhanced the beauty of the Melaka River, on which floated 24 gaily-decorated boats, recently.
The boat parade had the theme "The Colours of the Melaka River".
The vessels' 4.5km journey from the Spice Garden in Pengkalan Rama to Sungai Melaka Square, behind the Flor de Lar Mar replica in Banda Hilir, had captured the attention of many, locals and tourists alike.
The boats of all shapes and sizes had been decorated by the respective staff of the various government and private departments and agencies they represented.
The staff, clad in bright, dazzling attire, had also boarded the boats for the ride that took them past rustic scenes left over from the past.
The merry passengers waved at the many spectators drawn by the spectacle.
Among those participating in the parade were the Public Works Department, Melaka Historical City Council, Chief Minister's Department, Alor Gajah Municipal Council, State Islamic Religious Department, State Education Department, Syarikat Air Melaka Bhd, Malacca Museums Corporation, Perbadanan Melaka Holding Sdn Bhd and State River and Coastal Development Corporation.
The Melaka River, which flows through the middle of the historical city, was an important trade route during the heyday of Malacca Sultanate in the 15th century, and dubbed the "Venice of the East".
The boat parade, which offered prizes of RM7,000, RM5,000, RM3,000, RM2,000 and RM1,000 to the five best decorated boats, was part of the Melaka River Festival 2013 from May 25 to June 23.
The festival, now in its seventh year, attracts some 500,000 visitors annually.
About 100 events will be staged during the month. These include cultural, educational and recreational activities including remote-control boat race, singing and live band competitions, a drawing and colouring competition, an iron man competition, a dragon boat race, reptile and exotic animal exhibit, fashion show, and rickshaw and bullock cart parade.
For details, visit www.melakariverfestival.com. - See more at: http://www.nst.com.my/streets/central/the-good-times-flow-on-melaka-river-1.300325#sthash.9jSrCjiY.dpuf