Finally I've managed to watch the TV premiere of Pink Paddlers, directed by Jasmine Ng (who co-directed Eating Air with Kelvin Tong), and I thought it was a wonderful documentary which highlighted the disease of breast cancer, the experience of those who have survived the disease, and their fight against it, in raising awareness through the participation of sports, in this case, dragon boat racing.
And you would wonder whether the participants, women of all ages, survivors and supporters, would go through this demanding sport unscathed. Stereotypical participant rowers are the usual beefy musclemen who can do an obscene number of pull ups, but no, here you have a group of determined ladies who have defied odds, and are defying them once more with their participation in this grueling sport, which in reality calls more on coordination and teamwork, rather than just on brute force alone.
Pink Paddlers chronicled their journey in getting together through the Breast Cancer Foundation, and their taking part in the Breast Cancer Survivors Dragonboat World Championships in Sep-Oct 2006 held at the Marina Bay area in Singapore. Interspersed with interview segments (the usual talking heads style) in black and white to provide individuals with a space to explain their earnest feelings about the disease, and how they coped with it. But it's not just about dragon boating in case you're wondering, it's about living life the best you can, with good friends you can count on when you're feeling down.
It also put some focus on family and the supporting husbands who bandied around when their wives go for training, and what emerged is a very strong group of people getting together because of a cause, to fight it, and to spread awareness of it. Like Remember Chek Jawa, this is a documentary which shows how much more a group can do when they pool resources and provide motivation and encouragement to one another, versus going at it alone.
If you're looking to understanding just a little bit more about the disease and how it impacts those who suffer from it, then this is the documentary for you. But it's not all doom and gloom because on one hand while it shows you the inconvenience of check ups and the struggle to get one's life back together after a battle, it reminds you that a positive attitude goes a long way to battling any disease. And the ending, watching groups from around the world coming together to bond and to compete, will undoubtedly leave you with feelings that these women ought to be saluted for their fighting spirit!
For those who have missed today's screening, you can still catch it on Channel News Asia on 3rd Nov Saturday 8am, 1pm and 1130pm. Duration is 60 minutes with ads.