Don Quixote’s Malaysian Adventure

My team-mate Pak Ajib and me (like him, many competitors were decked out in their traditional finery)

I had planned to just take part in competitions in Singapore and West Malaysia this year. I felt that it would be enough to keep this quixotic old archer sufficiently busy. When Coach Ali, our club’s good friend, recently invited me to join his club, Simply Archery, for a competition in Johor State on the 8th of April, at a venue a mere 15 minutes’ drive across the border, I gladly accepted it.

It was jointly (and very well) organized by the Archery Club of the states of Johore and Pahang at a school field near the Johor Zoo. About 10 archers led by Coach Ali went across and all of us took part on the traditional bow category. It was a quite a big event with about 200 archers taking part, divided approximately equally between the traditional and modern barebow categories. There were many local barebow clubs taking part. From the different club T shirts worn, I think there were maybe as many as 15 clubs.

The number of targets, a mix of 2D and 3D targets was also quite large, 22 in all. Participants had to do one round of 4 arrows at each station/target.  The novelty targets were interesting and we could borrow some of the ideas. For example, there was a station where the targets were hung empty plastic bottles which unless they were hit squarely, the arrow will not pierce and will just glance off. Few archers managed to register a hit. I was one of the lucky ones at that station. There were also swinging plastic foam balls at another station.

Me with the Simply Archery Team having a simple roti canai (prata) breakfast

I thought that I had a chance to get a top 10 to 15 placing as I had done well at local competitions, having received prizes at the very first two attempts at traditional bow competitions in Singapore. However, the Malaysians were very good traditional archers and I ended up number 48 out of about 90 competitors in the category. It turned out that I was only a mere kampong (village) champion.

But I had a lot of fun, with lots of opportunities to chat with the Malaysian archers because many wanted to know who this old Chinese man that Coach Ali had brought along was.

Don Quixote

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