Are you ready for Lion City Gathering this year? I had a chance to ask the creator CP a few questions about the event and it’s history so if you’re in Singapore go check it out! I hope his story can be a reminder that sometimes great things can come from small beginnings. You never have to wait for someone to make an event – make it yourself.
What’s the history of the event?
4 years ago, I was inspired to make an annual jam in my home country. Many other countries such as our neighbors Malaysia run their annual jam in December and I have been a visitor to so many of them, same for NatGat in Australia, and I thought we have some of the best spots in the world. The real question was why haven’t we started on one yet?
So I created an event page maybe only a month in advance and sent out a couple of invites to people who might be interested (mostly people from the nearby countries). I tried my luck with Team Farang as they were based in Bangkok, so it was easy enough to get them over. When they replied favourably, I quickly post about it on the event page and that attracted so many more people to come! And the most crazy thing was, just 3 days before the event, I noticed that the Storror boys were in Bangkok for filming their Supertramps video. I garnered the local community’s support to pay for their flights (they were pretty cheap thankfully, even for 7 boys!), and boom. We have the biggest Parkour event in Asia. Somehow there was a HUGE turnout from China, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, even France, in just within a month.
This was a magical event to me, because of how perfect it turned out. Apart from Storror’s flight, we spent pretty much nothing in the running of this event. Our guests also did not have to pay anything to participate in the event! We just trained at outdoor spots just like how it should be – we didn’t need ‘set-ups’ because we had perfectly amazing spots! But, with this many people, it was actually illegal in Singapore to run an event in public spaces like this. Some spots we had a couple of hours till we were kicked out, but some, we were kicked out almost immediately. There was an incident when one of the Storror boys climbed to the top of the rooftop of a residential building at the Maze spot, so the police knew about our official ‘illegal’ event so we had to keep it relatively lowkey the next days. Somehow we made it through all 3 days and had an amazing time!
Fast forward 3 years, we are running a super different event from the first year. There were so many police troubles in the first two events as getting permits was just so difficult and impossible in Singapore. Rules are extremely strict here and there’s just no reason for them to risk granting us permission for jumping on their walls. So we decided to run it the only way we could – on an artificial set-up, much like 4TLOM. However, that meant spending so much money on our event, to some point it can be extremely stressful.
Parkour Singapore finally became an official association, in which we can start applying for government grants that would support Parkour events like this, in which we succeeded, but it was nowhere enough to cover the overall costs of the event. Plywood costs are extremely expensive, neither do we have a gym where we can store all these equipment (because running a gym in Singapore is also tons of money). We also learnt so much more about sponsorships, marketing, etc. This was really the only way we could run LCG, and despite the change, we still did it anyway, as we believe this is the only way the sport can grow. Last year, we charged participants for entry, workshops, and competitions but most people have been supportive enough to still come down to support us.
We also introduced Asian Parkour Championships officially last year, inspired by NAPC, we wanted to have something in Asia that athletes can look forward to every year and compete for a big scale event – there’s nothing else in Asia that is doing competitions properly, and the rest of the world needs to notice the talents we have here in Asia!
What do you hope to accomplish for Parkour in Singapore?
So many things! I do wish to be spearheading the regional scene (Asia) as much as I can, and Lion City Gathering and Asian Parkour Championships has largely been an event to do just that. Locally, we still have tons of work to do. My goal is to create more opportunities for traceurs to be able to make a living through Parkour. There are many people that come and go just because there’s just in it for them to stay apart from passion.
I’ve started my own classes, and recently have been running them with ‘Move Academy‘. Apart from running classes and coaching, we’re also doing monthly jams with free workshops for the public. This is so more people in Singapore can join us if they’re interested in learning Parkour (but not so much interested in taking up a class). We’re doing a lot more community work so that people feel part of something special. Lastly, there has been a lot of bad portrayal of our sport in the media due to rooftopping, fake news (death linked to Parkour but not actually Parkour), etc. so there needs to be a lot more positive influence (like LCG) to show our government that we actually mean well.
The ultimate goal is to become a ‘National Sporting Authority’ so we can get yearly grants from the government so we can do even more events!
When’s the next Project Dive Roll?
Good timing for that question! Apart from Parkour Singapore work, I’ve been doing a lot of coaching myself in the past year as I felt that I needed to settle down somewhere, get into the rhythm of coaching regularly, and build up my own classes on the side. I definitely improved so much as a coach in and learnt so much about running Parkour businesses. After a year of coaching for this gymnastic gym, I felt that I am able to sustain myself just with my own classes, so I finally left coaching them last week (End April), and now I feel that I can take some time off to focus on ticking off personal Parkour and Video goals. One of them is a sequel to Project Dive Roll, which I have already filmed for and have been saving clips for ages. Now I finally have time to finish it! I won’t tell you when, but soon…
Thanks so much for reading everyone. I hope to see some of you at LCG one of these years. Sorry about taking so long to get more blogs up, I just recently settled back in Los Angeles and just haven’t been making the time I should for writing and such. I’m writing this a little late in Seattle on my way to NAPC so I hope to see some of my readers there as well. For now, I hope you enjoyed Denester’s words and that he’s inspired you a bit to set higher goals for yourself and your community. With enough hard work and determination we can create a culture for the sport that we are truly proud of.