KPMG pips PwC for back-to-back dragon boat titles in Malaysia

15 August 2019 3 min. read
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KPMG has taken back-to-back honours ahead of PwC in the Skrine Regatta, a charity dragon boat racing event in Malaysia.

The team from professional services firm KPMG has overpowered their fellow Big Four rivals PwC to claim the big boat crew title in Malaysia’s Skrine Regatta, a biennial charity dragon boat racing event hosted by local law firm Skrine. While failing to take the cup in the small boat crew division, the KPMG Vikings also earned consultancy bragging rights by finishing one place ahead of PwC Hydra in third. Neither team made the running in the best dressed crew award.

The win in the main category sees KPMG retain its 2017 crown, with the two leading consulting firms now having gone head-to-head in all five editions of the fundraiser. Altogether, the seven competing crews this year managed to raise a total of RM30,000 (over US$7,000), with proceeds to be split between local charities Teach For Malaysia and P.S. The Children. Since its inception, the regatta has raised upwards of $40,000 for various charitable organisations.

“Woop woop,” a triumphant KPMG Malaysia posted on Twitter, with Adrian Hong, KPMG Executive Director & Head of Corporate Citizenship preferring to focus in on the charitable aspect of the event. “We're very much involved in community service and one of the things that drew us to this event is that it has a charitable function – and this is in line with our CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives to give back to the community,” he told the Asean Post.

KPMG pips PwC for back-to-back dragon boat titles in Malaysia

However, the regatta also delivers a professional benefit. “We realised dragon boat racing is very good for team spirit. We have to row in sync and in unison, and that needs a lot of training and communication,” said Hong of the ancient sport, which is hugely popular across vast swathes of Asia but hasn’t caught on as widely as yet in Malaysia. Developing in its modern incarnation in Hong Kong in the mid-70s, there are now 50 million participants in China alone.

Event founder and Skrine partner Lee Shih echoed Hong’s sentiments; “I always tell my paddlers there’s no place for Lionel Messi or Michael Jordan on the boat,” he said, with big crew teams typically consisting of around 20 members. “Whether you’re a first-time paddler or a paddler of ten years, we can only paddle together as one team – not slower or faster. There are no superstars, only one team – and I realised that’s a fantastic way to bring people together.”

Lee continued; “From a corporate perspective, it blends well because this is completely related to corporate culture. This is what we want a corporate organisation to do. Everyone has to play their part to rise up together, and the same applies to a dragon boat event as to a successful company.” According to Lee, the Skrine team – the Skrine Dragons, which took out the small crew title in this year’s event – was the first corporate dragon boat racing team in Malaysia.

Founded in 1963, Skrine is one of the largest and most well-regarded legal firms in Malaysia offering a wide range of legal services. While the charity race affords teammates an opportunity to bond together, it also builds on the firm’s relations with its clients – as well as among each other, with a high level of camaraderie reported between the participating teams – including KPMG and PwC. Malaysia contested the dragon boat event for the first time at last year’s Asian Games.