Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Dragon Boat Racing History

   On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month every year, Chinese communities worldwide celebrate the Duanwu Jie festival, which commemorates the death of the Chinese patriot/poet Qu Yuan.
   As a rival state conquered his home kingdom, Qu Yuan committed suicide, drowning himself in the Miluo river on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

   His countrymen paddled swiftly out to the middle of the river to retrieve his body, while others threw packets of rice in the water to distract the fish from eating the poet's body.
   These two acts, it is said, are the origin of the festival's two main preoccupations - the glutinous rice dumplings known as zongzi, and the dragon boat races.

Dragon Boat Racing in Modern Times

   Dragon boat racing, despite its roots in ancient tradition, are as exciting a sport as they come. Two or more boats compete against each other in heats spanning distances of about 1 1/4 mile (2000 meters) or less.
   The boats conform to traditional designs, and are extremely eye-catching. Each boat is mounted with a dragon's head and tail, finely carved to meet the traditional Chinese dragon appearance (in case you didn't know, a Chinese dragon has an ox's head, a deer's antlers, a horse's mane, and a fish's tail).

   Each boat is crewed by up to twenty paddlers, facing the front of the boat (as opposed to Western rowing sports, where the rower faces the rear). A drummer sits in front of the boat, facing the rowers, dictating the rhythm for the row team.  A sweep, or tiller, sits aft, steering the boat.
   Strength and endurance are necessary, but not sufficient, for success. Dragon boat racing, as a sport, demands the closest teamwork possible from teams that want to get through the finish line first.

Dragon Boat Racing in Penang, Malaysia

   In Penang, Malaysia, the dragon boat races are especially famous. The region's first dragon boat race was held here in 1956, on the occasion of the 100th founding anniversary of Georgetown.
   Initially, the races were open only to Malaysian teams. Overseas participation was allowed in 1979, attracting contestants from Hong Kong and Singapore.
   Today, the Penang International Dragon Boat Festival attracts contestants from around the globe, including teams from Europe and the USA. Any group affiliated with the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) may join. 62 countries are represented in the IDBF.

A Safer, Controlled Environment

   The Penang International Dragon Boat Festival takes place at the Teluk Bahang Dam, Penang, from May 23 to 24. In two days, a number of races are staged, including races for men, women, and mixed teams.
   Teams come from all over, with some local teams representing government offices, fraternal associations, and corporations. The local teams bring along the most enthusiastic fans, cheering at the top of their voices for their favorites to win.
   The reservoir at the Teluk Bahang Dam has served as the Dragon Boat Festival's venue since 2002, as it provides a safer, more controlled environment than the seafront venue used from the beginning of the race.
   The view, too, is top-notch, as punters get to see the race against the green hills of the Penang countryside.


"Out of all of the horror movie genres, which one has been the most successful?"

   There are three ways to answer this question. It all depends on what someone considers to be successful. Since there are different ways to measure success, I will answer the question in three different ways.
   There is one genre that could be considered the most successful because of the amount of movies that have been made out of it. One genre would be considered as successful because the main character is in the most movies. The third way to measure the success of a horror movie genre is to see how much money the movies in a particular genre made compared to the other horror movie genres.

   Vampire movies have always been a fairly successful genre of horror movies. There is a subcategory to vampire movies in the fact that there are so many Dracula movies. The character of Dracula has been portrayed in one way or another in over 200 movies. There are over 130 movies that have his name in their titles.
   This is considered to be a successful sub category since the character has been portrayed more often then any other character in history. This not only applies for horror movies, but for all types of movies and media as well.

Psychotic Killers

   If you look at the genre of psychotic killer movies, you will come across movies like Hannibal (2001), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and the Scream Trilogy. All of these movies are on the list of the highest domestic grossing movies of all time.
   The subcategory of psychotic killer movies, the slasher films, causes the psychotic killer movies to be the most monetarily successful horror movies. Some of the franchise slasher films, such as the Friday the Thirteenth Series continue to be show at drive-ins to this day.


   Some of you might be reading this and wondering what a construct is. Think of a construct as Frankenstein. It is a creature that was constructed into the image of a man.
   While you might see a large number of actual Frankenstein movies on the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), you most likely will not see anywhere near the amount of movies that include constructs.
   When Frankenstein was released in Japan, the nation went crazy with the idea of a construct movie. During the 1950s and 1960, over 30% of all of the movies made in Japan involved constructs. There are more construct movies then there are of any other horror genre. This might make the construct horror movie genre the most successful in your mind.

   Whichever way you look at this article, you will find a definition for yourself as to what the most successful genre is in horror films. It will be interesting to see in the next twenty to thirty years if these positions are still held by the genres that hold them now.