Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bener Meriah International Kite Festival, Aceh, Indonesia

Bener Meriah is a new district in Aceh Province, Indonesia. Since the airport at Bener Meriah was not in operation at that time, we took the trip to the festival by road from Medan. It was a long 13 hours trip on a 24 seater coaster before we finally reached our destination.

In celebrating Bener Meriah 4th anniversary, an international kite festival was held. When it was first held, few countries participated. The festival has now grown into a larger participation and held annually.

A squid kite

A ring kite
An Orang Utan Kite, a signature kite of Johore Kite Association, Malaysia
Children were treated to a Lollilop Drop by Malaysian Kiters
Visit to Laut Tawar (Fresh Water Sea) at Takengon, Aceh

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kampong Sarang Buaya, Batu Pahat: A Kiteplaying Spot

Kampong Sarang Buaya is a small village in Batu Pahat District, Johor. Literally, it means Crocodile's Nest Village. It gets its name because there were many crocodiles in a river nearby some time ago. They are not seen now but there are evidences that they may still exist.

There is a small handicraft workshop in the village specializing in Wau making owned by Encik Sater Kasdi, who is also a farmer. He is assisted by his wife and son who, together, love making and flying wau in the National Wau Competiton in Johore, Kelantan and Sarawak. Encik Sater has been my Wau buddy for a while and we have travelled together quite a bit both locally, and to China and Indonesia.

On a hot and windy day, you will be able to see villagers flying their homemade kites and wau at an open ground in the village. Kiteflying competitions are held ocassionally as a recreational activity.

A villager adjusting the Wau briddle
A Wau with the tail resembling a horse (Kuda Kepang)
Encik Sater and his son with their Wau Bulan and Wau Jalabudi
Some villagers enjoying the scene
Encik Sater launching my 10 footer Wau Bulan

Bagan Lalang, Sepang: A Kiteplaying Spot

Bagan Lalang is a beach near Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia. It is about 60 km from Kuala Lumpur. It a great place to unwind and relax while enjoying the sea breeze. You can also enjoy fresh and delicious seafood.

At low tide, it makes a perfect kiteplaying spot. If you are lucky, you can also catch sight of some people buggying with their power kites. I always make a point to bring along my kites whenever I go to Bagan Lalang with my family. On one ocassion, I was joined by two busloads of young kiters.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Camphill Kite Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

I have already been back home from the US for a couple of months. But I just would like to put on record that Camp Hill Recreation Department had organised its Annual Kite Festival on May 20th 2012 from noon to 4 p.m. I was there with the Keystone Kiters flying their kites and my Wau Bulan. The festival was held at the Fiala Field soccer fields along Route 581, behind the Camp Hill United Methodist Church. The event was free and making a kite was free too.

There were more than fifty kites, big and small, flown. Wind was mild but we managed to get some easy flyers going.

P.S. : I really miss festivals in Malaysia where kites are flown by the hundreds; if not thousands; and the festivals lasted for several days. I look forward to make up what I have loss.



Monday, January 23, 2012

Wau Bulan: Keystone Kiters Winter Retreat, Camphill, Pennsylvania, USA

The Keystone Kiters, through Kevin and Cinda Shannon, invited me to share my knowledge on making the Wau Bulan for their winter kitemaking retreat of which I was very obliged to accept it. But the biggest problem that confronted me was where was I going to get the materials? I haven't seen any Bamboo clumps around in Pennsylvania and even if there is, I cannot be sure if it would be suitable for making kites. And there were host of other materials that were needed which may or may not be the same and subtituted.

Making a traditional kite is not as same as the modern kite. The rituals relating to the Bamboo as highlighted in my earlier postings have to be observed. The process of making the Wau frames alone may take several days. If a decorated Wau Bulan is to be made, the process of preparing the sail alone may take weeks. So, I decided on a simple one day program. My aim is to expose the participants on the technical aspects of making a Wau Bulan and send them home with a homework to complete the decorated sail (of which I cannot guarantee that they will complete it). Nevertheless, in order to make sure that they will not go back empty handed, I call for DIY Kits to be flown from home all the way to the US. Hence, the Wau Bulan making winter retreat was successfully conducted on January 22, 2012 at Camphill Borough Hall, Pennsylvania.

For all of the participants, this was to be their first at working on a Wau Bulan. However, their skills and mastery in kitemaking had helped them to quickly adapt to making a Wau Bulan. Following are the evidences of their labour, patience and success. Credit to Cinda Shannon who had worked very hard to prepare for the retreat but was unable to be with us during the conduct of it.