Friday January 16, 2009
Flyers from Malaysia and China share passion for kites
Story and pictures by CHEN PELF YEEN
ABOUT 200 kite enthusiasts from all over the country gathered at the Dataran Pahlawan field in Bandar Hilir, Malacca, to take part in the Third Malaysia-China 2009 Kite Flying Festival recently.
An overcast sky and a drizzle did not deter the enthusiasts from flying their kites and enjoying themselves with family members and friends.
Among the participants was Azemi Ariffin, 55, from Penang, who said that kite-flying was not something new for him.
“I flew kites when I was young and never thought it would become a hobby,” he said, adding that his love for kites started about a decade ago.
Once hooked, he said he was encouraged by his peers to master the art of flying different types of kites including single-stringed, double-string and stunt kites.
“I am familiar now with stunt kites. It is not a simple kite and uses technology that enables it to manoeuvre from left to right.
“I derive satisfaction each time I master difficult aerial manoeuvres with the kite,” he said.
Another participant, Pang Tsi Chia, 24, an active member of the Malacca Kite Flyers Club, said she was happy just to join in the festival and meet others sharing the same passion.
“I was introduced to kite-flying during a kite-making workshop here last year and have been wanting to try my skills at the festival,” she said.
Pang said she bought a 2m Chinese kite decorated with flowers at the festival.
A participant from Beijing, Zhan Yan Hai, 50, said it was his first trip to Malaysia and he was impressed by local kites, particularly the wau.
“Unlike Chinese kites with painted motifs, kites here have motifs made of thin paper that is cut and pasted, he said, adding that the wau was the first kite he has seen that produced a sound when flown.
The third festival was organised by the Malacca Kite Flyers Club.
Its president Wong Soo Tang said the festival was aimed at giving enthusiasts a chance to learn about kites and for the participants from the two countries to exchange views.
“There were more than 100 kites on display and I am proud to say we managed to get some 20 participants from Beijing, Nanjing and Zhen Jiang provinces,” he added.
Finnish couple Leo Lahdelma, 53, and Leena Porrassalmi, 43, who were on their first visit to Malaysia, said they were impressed by the festival.
“We did not expect to see so many kites here today. It is impressive because kite-flying is not very popular in our country,” said Porrassami.
State assembly speaker Datuk Othman Mohamad, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, said the event helped promote tourism and fostered a better relationship with China.
He said the state’s Peoples Museum in Jalan Kota had a kite section which attracted 34,000 visitors last year.