Last weekend, I was away at pasir gudang for their 10th annual international kite festival.
I have a confession. I have never flown a kite before. I know! It is utterly embarrassing, but the last time my brother and I tried to fly one at the lake gardens years and years ago, we ended up dragging the kite fore miles and miles but the kite stayed on the grass and finally tore to pieces after being abused by the earth for so long. Hence ended any of me and my siblings attempt at kite-flying. I was strongly under the impression that kite flying required strong winds, the sort you just cannot get on this parts of the planet.
My friends, there were giant and I mean colossal kites at bukit layang-layang that weekend! There were kites three storeys wide, there were kites that made music [musical kites, I kid you not], there were kites in a multitude of shapes and sizes. There were these things called the low-wind kites which could be flown indoors and did not require wind to fly. And there were kiters who are so skilled at the art, that they could navigate kites as if they were puppets. The kite would walk, jump, hop, fly high, fly low, turn left, right, go low, high etc. There were kites that dropped sweets for the children and even ariel photography kites, where a camera is hoist onto a kite to capture earth-ward shots of the audience.
Oh, and then there were the huge expandable kites, massive 3d things made out of nylon in all sorts of shapes. There were train kites, kites tied to each other by successions to form this long train of kites that are synchronised in movement. There were buggies pulled along by kites. And there were performance kites! Kites which told a story. It is really cool, there were these two kites tied together by one string and controlled simultaneously by one kiter. The kites go opposite directions, but they do not get tangled and they both move on cue to a story told over a loud speaker at the dj corner. How cool is that?
And of course, there were rokakku i.e. fighter kites i.e. kites that go into battle with each other. How they go into battle, however, is different from our stereo understanding that fine glass in stuck onto the string to cut each others kites loose. In this battle, they do not cut each others kites loose. That would just be mean. Instead, they weave their kites against each other while in the air and try to choke the air out of the opponents kites. When the opponent loses control over his kite, he loses control over the kites air circulation/ navigation causing the kite to fall. The winner is he whose kite stays up the longest.
And of course, we have the traditional waus. I never could tell the difference between a wau bulan a.k.a. wau sobek, wau kucing and a wau merak. Honestly, I think I can still get confused over what is what because the designs are getting so integrated into one another. The waus were flown by pakciks clad in traditional outfits and the whole do just radiated with kampung vibes. It was refreshing, really.
The weather was frankly not as permitting as I would have liked. It rained a lot and I learnt that there is no wind after a rain and we would wait a long while for the wind to return and the windmill to indicate that the wind was good for kiting.
This is certainly something I highly recommend you experience at least once in a lifetime. I would personally come back.
Makes me want to go fly a kite..