KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Exercise and jogging are among the usual activities at a recreation park in Kajang, but for a group of men from the Tionghua community, they prefer to spend their leisure time flying wau, a traditional kite widely found in Kelantan.
They can be seen taking part in the traditional Malay pastime almost every afternoon at the Sungai Chua Recreation Park, in Kajang.
A kite-flying enthusiast, Tan Chin Seong, 36, who started flying kites at the age of 10 said he picked up the hobby from his late grandfather, Tan Eng Keat.
“My grandfather used to play ordinary kites, but over time when he became friends with a Malay neighbour who is good at making traditional kites, my grandfather also learned how to make it because he was attracted to the uniqueness and the beautiful patterns.
“After finishing school, I tried to make my own traditional kite based on a little research from books and the internet. I am still polishing my skills,” he told Bernama recently.
Although there are some who consider the traditional pastime as outdated, Tan is of the view that it needs to be preserved for the sake of the coming generations.
“Although not as skilled as the wau makers from the east coast states, I am proud because not many Chinese people have these wau-making skills,” he said.
To date, Tan, who is an automotive trader, has managed to produce more than 50 types of traditional kites, including Wau Barat, Wau Bulan, Wau Burung, Wau Jala Budi and Wau Kucing.
He said that it took him up to two days to complete a kite, starting from the process of finding and thinning out several bamboo sticks to attaching a thin layer of plastic to the frame.
For Sum Chock Ying, 58, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the kites he made soaring in the air.
He also made the hobby as a source of side income by selling it at prices ranging from RM30 to RM100 depending on sizes.