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The 7th Pasir Gudang Kite Festival seemed little different from other Southeast Asian kite festivals. Local and international kite fliers were strictly separated. And famous inflatable bags inevitably filled the sky – to the exasperation of the lesser kite gods.

But experts acknowledge this festival belongs to the top five international kite festivals in Southeast Asia. In addition to catering the needs of the international kite fliers, it is also a catalyst for the legendary local kiting tradition by sponsoring kite building and flying championships.

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During the whole week of the festival, hands laboured over bamboo and paper to create a winning traditional kite design. This provided spectators the opportunity to follow the process of Malaysian kite building step by step. The manual work involved is almost inconceivable.

League after league of Wau Bulan, Wau Kucing, Way Merak and Malay designs were launched on Kite Hill. After judging the designs, arbiters officially determined flying abilities of these kites. In the mean time contestants encouraged their kites to ascend even higher.

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Another legend was established by Ric Quitt (Australia). Despite clear signs (in Malay) he managed his worst in the Royal Toilet. Alas, the guards who spotted the wrongdoer were unable to extract the evidence before it was flushed! Ric’s only comment after the incident: ‘No shit!’

Pasir Gudang International Kite Festival 2003 is planned for February 2003. For more information, contact Mr. Ismail Mat Taib, Secretary of the Johor Kite Association at pshapiah@utmjb.utm.my.

2002

This article was also published in KiteLife.

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