Friday, April 3, 2009

95 to fly kites for peace

BINTULU: An estimated 95 international kite enthusiasts from 25 countries will take part at the 5th annual Borneo International Kite Festival (BIKF) themed ‘Kite for Peace’ at the Old Airport from Aug 2 to 9.

Participating countries are Japan, New Zealand, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, England, USA, France, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Austria, India, Lebanon, Sweden and four new participants namely Brazil, Italy, Canada and South Africa (Cape Town).

Bintulu Resident Dr Razali Abon who chaired the organising committee meeting at Bintulu Resident’s Office earlier revealed at a press conference here yesterday that the theme for the festival was similar to that for the 14th Pasir Gudang International Kite Festival held last February.

The same theme will be used for the Kelantan International Wau Festival 2009 to be held at Kota Bharu in May, Razali said.

He said the theme symbolised ‘one sky, one world’ with the festival seen as the best platform to achieve unity and foster the spirit of friendship among countries.

Jointly organised by state government agencies and associations like Bintulu Development Authority (BDA), Bintulu Resident Office, Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), Persatuan Wau Kuching Sarawak (Pewasa), and Malaysian Kite Council (MPM), the festival will invite the biggest kite enthusiasts from Japan.

According to Razali, the Japanese, renowned for their ‘Edo kite’ (usually flown with long bridle lines and a long hummer) will be sending the largest team.

Four divisions in Japan namely Tokyo, Yokaichi, Shironee and Showamanchi will gather together their best kite flyers to participate in the festival.

“They will showcase their techniquw and expertise in kite—flying from their respective divisions, with exhibition booths and workshop set up for locals to learn and acquire knowledge about kite design,” said Razali.

On National participation, he said the organising committee is targeting around 180 participants from 11 states in Malaysia namely Sarawak, Johor, Kelantan, Terengganu, perils, Pahang, Perak, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Pinang, Selangor and Kedah.

They will merge as Malaysian Kite Council (MPM).

He said the concept of the festival is the same as last year’s in terms of performances, competition, workshop and exhibitions.

Local and international participants will showcases their skills in handling kites- be it big or small- using single line, double line or quad line.

“This year we will hold a special kite performance during the night hour which is ‘Night Flying’ event to be participated by all kite flyers.

“We will be entertained by their colourful kites, variety of designs and the background music,” he added.

The competition, he said, will be divided into national-level, school-level, clubs in Bintulu and open category.

“The most interesting part is Bntulu which will be the last circuit for the national-level Traditional Kite Grand Prix under which 12 categories will eb contested.

“For the school category, there will be a Wau workshop, Rokkaku Challenge for club-level and open category Malay Kite Laga,” said Razali.

International participants will be judged in their own category based on the most creative kites, best train kites and most colourful kites.

On the exhibition and workshop booth, Razali said Japanes kite enthusiasts will showcase their unique kites.

Participants will be given a chance to visit Niah Cave and various longhouses to promote the state tourism industry, he said.

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