Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kite making - The Bruneian way

For most children growing up in Brunei in the 70s and 80s, kite flying and making was a must holiday activity. I used to spend hours under the scorching sun often flying a rudimentary folded kite torn out from an old exercise book. Nothing as sophisticated as the coloured homemade kites flying around and I secretly had "kite envy"! I often tried to make my own but without much success. But as health and safety didn't exist then playing with sticks and penknives was part of the fun. 

Nowadays if you ask a child if he can fly a kite he is more likely to check his iPad if he has the app. So it was a great opportunity for Jack and Ayden (and me) to take part in making their own kite at an afternoon organised by our friend and kite-maker extraordinaire David.

What I never realised was that for the frame to be light, the bamboo has to be of a certain type - hence where I went wrong all those years ago! We started off with a 't' frame of two pieces of bamboo - with apparently the most difficult part of the middle knot done for us. 

Not that what we did following was any simpler. Following David's exact instructions, we tied knots at asymmetrical points to create the kite frame as below

By this point we had to stop the kits from their playing and running around to choose their colours of special kite paper (another fail from my childhood)

Next was to arrange and glue the paper together

Followed by cutting the paper to fit the frame and folding the edges over the frame

Here's the finished product which took us about an hour and a half to complete. Thankfully I had help with Ayden's whilst I made Jack's. By this time the kids were rolling around in the sand and us parents has to sit down for a rest before the test run

Qing, Jordan, Jack, Ayden, Christian and Hanna proud with the kites "they" made!

And Jack's kite passed the test, though I must confess it was not the kite frame I assembled, only the paper was expertly glued on.

And by the evidence of the smiling faces it was a successful afternoon. Many thanks to David and Helena for organising such an original and fun afternoon. I can now finally tick that box of making a coloured kite and for my boys one they will talk about for some time. They are talking about making more and I am sure it will come up in Ireland where we buy a kite on an annual basis! Not quite so sure how light Irish bamboo is?!

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