Singapore: Malaysian Kite

Malaysian kite

I saw this for the first time during our tour of the Oceanarium.  It is a Malay Kite and was beautiful.  They hung like rare art from the ceiling as you entered the space – striking and beautiful.  Thank you to Jooli’s website for offering a deeper explanation of their significance.

Kite Culture courtesy of Jooli

Indigenous to the people living in Kelantan and Terengganu, these kites are a special craft of West Malaysia. Due to its similarity with the shape of an Arabic letter, these kites are known as “Wau” in malay. Also when the kites are flown on the sky, it produces a humming sound which is similiar to “wauuuu”. So symbolic is the Wau that Malaysian Airlines has even used it as its logo.


Making these kites is a tedious job and requires a great amount of patience. Firstly, bamboo is used to make the frames for the kites, which keeps the kites sturdy and lightweight. Next, motifs are carved out of coloured paper and shiny glazed paper. The intricacy of the carvings is what sets a good kite maker apart from the others. The carvings are then meticulously glued onto the frames. Finally the kite is decorated with bright paper tassels.

The motifs on the kites are normally flowers with vines. The flowers represents the man while the vines represent the ladies. After the harvest period, these kites are commonly flew over the padi fields. This is a breaktime for all the farmers who had work hard through the rice-planting season

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