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Saturday February 3, 2007

Kasmin soars to greater heights in kite-making


By MOHD BAKRI DARUS 

MALACCA: Decades ago, a skinny- looking teenager by the name of Kasmin Miron, was a regular figure in the village padi fields of Seberang Pekan in Baling, Kedah. 

He was not there to harvest padi but to fly his kites as kiteflying was a favourite pastime of the village boys in the pre-independence days. 

Creative: Kasmin showing how his kite can be folded and taken anywhere, including overseas. — Bernamapic
Now, 63-year-old Kasmin can take pride himself in being one the country’s leading kite-makers. 

He is highly skilled in making these airborne, bamboostrung coloured papers with the characteristic “buzzing” sound as they soar and flit in the sky. 

Kasmin’s deft touches have won him numerous accolades, both locally and internationally. 

His specialities are the Wau Bulan, Wau Jalabudi, Wau Kangkang, Wau Merak and Wau Helang as some of the kites are called. 

Tourists in Kuala Lumpur looking for Kasmin’s eye-catching creations know where to look for them – Central Market – as the kites are sold at some outlets there. 

Kasmin is also a regular guest of the Malaysian Handicraft Corporation and Tourism Malaysia on roadshows abroad, including England. 

“There are not many traditional kite-makers in the country. Just look at the market, it is deluged with modern-styled kites. 

Thus, we should revive the art of making traditional kites among the young to preserve this heritage”, said Kasmin, who is the Malaysian Kite-Flying Council’s Development Committee chairman. 

Kasmin’s ingenuity is in making his bigger-sized kites “collapsible and foldable”, making it easy for foreigners to place the kites in boxes and luggage to be taken back to their respective countries. 

He uses the ripstop nylon cloth, which is more durable instead of the usual kite paper. 

Back home in Kedah, the former teacher is assisted by 13 young workers, most of them school-leavers, in making the traditional kites. He earns about RM4,000 to RM5,000 a month from this venture. 

More information on Malaysian traditional kites is available at the Kite Museum in Bukit Layang-Layang, Pasir Gudang, Johor, the first and only kite museum in the country. — Bernama

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