Make kites 'dance' and perform 'stunts'

Show Kites Singapore promotes kite flying in Singapore and its kites have won awards overseas.
Show Kites Singapore promotes kite flying in Singapore and its kites have won awards overseas.PHOTO: MAGGIE MOK

Kite flying is more than getting a kite up in the sky - you can also make it "dance" and perform "stunts" up there.

Welcome to the world of show-kite flying and a group of enthusiasts here hopes to popularise the art - and fun - to people of all ages.

Show Kites Singapore was started three years ago by housewife Maggie Mok and her husband Johnny Yap, 42, a logistics coordinator.

The main aim of the non-profit group is to pique the interest of people who are otherwise not interested in kite flying, said Ms Mok, 42. "You have to first put on a good show to attract them."

She added: "During a show-kite performance, we fly inflatable kites that require two to four people to launch. We also fly sport kites doing stunts that are synchronised with music. We choreograph our own routine for the sport-kite flying."

Kites adorned with LED lights are flown as well, if weather permits, she said.

So far, the group has managed to attract people from all walks of life, with members ranging from students to professionals and retirees. Their ages range from 10 to 55.

Members typically have kites of their own, which include inflatables, and dual- and four-line sport or stunt kites.

Among the members are avid kite fliers who often take part in international kite festivals, including those held in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

They have also won accolades, such as the Best Performance award at the Weifang International Kite Festival in China in 2013 and last year; second place for Best Performance In The Air at the Guizhou Wanshan Kite Festival in March this year; and second place for Quad Kite Solo Performance at the Uiseong International Kite Festival in South Korea in April this year.

Show Kites Singapore designs its own kites and also has them custom-made in China. Said Ms Mok: "All the big kites that we have are mainly in the colour of white and red that represents Singapore.

"One of our icons is The Merlion. It's 10m tall and has travelled to a few kite festivals."

The kite designs have bagged a few awards, including one for the largest kite at the Borneo International Kite Festival in 2014 for a 20m-tall bear kite. They also came in first runner-up for the most harmonious and colourful kite at the 19th Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival in 2014.

While show-kite flying is still relatively niche in Singapore, Ms Mok is glad that kite flying in general is gaining traction, thanks to locations that are conducive for flying a kite, such as the Marina Barrage.

"On weekends, families with children throng the field (near the barrage) with kites in hand. Kite flying keeps them busy and encourages family bonding," she said.

Clarice Teo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Make kites 'dance' and perform 'stunts''. Print Edition | Subscribe