28 Rejab 1430H
I am an old wooden hut on the edge of the polluted river. In me, the old doctor bends over his work-table, focusing his attention to his quasi-flat patient; cutting little details into what locals call a wau. The old man is a rare breed among the languishing craftsmen who produce the traditional kites. Their flying arts decorate the windy evening skies of the paddy harvesting season.
My Dad’s tale of how the name, “wau” came to be:
Foreigners in the peninsular were amazed when they saw the flying kites, exclaiming “Wow!” with fingers pointing to the kite dancing with the wind. The locals thought that “Wow” was its name in the outsiders’ tongue; and nodded with a smile, confidently repeating the name. The foreigners thought that “Wow” was what locals call such an item. Thus an amazing example of miscommunication. The jawi spelling of the sound “wow” and the word “wau” would be the letters wau-alif-wau.
A silhouette of the wau kucing is visible on the vertical stabilizer of a MAS airplane.
Thanx to Sooch for information on the location of the picture.