Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Sky Doctors

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.


Anonymous said...

Hi there.
Was wondering if I can use this photo and the photo on wikipedia (same photo, diff angle) for school educational book i'm working on. Chapter on kesenian melayu. Do email me back at asyurahismail@panpaceducation.com
Thank you!

Salam Ramadhan,

Gula "gulaley" Kapas said...

@ Anonymous

Done! :)

docgelo said...

hi, im based in penang and would appreciate if you can email me details on where specifically in kelantan shall i see this wau bulan craftsmen and their wonderful creations! i am planning to bring my family there soon. thanks!

email : docgelo@yahoo.com
blog : http://docgelo.wordpress.com

Gula "gulaley" Kapas said...

@ docgelo
Done! :)

Anonymous said...

I love your pics and would want to use it for a special purpose, i can explain more. How do i get in touch with you? please email me at maknenek@gmail.com.


Gula "gulaley" Kapas said...

Salam, Ruby.

I've sent you an email :)