The inimitable Shakib Gunn is a fixture in the kite community. His famous kitefliers passports are found throughout the worlds, and the large festivals he organized in Singapore in the 1980's were the beginning of the international kite scene in Southeast Asia. In a series of talks with Shakib in Singapore, where we both live, he explained his philosophy toward kites, festivals and life in general.
Born in Surrey, England, in 1934, Shakhib's first experience with kites was with a Gibson Girl boxkite. He learned to assemble and fly the kite in the garden by following instructions printed on the sail.
By 1953 he was living in Singapore and flying kites from a rooftop over Eu Tong Sen mansion in the middle of the city. These were kites of his own design made of bamboo and paper. At that time, everyone flew kites in the surrounding villages, or kampongs, the older men being acknowledged as the experts.