Articles

  • A hobby and sport in the West and a religious celebration in the East, kiting became international in the last two decades through increased global travel and because the internet made verbal connections fast and easy. Intelligent patronage by the Drachen Foundation helped these developments significantly.
  • With their signature stacks of thirteen Hyperkites pulling 40’ long tails, The Bay Area Sundowners have the distinction of being one of the oldest and most entertaining kite flying teams in the world today.
  • THE COMPETITION: The Chulas and Pakpaos engage in an annual battle of the sexes at Sanam Luang, the Royal Parade Grounds next to and directly north of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Kiteflying from March 15 to April 15 is the time when winds-"kite winds"-blow from the south. The due north orientation of the venue and the way the winds blow over the palace provide excellent flying conditions.
  • The collection of Thai royal kites Ron Spaulding of Bangkok put together for The Drachen Foundation is notable because it is the first time the Foundation has gone out and actively sought to obtain a comprehensive collection of kites from a given tradition, complete with all the accessories used to fly them, the tools to craft them, as well as samples of native materials used in their manufacture.
  • 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.
  • Reflecting a resurgence of interest in traditional culture, eight of the countries that make up the ASEAN confederation have taken the first step in establishing a kite council. ASEAN stands for Association of South East Asian Nations and is a trade group with sports and cultural components. Formation of a pro tem working committee to organize the council occurred at the recent Pasir Gudang festival in Johor, Malaysia.
  • Being placed on Thomas Jeckel’s Websites is sort of like praying for rain and receiving a downpour that washes out the valley. Delightful at first, his postings start to overload your screen, or at least your nervous system. Yet the thought of erasure never occurs. Amid the oddities and incoherencies, there are wonderful postings------------ weekly, daily, hourly.
  • A foreign observer at the royal kitefighting tournament in Bangkok recently found himself participant instead of observer. Standing in the middle of a dense crowd observing the action overhead, he watched as a Chula engaged in mortal combat with a Pakpao. A siren was sounding loudly, whistles blowing, spectators shouting in excitement. Suddenly there was a swishing sound just overhead and a plummeting kite slammed painfully into the shoulder of the farang (Westerner).
  • Boontham Himsakun and Vinai Phomitong have been flying kites together for 40 years and constitute the best kite competitition team in Bangkok today.
  • Every afternoon in March at 3 p.m., kite teams assemble on the 700-yard kite field next to the royal palace in Bangkok to do aerial battle. In a centuries-old tradition unlike any other in the world, the sky fighting take place between two very different types of kites-----the large and aggressive male Chula and the small and flirty female Pakpao. It’s an erotic dance in the sky.