BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, March 15 (Xinhua) -- A national pastime that has seen a decline in recent years is once again attempting to take the skies with the Brunei International Kite Festival.
The five-day event, which kicks off on Friday and ends on March 19, will see approximately two hundred kite flyers, 50 of whom international participants from 50 countries and regions, reviving the dormant pastime that has been closely tied to Brunei's culture.
Kite flying has seen a decline in popularity in Brunei due to airspace restrictions, although local residents want to continue the kite flying culture, said Assistant Secretary of the Brunei International Kite Festival Badarudin Murni.
"Kite flying is the traditional hobby of Bruneians but it is slowly disappearing and we want to bring it back," he said.
The inaugural event will be held at the Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas in the capital.
Badarudin said the site underwent approval from government authorities.
"We had to apply for approval from the Department of Civil Aviation because they are the authority for this," he said.
He also said that while limited, there are still places listed on the Department of Civil Aviation's website that allow kite flying activities.
The assistant secretary said the association was especially keen to introduce Brunei's own flavor of kite flying to the country's younger generation.
"The youth are not familiar with the kites we have in Brunei. They do not know the names and the designs and how these kites are made."
"In this festival, we want to introduce Brunei's kites to them through workshops and exhibitions," he said.
Badarudin went on to say that many of Brunei's kites still keep traditional designs but are constructed with modern technology and materials.
"We used to use paper, now we can use the same materials used in parachutes. The kites now are also larger. They can be as large as 10 feet," he said.
He hopes the younger generation could come and participate in this traditional festival and enjoy the old fun.