Singapore is booming!
For the past 3-4 years I’ve been observing a modern kiting phenomenon in Singapore with great interest… While there is an ancient tradition of kiting in this part of the world, modern kite designs, technology and techniques were not widespread in Singapore (SG) until the past several years.
Near the beginning of this, there were a number of shops selling copies of various known kite designs, and through extensive communication I’ve actually been able to convince two such shops of the benefits that can come with selling authentic products and focusing on community building with a standard of quality in what they’re selling… It’s an interesting location, a very effective “meeting ground” between China and the west in terms of styles, media and sales channels, so the brave changes being made here have some ramifications with regard to the standards and principles that are being introduced or reinforced with fliers who are buying their first kites – they learn what is sold with the kite, if you know what I mean.
I think at this point, the Singapore kiting community is openly interacting with the global kiting community more and more every day, finding their wings as another recognized modern kite nation… One of the things that seems to be working to their advantage is how relatively unexposed modern kiting had been in their mass media, so they’re finding ways to package or present it without as much connotation coming along with the term “kites”.
Most noticeably in Singapore’s past two years, there has been a significant boom in quad team, street/urban flying and indoor flying… From my limited perspective in the USA, it seemed that a number of SG fliers started by voraciously devouring every bit of related kite video and forum material, studying and adopting and implementing much of it for themselves as all newcomers to a pastime tend to do… Over the past 18 months especially, I’ve seen that emulation mature into a life, flavor and passion all its own.
Another interesting dynamaic about Singapore is the limited space they have available (roughly 44km E to W by 24km N to S), so with outdoor flying venues at a real premium, indoor and especially urban (“street”) kiting have really taken off due to the smaller spaces required, it’s easier to fit into a corner somewhere and fly without being chased off.
Leading the way with large-scale exposure and kite education, at least in terms of indoor and urban flying, might very well be ACT3 International whom you can read a little about in our report (complete with videos) from their Indoor Flying Fiesta, located in this same issue of Kitelife… ACT3 is getting kiting into large venues like the multi-million dollar ION Orchard shopping center, and into a whole lot of very well done school presentations that combine kiting, juggling and other entertaining, yet complimentary demonstrations.
There are also several active kite groups that actively organize festivals, workshops and public events… The old and well established Singapore Kite Association (SKA) may represent the more traditional “kite organization” model with membership dues and such, whereas De’One might be at the other end of the scale with their less formal and perhaps more active (kite fanatic) flying schedule and no official membership roster… There are others too – some named for their regional area (like the Yishun Flyers), plus some teams, as well as some “store branded” groups that often meet to fly wearing their favorite kite store shirts (most frequently yellow or black)… And as with anywhere, there are also some “independents”, fliers who just want to fly and don’t so much identify with one group or another but are still very active in the flying community.
With this in mind, during our visit to Singapore at the end of July, I issued an open invitation for all Rev fliers to come and attend a 3 hour fly – the terms were simple, show up, show your “colors” (support your club, store or team), no politics… Shut up and fly, to borrow a phrase.
Despite the fact that many of the fliers are Muslim and were in the midst of a fast, we still had somewhere around FIFTY fliers in attendence – probably the most Revolution fliers Singapore had ever seen on a single field, and we even set a new national (not international) record with 28 kites in a mega fly, enough that it isn’t likely to be surpassed without a similar combined effort since no single group has that many dedicated fliers in it… This was my ultimate goal, to get everyone in one place and do something as a unified (if only temporarily) body of fliers.
Personally, I can’t wait to see how things develop and grow for Singapore’s kiting scene in the coming years… Having actually spent a couple of weeks there, having already met a very large portion of the local kiters, and after speaking with almost all of the kite store owners or managers at one time or another, I have only one concern – for the fliers to establish and nurture a set of common goals that bond them beyond the influence of battling kite stores.
It’s obviously an unknown at this point, but I believe in the Singaporean passion and spirit, ever upward and onward, always building and rebuilding… If you ever have the chance to visit, I heartily encourage you to do so and experience it first hand, my own experiences there (kiting, touristing, eating, etc) were simply amazing.
The future of KiteMail
Last item for the moment…
As many of you know, we’ve had to stop taking new users on our free KiteMail email service due to extensive abuse by spammers… Services like Yahoo, AOL, etc all have similar issues but have the infrastructure to handle such things… Here at Kitelife, we’re a little grassroots organization and found ourselves in need of decisive action.
This is VERY IMPORTANT… If you have a KiteMail account (like firstname.lastname@example.org), you’ll need to log in sometime between now and the 1st of September in order to keep your account active… On the 1st of the month, we’ll be purging ALL accounts that have not been accessed in the preceding 90 days.
Log in here – http://readmail.kitemail.com/email/scripts/loginuser.pl
All you’ll need to do is log in once, and you’re all set… If you don’t have an account, you don’t have anything to worry about since we’re not accepting new users any longer. 😉
That’s all I have for now, see you on the field!