Wau flying is not just a form of entertainment but is also an artform that takes years to master.
This year, Intermark Mall decided to make the traditional artform the “king” of their Raya decoration, giving visitors the chance to take a closer look at the art and remind everyone of the country’s rich history and tradition.
The mall collaborated with award-winning wau-maker Razi Said to display his craft and even demonstrate it to the public.
We managed to catch up with the craftsman who shared with Rojak Daily how he stumbled upon his interest in wau-making and more.
Hours of work and years of training needed
Looking at the intricate designs on display, we could only imagine the hours of work that goes into making just a wau.
Our jaws almost dropped when we heard that Razi spends months to complete just one.
There is no definite timeline to it as it all depends on how much time Razi has in between his full-time job as a clerk in a lawyer’s office, his family, his other hobby - restoring old things, as well as conducting lectures and workshops on wau.
“Even the simplest one will take at least a month. It also depends on the time I have.
“If I come back home after work, I’m well-rested and feel ‘fresh’, the ideas will come. But when I’m tired, I don’t even want to look at a wau,” Razi explains.
He said that he only found the love for wau-making in his late thirties after he was married and had his first child.
Before that, his time was spent on a more adventurous activity - superbike convoys.
Once he discovered wau-making, Razi spent six years learning the craft before he started to feel confident enough to enter competitions and such.
“I was born and bred in Selangor. I was never exposed to things like wau-making.
“Once I discovered it, I got interested and trained in Kelantan for six years. I used to travel back and forth between the states, especially during the weekends, to learn the craft,” he said.
From choosing the right bamboo and shaping the main structure to coming up with beautiful designs to make up the whole kite, there’s a lot of techniques to master before one can successfully make a wau that wows.
Fast forward to 2021, Razi is an award-winning wau-maker and is well-known in the circle.
Each wau made often possesses the signature style of the maker.
Although there are different types of wau when it comes to structure such as the Wau Bulan, Wau Kucing and Wau Jalabudi, the designs are entirely up to its creators.
When it comes to Razi, he seems to like using bitter gourd plant as his inspiration, although you can also see the influence of other plants and flowers in his work.
He even makes some of the tools himself, such as the blade used to cut up papers for the wau design, as well as the knives used to shape and form the bamboo plants.
If you look at his designs, they often have several colours to them. This is achieved through manual layering.
Razi gets a general design drawn on a piece of paper and carves out parts that he wants to add colour to. He then carves out smaller pieces of paper of different colour and sticks them where he wants them to be.
He explained that the paper he uses is similar to those used to wrap presents. Often, he uses silver, gold and black to make the designs “pop” and matches other colours to suit the designs he comes up with.
While his work is gorgeous, it is also functional.
Representing the state
Razi and his team represents Wilayah Perseketuan Kuala Lumpur in wau competitions locally and have won many awards.
“My interest is in wau that flies. It takes a lot of skill to fly a wau. One of the competitions involves keeping the wau airborne for as long as possible within a 10-minute timeframe,” Razi explained.
Within the ten minutes, there are chances of the wau to tear, so the team has to be prepared to make quick repairs and get it airborne again to win the competition.
Not only does the whole process require skill, but it also requires a lot of practice and teamwork.
Razi showed us how a decorative wau is different from one that functions in that parts of the wau will have to be bendable and the measurements have to be precise. Both types can be impressive works of art but only one can fly.
Not for sale
Razi is happy to share his knowledge and even gives lectures at local universities as well as conducts workshops at his home.
However, the wau that he made for competitions and for his own satisfaction are not for sale.
“People have offered me thousands of ringgit for some of my wau but I don’t want to sell. Sayang,” he said.
If you’re curious as to how wau are made, you can head to Intermark Mall every Saturday at 2 p.m. from now till 15 May 2021, where you can watch Razi demonstrating his craft.
The mall also is giving away vouchers and presents to shoppers this Raya season.
Stock up on all your Raya goodies at Jaya Grocer’s Raya Delectables Fair, held at the Concourse Floor from April 19 to May 23. From festive treats, hampers, imported dates and chocolates, shoppers will be able to get all their favourite snacks just in time for Raya gifting!
Shoppers who spend RM500 and above in two accumulated receipts may redeem a Pyrex gift, RM50 dining cash vouchers and an exclusive set of Intermark Mall Hari Raya Packet.
Shoppers who spend RM300 and above in two combined receipts mall-wide may purchase a Bacarat headscarf at RM50 (normal price RM139).
Those who spend RM200 and above in a single receipt mall-wide from May 3 to May 9 may redeem a complimentary Grandmama’s RM10 cash voucher.
Happy shopping and happy enjoying the beautiful wau on display.