Flying dragon display at Kwai Chai Hong lends majestic air to KL’s CNY festivities

The dragon’s vivid colours were made possible thanks to modern methods in the production process. — Pix by Hari Anggara
The dragon’s vivid colours were made possible thanks to modern methods in the production process. — Pix by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — A colourful flying dragon has descended upon the heart of Kuala Lumpur just in time for Chinese New Year.

The 88-feet-long installation is situated in the revamped alley of Kwai Chai Hong near Petaling Street and shows off the art of dragon kites with a specially handcrafted head and tail.

The dragon, which symbolises power, strength, and good luck in Chinese culture, hangs amongst an array of red lanterns which cast a beautiful glow across the pre-war shophouses after sunset.

Renowned dragon kite and dance masters Chong Swee Ching and Siow Ho Phiew were involved in the project which took around 45 days to complete, all the way from design to installation.

Dragons are mythical creatures of great esteem in Chinese culture and were often associated with imperial authority.
Dragons are mythical creatures of great esteem in Chinese culture and were often associated with imperial authority.

Kwai Chai Hong is overseen by Bai Chuan Management and three of its members were under Siow’s tutelage to learn how to restore, design, and paint the dragon’s head and tail.

Meanwhile, Melaka-based Chong offered his knowledge on dragon kite-making to produce a body that could withstand the elements while being durable and light-weight.

Tradition also meets modern technology in the crafting process as the dragon’s fluorescent yellow and pink colours are credited to Epson’s digital textile printing team.

The alley looks even more beautiful after sunset when the lanterns are lit up.
The alley looks even more beautiful after sunset when the lanterns are lit up.

Bai Chuan Management managing partner Zeen Chang said that harnessing digital methods has allowed them to transform their “creation of a fantasy” into a reality.

“It took a lot of hard work and many blessings really, in researching methods and technical ways to produce it.

“There is as much science in this art installation than just pure creativity,” she said in a press release.

Visitors who walk past Kwai Chai Hong’s archway entrance will be greeted by the majestic beast, one of several attractions and activities that Bai Chuan has lined up to usher in the Year of the Rat.

The alley aims to transport tourists and locals to the glory days of the city’s Chinatown and has become a hotspot for cultural activities since it opened last year.

Chang said they have received more than 115,000 visitors to date based on tracking the lane’s QR codes, which offers visitors information about the various murals depicting 1960s life in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Visitors can catch the flying dragon anytime from 9am to 12am daily until February 16.

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