• Paper Kites in Malaysia 03 November 2014 | View comments

  • Being an Australian who lives in London, South East Asia is a frequent stopover on my trips back home to Adelaide. It was on a trip several years ago that I first stopped in Kuala Lumpur - these days I always try to take a few days break somewhere I haven’t been before, to ease my way through that long journey.

    I stayed in a hotel that overlooked the vibrant Jalan Petaling night market and loved it, but what I really wanted to do was see wildlife of a non-human variety. As this was only a brief visit, I didn’t have time to get out to the rainforest, but not to worry – there’s a fantastic bird park with a butterfly park very close by.

    It was hot and steamy in the city, so it was lovely to find some green space and tranquillity away from the hubbub of the city centre and market. And there’s something magical about the beauty of butterflies. The way their wings shine, the gorgeous colours, their flitting movement, their delicacy… it was wonderful to watch them dance around and hope they’d rest for a moment with their wings outstretched for a closer look.

    But the one that really caught my eye wasn’t a brightly coloured flitty specimen. It was the large Paper Kite, whose wings are so big they billow when it wafts passed, the black and white pattern standing out against the verdant green and vibrant flowers of the ‘rainforest’. While big and billowy it may be, its wings are like delicate organza with a hand-painted pattern in black, sometimes with a hint of yellow towards the base. Always in awe of nature, I was transfixed.

    I have subsequently returned to Malaysia where I visited the jungles of Borneo seeing as many as 20 different varieties of butterfly in less than an hour, but I’ll always remember this gentle giant that in its understated way said ‘look at me’.

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