Model-making with bamboo. This hobby is a favourite with the Malayan people and with workman-like?
Model-making with bamboo. This hobby is a favourite with the Malayan people and with workman-like care they fashion everything from modern cars to replicas of traditional rickshaws with the versatile plant.
This workman is putting the finishing touches to the framework of a bamboo house, covering it wit multi-coloured paper. Lanterns and chairs are other objects made from bamboo -- a home industry which at festival time brings families extra money.
Model-making such as this requires skill and patience and the art is handed down from generation to generation. Working in backyards and in the home, the bamboo is split into small strips. Using nothing more than a parang, their feet and hands, the modellers make an awkward job look simple. One slip and the sharp edge of the bamboo can easily draw blood.
But for all the labour and care involved most of the intricate models in the end serve only one purpose. For the people believe that life after death is much the same on earth and the needs of the dead are similar to those of the living. So at a funeral ceremony, the work of the modeller goes up in flames -- heavenwards the people believe -- to take shape and provide the same purpose in the other world.
Not all models are created solely for the funeral pyre. The living have need of them too - and the decorative art, bearing the name of the workman, is hung outside the house on festive occasions. Many models of bamboo and paper are sold during the traditional Moon Festival.