Q1. What is your first piece of work?


Answer: I built a kite. I was not born into a wealthy family, and, due to my family background, it was difficult for me to acquire the costly material necessary to make a kite. As a result, I only could use my homework paper and a clothing line to make one. At that time, I had no teacher to teach me, but after it was made, I had a strong sense of accomplishment. I have been making kites ever since.

Q2. Which work is the most meaningful work among all of your kite works?


Answer:That is the Eight Diagrams Sword Lion. This work is one that well represents Taiwan’s style of kites. It also won the award for best work of art in the 2001 Hong Kong International kite Competition.


Q3. When did you start to study kite making?


Answer:I was interested in kites since I was a little boy. However, I didn’t begin studying them seriously until I had enough money for materials.

Q4. .Did you face any difficulties or bottlenecks when creating kites? If so, how did you overcome with them?


nswer:There are always bottlenecks! The most important is when the kite cannot fly . However, this is not an insurmountable problem, I just keeping trying – studying the design – and I am always able to figure out a way to make it work.

Q5. .In the old days, kids always played “kite fighting”. How would you make the kite stronger, more durable?

 
nswer:Traditionally, kites were made by cotton paper and bamboo, but now they are often  made with a carbon fiber frame and cloth, which increases their durability.

Q6. .We all know that Master Lai has been involved in many kite contests, both internationally and domestically. But which work are you most proud of?


nswer:Certainly it was the piece which won the “Best Work of Art” award and the “Best Kite Flying” awards in the Hong Kong International Kite Competition: The Eight Diagrams Sword Lion. (It’s easy to tell Master Lai is really attached to the Eight Diagrams Sword Lion piece of work.)

Q7. .When you first began thinking of creating a kite museum, why did you decide create a museum/bed and breakfast?


nswer:Well, without a solid financial base, I needed the B&B to “take care of the kites”. I’ve been taking care of it about as long as you middle school students are old, roughly 13~14 years, now.

Q8. Do you have any further plans for the museum in the future?


nswer:Increase the accessible space: Master Lai says that due the governments’ regulations, the B&B needs to increase its accessibility, and he is willing to build it However, the area where the space will be added does not have enough light, so he needs the government’s help to connect the road to the B&B.
If there is enough money, Master Lai is hoping to increase the following facilities:
More parking space for all visitors.
Expand the front door for unloading baggage: Master Lai says, nowadays most visitors are not willing to carry their heavy baggage up the long walkway. If they can unload their baggage right in front of the door, it will increase the incentive for visiting the kite museum.

Q9.  In the 2006 French Kite festival, Taiwanese contestants won the competition and were able to show the Taiwanese flag at the international. How do you feel about using kites to promote Taiwan?


nswer: I suggest we can make more kites with special figures of Taiwan such as the Eight Diagrams Sword Lion. The Eight Diagrams Sword Lion is a good work to represent Taiwan.
Master Lai has thought of holding an international kite competition at Jiu-Fen. But to do so, the high-voltage electrical wires in the area. Also, as Jiu-Fen has become an ever more popular tourist place, the new buildings/construction has infringed upon the amount of available land to hold such an event. The original place was to be for the kite competition has now become a parking lot. The idea of hosting an international competition there has become impossible.

Q10. What are the advantages and disadvantages of building a kite museum in Jiu-Fen?


nswer
Advantages: Bringing the traditional folk custom such as kite making to my home town is the best advantage.
Disadvantages: My first idea to build the museum was to display kite work, and host a kite competition during the holidays at the space next to the museum. But we face the following difficulties:
The lack of land: As mentioned earlier, we simply cannot find more space in Jiu-Fen.
The block of high-voltage pole: As Jiu-Fen developed more high-voltage electrical poles where raised, blocking the way for flying kites.

Q11. If Taiwan wants to promote the kite activities, what particular support or improvement need to be enhanced?


nswer
Funds: it needs government’s financial support and land support.

It should be better promoted in schools, from schools to the public: Talking about this, Master Lai feels that it is sad that it is so difficult to promote kites as a traditional skill not even to mention to managing the kite museum. He feels that the most basic requirement is to promote kite making in schools. Teacher Li-Jin Shan has asked to invite the Master Lai to instruct at the Ruei-Fu Junior High School. Master Lai has been volunteering his time there, demonstrating his enthusiasm for promoting the kite making activities.

Q12. Can you tell us how you have maintained your dream from young until now? Did anyone or anything give you special support to persevere until know?


nswer:Kite making is my hobby, so that is enough to keep me going no matter what difficulties are faced. Plus, being involved with the Kite Association with friends who also have passion for kite making gives me great motivation to continue working.

Q13.Have you ever seen any unique materials used to make kites?


nswer:In Switzerland, people use the feathers and bones of seabirds. Additionally, in the Philippines and Indonesia, people use leaves to make kites; these materials are really unique.

Q14. Do you face any difficulties for collecting the kite works?


nswer:Joining the kite international competition able to see many outstanding kites. However, many are too costly to collect.

Q15. Can you give us an example on any special works that you are willing to collect but could not?


nswer:There was a kite work, Chinese Zhong Kui, which featured a hard wing design, but cost a few thousand US dollars so I truly could not afford it. Another I saw at a foreign competition which was made with several pieces of fabric of all colors. The work took three years to complete, and cost more than ten thousand U.S. dollars. Due to the high price, we were not able to purchase it.

Q16. Did you face any resistance from your family when first establishing the kite museum?


nswer Of course, certainly. They questioned me on the economic benefit associated with collecting the art work. But, though they did not support the idea, I have overcome many difficulties to keep my hobby going until now. Speaking seriously though, it would be better to have the financial means and then establish a museum.

Q17. We all know that the museum host the kite activities with Mainland China, can you talk about those at all?


nswer: Taiwan hosts the kite festival every year, and it attracts visitors from China who join this activity. These people also come to my kite museum in Jiu-Fen as well to exchange our kite experiences.

Q18. Lastly, can you give some suggestions to people who also have the same dream for creating their own works of art and building their own business?


nswer: I suggest people should have a dream first and then try again and again until they succeed. But having enough money is also really important.