A puppeteer from Mexico puts on a show.

KUCHING: The Rainforest World Puppet Carnival here opened to a full house on Monday night. Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, who represented Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, declared open the event at Old Courthouse Auditorium.

“Puppetry is an ancient form of art and we have to look beyond it because it is a combination of performance, technical skills and craft. “The puppeteer, who holds everything, tells a story and the main thing to portray in puppeteering is the story behind it.

“Puppeteering is not only merely a toy or a performance but it goes beyond that. In Malaysia, we have ‘Wayang Kulit’ and it is a different but similar form of performance arts,” he said. He added that through this art, the ministry was able to promote it and “perhaps, the locals can pick up this art form.”

“As for future World Puppet Carnivals, we hope to see our very own Malaysians perform to audiences around the world. “For children who are interested in puppeteering, they can attend a puppeteering tuition class if we were to have one,” Hii said.

A puppeteer from Mexico puts on a show.

“The Sarawak government is fully supportive and is encouraging more culture and art events to be organised in order for Kuching to be a lively city.” Hii further noted that Kuching had hosted the carnival for three years (2015, 2017 and 2019) and if the city were to host it again, the state government will be fully supportive.

Meanwhile, World Puppet Carnival Continental (Asia) director Gerald Goh said the next carnivals would be heldin Dubai, Hollywood and Paris, among others. The carnival features 57 puppeteers from 17 countries across five continents, which means that there will be 14 exciting theaters and shows for six days (Nov 11 to 16) at Old Courthouse Auditorium.

The public are encouraged to attend the carnival as well as to be part of an attempt to create a record in the Malaysia Book of Records for the most puppeteers in a parade.