The forgotten Malay traditional games

By Ahmad Bazzi Ismail

Everyone of us has his or own favourite hobby or past time. Being kids most cannot run away from being attached to various games when growing up.

Kids in the old days were exposed to traditional games like kite, gasing, congkak and many more. Unfortunately, the changes in time or the modern era has made traditional games now almost being forgotten. The kids of today known as the millennials do not play these games anymore because their way of growing up has been tremendously changed because of rapid technological development. They now prefer to socialise on the Internet rather than in the reality of life in the field.

Subsequently, my explanation below is not not only to restore the nostalgia of the older generation about traditional games but also to introduce to the millennial generation about games that have a lot of meaning for their parents.

This feeling of nostalgia follows the event recently held in IIUM campus called “Oh My Kampung!” organised by a Communication Internship team where these forgotten traditional games were prominently displayed to bring back memories of kids of the old days.

1) Congkak

Congkak is the one famous traditional games in 1980s – 2000. It is made from hard wood that hardly breaks. The shape of the congkak is like a ship. It has 8 holes; 7 small holes and 1 big hole. A big hole considered as owner’s house where the points collected will be calculated according to the amount of seeds (or marbles) been put in it. Congkak can be played by two players at the same time. At the beginning of the game, the small holes are filled with 7 seeds. If the player chooses a hole filled with the seeds, then he needs to move each of it to the next holes until it finishes. Each move needs to be filled with one seed. The player can move until the last seed fills in the empty hole. At the end, who gets more will win the match.

2) Gasing (Top spinning)

Gasing or top spinning is also a traditional game in Malaysia. It is usually played by the older group. But, in the old time it is also been played by the kids. They usually play the small gasing or top. Gasing has no limit in size calculation. But in terms of competition, there are specifications of the size and weight that need to be filled up by the participants. Gasing is rounded and attached with a sharp nail in the middle of the shape. This is aimed to make it spin balanced on the surface. In order to get it spin, the player needs to roll it with a rope or string. Once it is covered, the player needs to throw the Gasing and at the same time pull the rope wisely on the surface. The spinning time depends on how strong the power of throw and its stability. The more stable the Gasing, the longer it will spin.

3) Lompat Tali (Rope Jumping)

Most children born during the 1990s should be very familiar with Lompat Tali. This game is also a form of traditional game. Lompat tali only needs the rope made by rubber and the players. The game can be played by many players and it does not have a specific limitation in terms of number. Everybody can enjoy it. To play this game, firstly it requires two persons to hold the rope. It usually starts with the lowest stage which is from the footstep. The opponent needs to jump off the rope and make sure they do not touch the rope. If they touch it, they are considered disqualified There are so many stages in terms of height of the rope hold. After finishing with footstep level, it goes to knee, thigh, waist, chest, shoulder, chin, ears, head, inches of palm, and lastly the whole hand raise upwards. Who are able to finish these stages first are calculated as the winners.

4) Batu Seremban

Batu Seremban is usually played by girls and it can have two or more players. The batu are usually from stones, or green beans or sand that have be sewn into a piece of cloth. It can be rectangular or round shape. In this game, players usually use 5 pieces of stone. The first player needs to clutch and throw the stones to the ground. Then, she needs to choose one stone, and throw it in the air while the same hand that she uses to throw before needs to collect the stone on the ground before the thrown stone fell down into her hand. The collection process can be one by one or by pair, or by all in one hand. It depends on the rules the players set, if they want to play the customary one, then it will be different. After that the player collects all the four stones on the ground. She is given a chance to get points by balancing the stone on the opposite side of her palm. What she needs to do is throw the arranged stones on her palm in the air and balance it on the opposite side of her palm, then catch them again with her palm. The more stones she gets, the more points she will receive.

Actually, there are so many traditional games played by the older generation but in this post I would like to highlight just four of the main ones. We can see that even these games can eliminate boredom of the older generation during their childhood compared to kids of today. Hopefully, these games will be as the kids’ routine again in the future! ***

Photo credited to Google

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