Written by Harith Zulkefly, Edited by Hanif Omar Yazid
As technology advance through the years, with the inventions of social media and electronic gadgets seems to be a new and preferable pastime. In this era, kids nowadays don’t play traditional games as much as 90s kids like me once upon a time ago where rich kids brag having a Game Boy Colour while some play teraju selipar. However, children in rural areas are still being very fond and interested in playing traditional games, with such inadequate privilege to afford smartphones or tablets. In fact, traditional games are the go-to activities for those kids who live in rural areas as that is they find leisure with this and used it to bond with one another. Sadly, traditional games seem to be fading away from the interest of the millennials. Therefore, here’s a throwback to our parents’ favourite games when they were young.
1) Batu Seremban
‘Tossing the stones’ or mainly known as batu seremban is a traditional game that involves at least 2 players or more. It is usually played with few small round stones or pebbles. Besides small stones, a small triangular or round shaped cloth bag filled with saga seeds are also used as a substitute to stones. In addition, this game is usually played at home, in a park or anywhere clean during their leisure time. As they found the perfect spot, they will sit on the floor in a circle and play in turns. They aim of the game is to collect each “batu” as they toss one on to the air, and they must collect the stone on the ground and then catch the tossed stone. Do these five consecutive times in one turn until there’s no stones/bags on the ground, you survive. If failed, you’re eliminated. The winner is determined until there’s only one person left survived.
2) Galah Panjang
Galah panjang is a traditional game played on an open space or a court with lines drawn on it. The lines drawn are all depending on the number of players playing. usually, this game is played with 8 people with 4 players on each team. This game is played by both boys and girls as example, if the number of players playing is 8 people, there will be a total of 3 lines drawn. Galah panjang is a game about speed and efficiency of the players to run pass through the defending team.
Congkak is one of the most famous traditional games in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei and some parts of Sumatra and Borneo. Congkak is considered as a game played for girls. Now, anyone can play it. Congkak is played with two players sitting in front of one another. Congkak boards are made of wood and the sides are carved into various shapes and sizes. The name congkak is originally from the Malay word “congak” that means mental arithmetic. Basically, that is how this game works. It’s all about mental calculation. One easy trick to win this game is that you must mentally calculate your next move in advance and this will give you an extra advantage to collect points and win the game. In addition, agile hands are also one of the key factors to win this game.
“Spinning Top” or known as Gasing is a traditional game in Malaysia played by children mainly, young boys. Gasing originally comes from the state of Kelantan. At Kelantan, after the rice harvest season, villagers will meet up and challenge one another in a round of gasing to test their skills. The villagers believe that by playing gasing, it would give them good harvest. Subsequently, gasing is played on a flat open area by children and adults. However, the gasing used by adults are much bigger in size and able to spin for a longer time compared to ones used by kids which are smaller in size. Gasing is made of wood and weighs around 0.5 to 1.0 kilograms. The different shapes of gasing are plate-shaped, heart-shaped, hat-top and berembang-shaped. Gasing Berembang are named because it is made from freely accessible fruit on the seafront. The fruit is round, somewhat flat and smooth.
Guli or known as marbles is one of the simpler games played back in the olden days. A game of Guli is suitable for both girls and boys aged between seven years old to twelve years old. Furthermore, number of players should not exceed five people. It is usually played on a flat open surface and a circle drawn with an approximately diameter of 1 metre. This game is not as easy as it looks. This is because, this game involves throwing a guli on the target accurately. In addition, these marbles are very small and the type of guli used to play this game are the ones made of limestone and its round.
This game originally comes from the late 70s and is very popular at that time. This game is uses bottle caps. Additionally, these bottle caps are taken from soy sauce bottles or any bottles that uses steel bottle caps. This game consists of two players or more and 5 pieces of bottle caps are used in a game. The way this game is played is very simple. To play this game, a player must count the amount of ceper available during the weighing ceper. Each ceper represents two marks. Winners will be determined by the total numbers of ceper successfully weighed and the amount of marks obtained.
Wau is one of the popular traditional games in Malaysia played since hundreds of years ago. Wau consists of authentic Malay motifs that can be seen in the form of patterns and the design available. Back then, villagers used to believe that the vines symbolize a man’s life and the flowers represent a woman’s life. This game is popular in rural areas especially in the East Coast of Malaysia which is in Kelantan, Terengganu, also in the Northern states of Perlis and Kedah. Wau are usually played at the end of harvest season as a form of de-stress after working in the fields. This is a game that tests the skills and efficiency of the player in making and flying the kite. Usually played by male adults, there is no fixed number of players. In fact, the more the merrier. Played in open areas, this game requires a kite and long strings or yarn. The game can also be played as a competition to choose the highest-flying kite, the most skilful player in flying the kite, the kite that makes the best melodious sound, the most colourful kite, the kite with the most beautiful drawing and the kite that flies in the straightest manner. The three types of wau are Wau Bulan, Wau Kucing and Wau Jala Budi. Wau Bulan, named for its crescent like tail shape. Wau Jala Budi or known as woman’s kite, takes the curves of a woman and Wau Kucing, named after a shape resembling a cat that is sitting from the rear corner, starting from the head, the body and the tail of the cat.
Playing traditional games gives many advantages to its players. One of it, is that it boosts up our critical thinking skills. Playing traditional games requires us to use our brain’s ability to memorize and to calculate. As example, by playing congkak, it helps us to improve on our mental calculation as to win that game we must always calculate our next move and that helps to increase our calculation skills. Playing bottle caps requires children to create their own strategies to hit the bottle caps and win the game. Therefore, this will help them to improve on their thinking skills at young age.
Furthermore, by playing traditional games, children are exposed to the outside world and learn new things that they may not learn in class. Moreover, traditional games require body movement such as swinging of the arms and jumping. This encourages the kids to exercise and at the same time it improves their physical health. Hence, traditional games should not be forgotten today as these traditional games has its own advantages for the young ones!