Have you ever played “Ketingting” and “Batu Seremban” before? If no, you may be a millennial or born in the internet era playing video games instead of these loved traditional games.
For myself, I grew up in the 70s and played these games before. The only electronic game I played back then was the Nintendo’s Game and Watch series featuring Popeye and Olive Oyl. No iPad. No tablet or PC. No online games.
But times have changed. Look at the countless digital games available today. Hence, it is no surprise the young generation have missed the fun of playing some of these traditional ones:
Wau means kite in the Malay language. This traditional game is particularly popular in the states of Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan especially after the harvest of paddy. There are competitions of wau flying to see which wau is the most beautiful and can fly the highest. The famous Wau Bulan comes in the shape of the crescent at the tail. Today, wau flying continues to be a popular pastime in the rural areas.
Sepak takraw is undeniably one of the most popular traditional games. In fact, it is also played as a medal sport in the Asian Games and SEA Games. The ball is made from rattan and has even become a souvenir item for tourists who treasure Malaysian handicrafts.
Kids love prizes. Tikam-tikam is a game of chance which uses a big board displaying a stack of mini ang pow packets carrying the winning prizes which include toys and junk foods. As a kid, I secretly visited the sundry shop to play this game which costed only five cents per pack. Come to think of it, although the game is exciting, I should have saved all my money in the piggy bank instead.
This is a mancala game and is often considered as the game for girls. The word “congkak” is believed to originate from the old Malay word “congak” which means “mental calculation”. It involves two players dropping marbles or red saga onto the holes of the congkak board, making sure one does not end on an empty one.
This game only uses rubber bands to form the skipping rope. The male players will try to outshine one another to see who can jump the highest. However, the girls can choose to jump the rope and are allowed to touch the rope.
Ketingting or Teng Teng is known as airplane jumping. This is a localized hopscotch game and my top outdoor game. The game uses a chalk-drawing diagramme of squares from one to nine. Each player will kick off by throwing a stone at square one and he must hop with one leg onto each square until number nine and back. On his way back, he must retrieve the stone, all while staying in balance.
Known as five stones, this game involves throwing and catching a set of five pebbles, one or a few pieces at a time. The game becomes more complicated as the player advances through the stages. There is another option called seven stones or batu tujuh.
There are many other traditional games. While the internet and video games are more popular today, there is nothing more precious than the memories of playing these traditional games. After all, old is gold.
Words & Photos by Francis Yip