Back in the days before the internet, iPads, Playstation and other forms of electronic entertainment, both children and adults had to find means of entertainment. If you’re wondering what Malaysians did to keep themselves entertained in those days, here are five traditional games all Malaysians have played at least once in their lives.
Image source from malaysiangames.blogspot.my
The word ‘Wau’ derives from an Arabic letter as the shape of this kita resembles its outline. It is said that farmers in the past used the wau as a scarecrow of sorts to ward off birds from their paddy fields. In Malaysia, the most popular Wau is called the ‘Wau Bulan’ where bulan means moon in the Malay language. The name fits as it takes after the shape of the moon and the tail also resembles a crescent. There are various Wau festivals that take place in Malaysia, should you wish to experience flying a Wau.
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Congkak is a mancala game and the name originates from the old Malay word ‘congak’ which refers to the mental calculation practised in this game. A good player would have an advantage in collecting points to win the game when they can calculate a few steps in advance. The congkak board consists of two rows of seven holes called the ‘houses’ and two bigger holes called the ‘store house’. Before the game starts, the ‘houses’ are filled with seven congkak seeds (which can be either marbles or any other similar small object) while the ‘store houses’ are left empty. The objective of playing congkak is to get rid of all the seeds by moving them across over to your opponent’s side while placing each of your seed or marbles into your own ‘house’. The game ends when the winner either has the most seeds in his or her ‘store house’ or is the first to empty his or her row of ‘houses’.
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This game is almost similar to the old game of Jacks. The game uses a handful of small objects such as marbles, beads, beans, seeds, or small bags of sand/rice. Here is a video showing how to play Batu Seremban:
Also known as ‘Sepak Raga’, this is a traditional game where the ball is made by weaving strips of bamboo. Like soccer, the ball is passed using every part of the body except arms and hands. There are two main types of sepak takraw; bulatan (circle) and jaring (net). Sepak takraw bulatan requires players to form a circle and each have to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible within the circle while jaring is a modern version of the game where players pass the ball back and forth over a net.
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Gasing is a giant spinning top game where the tops can be as large as dinner plates.The game is usually played traditionally before the rice harvest season. Players require strength, coordination and skill to play this game. The top is is spun by unfolding a rope wrapped around it then scooped off the ground while still spinning using a bat with a center slit and transferred to a low post with a metal receptacle. If expertly hurled, it can spin for a very long time.