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Pupils and teachers enjoy playing and learning about Tamil traditional games


Teachers and students from SJKT Mak Mandin, Butterworth, looking at the ancient Tamil manuscripts written on palm leaves on display at the Penang Indian Heritage Museum. — Photos: ASRI ABDUL GHANI/The Star

Teachers and students from SJKT Mak Mandin, Butterworth, looking at the ancient Tamil manuscripts written on palm leaves on display at the Penang Indian Heritage Museum. — Photos: ASRI ABDUL GHANI/The Star

OVER 150 primary school pupils had an exciting time playing Tamil traditional games while learning about their origins at the Penang Hindu Endowment Board premises in George Town.

Among the traditional games played were pallanguli, pambaram, thayam and aadu puli attam.

The event was aimed at creating awareness of the Tamil community in Malaysia, especially on the cultural aspects, including the traditional games.

There were 40 pupils from SJKT Mak Mandin, Butterworth, who were accompanied by their teachers A. Logambal, K. Parimala, S. Vanita and S. Annamal.

Logambal said it was a rare chance for the pupils to embrace the community’s culture, adding that it was important for them to know about their origins.

Students P. Subahshini and K. Veshalen, both 11, said it was their first time visiting the Penang Indian Heritage Museum located at the premises.

Geetha (right) and Kuruvama enjoying themselves playing the thayam.
Geetha (right) and Kuruvama enjoying themselves playing the thayam.

“We are especially fascinated by the exhibits including the glass feeding bottle and the traditional water boiler,” said Subahshini.

Another pupil R. Navinraaj said he planned to visit the museum again with his brothers and sister.

Punita Prakash, who contributed a substantial number of the items exhibited at the museum noted that the main highlight is a map of the Malay peninsula.

“The map on canvas shows that Tamil language was the lingua franca in the 1930s,” she said when met at the museum in Macalister Road recently.

Childhood friends from India, T. Geetha, 58, and M. Kuruvama, 63, were seen having an enjoyable time playing the thayam (board game).

“When I was a child, I used to play this game by drawing boxes on the concrete flooring using chalks but nowadays the children get to play the game on printed pieces of paper,” said Geetha, a housewife.

Bala Krishan (right) showing the students how to play the pambaram, which is top spinning.
Bala Krishan (right) showing the students how to play the pambaram, which is top spinning.

At another corner was 66-year-old school bus driver, Bala Krishan, who was teaching the children the right way to play the pambaram, which is top spinning.

“The last time I played pambaram was some 50 years ago,” he chuckled.

Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy, who is also Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairman, said since the board was revamped in 2008, it had taken charge of the Hindu burial grounds and temples in the state.

He added that the board operated with the RM1.5mil annual grant from the state government, money collected from rental of its properties and also collections via the golden chariot procession during Thaipusam.

He added that part of the money collected from the golden chariot procession was used as educational grants for the community.

Students from SJKT Mak Mandin, Butterworth playing traditional games at the event.
Students from SJKT Mak Mandin, Butterworth playing traditional games at the event.

Dr K. Subashini, who was the special guest from Tamil Heritage Foundation, said that the event was important to promote Tamil culture and history.

She said that the 18-year-old foundation focused on research and also helped in the translation of ancient Tamil manuscripts written on palm leaves into digital format.

“Through this event, we hope that the visitors here will have hands-on experience at trying some of the games as well as passing on valuable knowledge to the next generation,” she said.

The Penang Tamil Heritage Museum is open to the public on Wednesday and the weekend from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free.

   

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