‘Tarik upeh’ game tugs at the heartstrings of balik kampung crowd


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016

BUKIT MERTAJAM: In villages, laughter fills the air as children race and tumble while sitting on coconut tree fronds that are pulled along the ground – an activity known as the tarik upeh game.

It is common for children upon reaching their kampung for the Hari Raya celebration to look for the fronds.

One child will sit on it while another pulls, racing with other teams to the finishing line.

In Kampung Machang Bubok recently, the activity was in full swing with the adults being spectators to the races.

Mohd Shafik Shaharudin, 13, said the younger ones would be the “passengers” while the older children did the pulling.

“If we get a fat and heavy person sitting, it will be a challenge – but that’s fun too,” he said.

“When one pulls too hard and turns a corner suddenly, the passenger can fall off the frond. Sometimes, we do get injured but the experience is worth it,” he said after dragging his passengers Ali Haikal Ridzuan and Siti Nur Zafira Zainudin, both seven.

When the children from out of town return to Kampung Machang Bubok, they would head for 40-year-old businessman Nasron Abu Seman’s house. He is sure to have a stockpile of fronds.

“I firmly subscribe to traditional games, face-to-face interactions and physical activities that help create strong bonds and harmony among family members,” said Nasron.

“During my childhood, it was common to gather with friends and relatives for a variety of traditional games,” said the father of a six-year-old girl and four-year-old boy.

“Although technology is helpful in our daily lives, it is unhealthy to sit alone in the corner with gadgets all by ourselves. A family reunion together.

“I want to teach my children to stay connected with their loved ones through proper interaction,” said Nasron.

Housewife Noryusmiza Yusop, 34, also shared similar memories of playing tarik upeh at her parent’s house in Kampung Kepala Gajah in Simpang Ampat.

“Those were my sweetest memories of a village life during Hari Raya,” she said.

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