Traditional games remind kids today what they are missing


  • Nation
  • Monday, 02 Dec 2019

Happy days are here again: Families playing a traditional game of ‘tarik upih’ (palm sled) at the Muzium Negara’s Nostalgia Anak Kampung programme.

KUALA LUMPUR: As Choy Kean Mun guides his three children on how to hold a senapang kayu (wood shotgun) steady and shoot wooden pellets at the target, he is hit by a pang of nostalgia.

Growing up as a child in Petaling Jaya, the 42-year-old sales adviser recalled the spirit of adventure with his friends when they played traditional games like senapang kayu and sepak raga (foot volleyball).

So when he saw that Muzium Negara was offering 20 traditional games to be played in conjunction with its Nostalgia Anak Kampung programme, Choy grabbed the opportunity to introduce his kids to some of these games.

“Those days, we were very happy. We didn’t have a phone. Whenever we were free, we would go and look for our friends and play shooting games or sepak raga. It was fun.

“Kids nowadays don’t know about games that are made of handicraft. They only know mobile games.

“But these traditional games need to be inherited and passed to the next generation so that kids in the future will continue to know about our games, ” said Choy when met at Dataran Muzium Negara yesterday with his wife and their three children aged between nine and 14.

Civil servant Nurul Aynaa Roslan, 25, was seen teaching her seven-year-old relative Ariana Zahra Ahmad Basyaruddin how to play lompat getah (rubber jump) for the first time.

Choy (in white shirt, right, 2nd row) and his wife Lee Mei Tin (2nd from left, 2nd row) showing their kids (from left, first row) Choy Min Han, Choy Qin Lin and Chon Qin Ru how to aim using a senapang kayu at the Muzium Negara's Nostalgia Anak Kampung programme.-  AZHAR MAHFOF/The StarChoy (in white shirt, right, 2nd row) and his wife Lee Mei Tin (2nd from left, 2nd row) showing their kids (from left, first row) Choy Min Han, Choy Qin Lin and Chon Qin Ru how to aim using a senapang kayu at the Muzium Negara's Nostalgia Anak Kampung programme.- AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

Nurul Aynaa pointed out the need to promote traditional games to the younger generation, or the games would become “alien” to the Internet generation.

“She was very happy that she got to learn about traditional games with us because she never knew that they existed.

“Usually the kids would just play with gadgets but too much screen time can be bad for their eyesight.

“Traditional games are better because they also help us to exercise without us even realising it, ” said Nurul Aynaa, who came in a group of some 50 family members.

She said that besides teaching the young ones about traditional games, she was also happy to relive her childhood of playing lompat getah, just like she used to whenever she returned to her village in Penang as a child.

“I think the last time I played this game was when I was 13, ” she said, laughing.

Nasrul Syahmi Suhairi, 14, and his three siblings were beaming from ear to ear while racing each other in a game of kelereng, whereby each player had to push a bicycle rim to the finish line using a short stick.

Nasrul Syahmi said his siblings and he had a lot of fun playing the game for the first time although kelereng was more challenging to play than it looked.

“Usually at home, we would cycle, play football, badminton or handphone games. We rarely play traditional games even at our village in Temerloh, Pahang.

“I’ve played baling tin (throwing a can) before but not many other traditional games.

“There are many interesting traditional games. Rather than playing mobile games, traditional games are better for our health, ” said Nasrul Syahmi, who came with another four siblings and their parents.

Families were also seen enjoying the sunny day playing games like tarik upih (palm frond sledding), teng-teng (building a stone house), gerek buluh (racing wheel attached to long bamboo handle), congkak (mancala), gasing (spinning top) and more.

Further invoking the nostalgia of older Malaysians were also traditional delicacies such as lempeng manis, lempeng pisang, pulut panggang, ais kepal and sirap selasih being sold for 50 sen each.

A favourite treat in the village, ubi rebus or boiled cassava, was also offered for free to all visitors who came to Muzium Negara for the Nostalgia Anak Kampung programme, which opened on Nov 23 and ended yesterday.

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