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Traditional Games

I spent this afternoon entertaining this "aunt" from Perth. I put her in quotes because she's not really blood relatives but she's still close to the family. Her visit reminded me of my past.

When I was a small boy, I grew up in this place called Kolam Air. I spent almost half of 15 years of my life there. My parents had a full time job, so my sisters and I were put into this distant cousin's house where she can look after us. The school bus would drop us here in the afternoon and we'd do our homework, have our lunch, watch TV and take afternoon naps there.

Every evening, I'd beg for 20 sen so I can walk towards this small shop and buy junk food. The shop is around 5 minutes walk away but one had to go through back alleys and small lanes to get there. There's no tar road at that time in villages like this - it's just dirt lanes. The shop is really a kind of shed. Inside there is an arcade machine (Space Invaders?) which I was extremely fascinated with but I didn't hang out there because of the rowdy people inside. I'd buy my Mamee and walked quickly back home.

Around 5 before Father come to pick us up, I would play some games with the neighbours kids. There are around 6 of us. Today, I can't even remember any of their names at all. I wonder where they are now.

There are two type of marble games. One of them are using the white marble the size of a 20 sen coin. The marble cost 20 sen too. This marble is kinda solid and the objective of the game is to hit your opponent's marble as hard as you can as to chip it. Once a marble is chipped, it is practically useless. Because of this, choosing a marble from the shop is a form of art.

The other type of marbles are the smaller, transparent, glass-like marbles. These marbles are colourful - red, blue, green, yellow - you name it. Every one of us would put 5 marbles into a 1 feet diameter circle drawn on the sand. Using our lucky marble and standing far apart, we have to hit as many marbles away from the circle as possible. You own the marble you hit out of the circle. However, if your lucky marble, the one which you used to hit other marbles with, fell inside the circle, the game is over for you.

I have no idea what I did with the marbles I won though - perhaps I sold it back to them. Or perhaps they are now lying in some of the flower pots in the aunt's house.

There's another game I played with the kids. We would spend 5 sen buying a piece of cardboard with pictures of many things - it could be some soccer star or Disney's cartoons or Robotech - whatever. One cardboard have around12 smaller pieces of these pictures and we have to carefully tear them along the lines. With these 12 pieces, we would stack all of them on the sand. Then we'd draw a box on the sand around this stack. We would then stand maybe 10 feet from this stack and taking off our slipper, we would try to throw the slipper at the stack of cards. Whoever hit the cards out of the drawn box will get to collect them. So I have lots of practise throwing slippers ok? Watch out Romeo the dog. You keep on barking and you will eat slippers one of these days :)

At school, I play a different kind of games - there's "kunda kundi", a game played on the badminton court. There are two teams 7 each and there is a "mom" in the game. The objective was to get the whole team from one end of the court to the other. Then there's the "monster" game. And there's also this baseball-like game without the baseball. Instead of a ball, we use sticks. There will be a hole dug on the sand. One team would put the stick across the hole and using another stick, flipped the stick off the ground. The opposite team would have to catch the stick. Then throw it back to the guy who flipped it who will try to hit it.

Those were the fun days. These games may sound traditionally and old fashioned but they are seriously fun and easy to play.

What do kids play these days? Counter-Strike?

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