These days, almost all kids play video games or soccer, tennis and basketball. Games like Congkak, Main Lereng, Baling Tin, Sepak Raga or Gasing are bygones. While having a chat with my dad who is more of a ‘homeboy’ (mom’s a bit of town kid), he gave me a list games he used to play as a kid. Some were the games of this soil and some were that adapted from neighbouring countries. However, I made a dash before he started his lecture on, “You know, kids these days…” His voice fading away and the last line that I could hear was, “There wasn’t even colour televison in my house!” Anyway, thanks dad for the eye-opener. The exponential advent of technology has had a huge impact on the games that kids chose to play these days. We cannot totally deny the fact that technology has helped improvise our lives but once in a while, apart from riches in the form of money, memories and fun-filled experiences are something that money can’t buy and childhood memories are definitely one of our treasured possessions. I can see why such games have fallen out of favour with today’s children who are born and bred in the city. Within the confines of the space-challenged high-rises, where gardens are small and the grounds concreted, you can’t play these games in their true form without breaking the windows of someone’s home or the windscreen of your neighbours’ cars.
While chatting with a friend of mine who is a father of two kids, he conceded that he wouldn’t allow his boys to play such dangerous games like Konda Kondi or Layang Layang but he would rather have them spending hours on the PlayStation. As long as his children are safe, he would not mind the cost of frequent software or equipment upgrade. Running through the list of games they had access to, I spotted Grand Theft Auto. I told him that he and his children are paying the price of losing out on the healthy interaction with other children that games of old provide. Besides, these games are a reflection of our cultural values. Traditional games were not just mere games – they were designed in such a way that one can develop lot of skills like logical thinking, building strategy, concentration, basic mathematics, aiming, and lots more. These games have rich culture and heritage value and were tools of passing on some ancestral knowledge or the other. The values that we achieve by playing these games are more when compared to the games that we play nowadays.
We get a chance to learn about our culture and history, and the most important thing is that it is suitable for all ages, and they increase the interaction between generations. Kids these days grow up surrounded by technologies, to a point that their playmates are substituted by Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Apple and friends of R2-D2. Rarely will they get the chance to experienced what their parents did, hence very few of them are appreciative of the luxuries which were given to them. Future of those good old school games which involved physical activities, which involved learning, which involved improvement of skills are in question. Many are clueless about these traditional games and alternate means of fun.
Since it’s our Made in Malaysia issues, I have compiled a list of games that I have played or heard of in my childhood days. Why don’t we take pride in keeping our traditional games alive and at the same time, take a walk down memory lane. It’s time to put down the PlayStation and that iPad of yours and indulge in some old-time fun with the kind of games your grandparents and parents played back in the days. Besides, in case you are a victim of a power failure and your PlayStation goes dead, you, you’d know what to do. The enjoyment you get is more than the PlayStation and Xbox and whatever toys put together. Reminiscing those wild childhood days brings a bright smile to my face.