Going onstage (www.esplanade.com).


5 ways to entertain yourself – kampong-style

Ever wondered how you would spend your time without a TV or smartphone?


Published: 7 Jul 2017

Time taken : >15mins

Not too long ago, the kids who grew up in kampongs ("villages" in Malay) didn't have any electronic devices or even a television set at home. But they found creative ways to keep themselves occupied. Ask your older family members if they remember these games and toys of yesteryear.


Paper boats

For the children who grew up at a time when heavy rains and minor floods were more commonplace, rainy weather was a time to get up to some crafty business. They tore paper off old calendars or grabbed unused scraps of paper and folded them into paper boats. These boats were set adrft in canals and flood waters that came up to their ankles.

Make your own paper boat and sail away!


Zero point

Also called yeh-yeh by the Malay community, Zero Point was a popular game for the kampong kids. And why not? It's inexpensive and tons of fun. All you need for this game are rubber bands and a group of three.

First, use rubber bands to make your Zero Point jump rope. Although there are many versions to this game, the rule of thumb is to jump over the rubber band rope without touching it. The rope starts low and gradually gets higher as players progress to the next level. Each time a player clears a level, he shouts ""Zero Point!"" to indicate that he's cleared the height. The winner is the one who clears the highest level.



Say it out loud: koo-tee koo-tee

This is one game that requires a deft hand and pinpoint accuracy. In its early days, kuti-kuti tokens were small round discs that came in a range of colours. Later, kuti-kuti tokens were made from plastic and shaped like different objects and animals.

You'll need two players for this game. The aim is to flip your kuti-kuti token on top of your opponent's token. This means your opponent's token is now yours and you can add his kuti-kuti token to your collection. Bigger kuti-kuti tokens are more prized as bigger tokens mean your chances of winning a battle are higher.



Say it out loud: gaa-seng

Even though there are many different spinning tops around the world, the gasing is a Malay spinning top that can be found in Malaysia and Singapore. Gasing also refers to the game that is played with the spinning top and the game is believed to have been popular with children and adults since the 15th century!

Start by winding a string tightly around the gasing. Then hold onto the loose end of the string before launching the gasing into the air with a throw to make it spin. In a competitive game, there are two ways to win – make sure yourgasing spins the longest or use your gasing to either knock over your opponent's top within a designated circle or make it stop spinning.



Say it out loud: chaap-teh

You may have seen this colourful shuttlecock around. It's hard to miss the brightly coloured feathers weighed down by a small flat rubber disc. Capteh refers to both the shuttlecock and the game.

The objective of this game is to keep the capteh off the ground for as long as possible by using your feet. No hands allowed! Players get a point for each successful kick and the winner is the one with the highest number of points.

Now that you know your kampong games, try them out this weekend.