Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Come out and play

I didn't follow the Commonwealth Games everyday but I just keep up to date with the medal collection from the newspaper. Poor Nicole who have tried so hard under pressure to maintain her title..

During my childhood time, kids will play outdoor games according to season, if it is Piala Thomas, then everybody will insist their parents to buy a racket, not necessary Yonex..anything that can serve, RM 20 racket will do..main pun depan rumah..kira ok la, masa tu dongak ke langit nampak shuttle cock..time berangin pun tak kisah, belasah je..demam main badminton will only last around 1 the end, the racket were hang inside store room, or lying under the bed or maybe dah terputus tali. Childrens of our time are more adventurous with more playing time spending outside the house exploring semak samun, climbing trees, 'tuju tin' and not forgotting playing 'kawin-kawin'..kecik2 dah nak kawin!!..budak2 la katakan..

There were also time when kite flying was the 'game', I was still in secondary at that time. Kites of various sizes and colours has been design using bambo, butter paper and decorated with colored paper or sugar paper. Most popular kite design was the 'wau bulan', without the intricate elements as originally came from the East Coast. Some who were more adventurous will add tails and came out with not-so-common shape.
December is the season for kite since the wind is stronger (musim timur) and the weather is quite pleasant. I like to watch the kite fly high up like there is no boundary, the feeling was surreal, laying on the wooden floor while looking at the sky through the window..colourful kite behind a blue sky, one could lost themselves looking at this. There were nasty kids who brushed those shattered glass on to the rope, this way they cut cut their friends rope if they happen to cross each other kite..some of them will suffer a little cut on their finger, but this never stop them. Boys will always be boys..

There is another 'game' or sport/ martial art that was popular : silat. This is one of the most ancient art form in our traditional Malay culture, rooted maybe hundreds years back. Generally silat in our region are almost the same,there are four kinds of silat:spiritual, self-defense, artistic silat and sports silat. There are many types of silat and varies according to their ideology, such as silat cekak, silat gayung,silat lincah, silat name a few and Kedah are well known with 'silat cekak'.
Since I life in 'kampung' environment, we have a spacious compound infront of my house which has become a social space for kids play area, playing 'polis-polis' and even a funeral event for the Chinese where they burn paper house. One of my relative used to be 'guru silat', I did not remember which silat.. There was this sandy area where he erected bambo post and clad with gunny sack, training session were only held at night, we could hear their voices from the gunny sack..'Hahh-hahh!!..'it sounds mystical at night especially during the full moon, maybe it was just my imagination, too much reading 'Bercakap dengan jin' (Tamar Jalis).

I had 'no professional' training in silat, but my father thought us simple basic steps of silat,enough to defend ourselves. Silat compared to other martial art are more artistic and faster in terms of hand movement and more powerful..this is what my father always emphasize. Silat is a combination of traditional and spiritual as well as self discipline, we have to follow what our 'guru' told us to do, strong body and big muscles are not enough, it is the power of mind that matters. One who wish to 'berguru' normally need to go through certain stages and they are required to complete each stages in order to graduate.

It is part of our cultural value that we should not neglect, this is what makes us different..during my uncle's wedding we had silat performances infront of the bride and bridegroom complete with background music of serunai and gendang (from a cassette). My father and few of his friends moves gracefully while the crowd looking at them and at that time I was so proud to be his daughter. I was so obsessed with silat after that and start buying silat magazine: 'Pendekar' and imagine myself wearing a black custom and head band kicking and punching like a lady warrior..

Hopefully silat will be in our society even though there are many other alternative of sports and martial art. It would not die as long as we believe in it and appreciate it as a continuation of our civilisation.

Until today I still got the moves..silat cekak..cekak pinggang je la..


thewailer said...

an well described experience, I learned silat long time ago but couldn't hack much! but silat is an integral part of our malay culture and a taste of it brings forth my racial identity :)

sue said...

i agree with u that its part pf our identity, it doesn't matter whether we are well educated or westernized..we still Malay deep inside..something that we can't change

Kak Teh said...

we get silat performances here as well - and its good to see that even the europeans are into silat.

sue said...

Kak teh tak try ke?..mesti sempoi..cekak pinggang pun jadi la.