Learn on the go. Check out our playlists for collections of short videos, and learning packages for articles, that will give you a slice of history and heritage.
A collection of short videos exploring traditional games in Singapore.
Playlist: Traditional Games
Traditional games can serve as a valuable bridge to our past and showcase the values that our society finds important, such as sportsmanship and teamwork. Such traditional games require the players to follow the game rules and try to win against an opponent with skills, knowledge, and a bit of luck!
Check out these resources to help you gain some understanding of traditional games in Singapore.
Capteh, Five Stones & Gasing: Toys of Yesteryear – The Time Travelling Trio #01 (11 mins)
How did kids occupy their time before the advent of smartphones and tablets? “The Time Travelling Trio” stars Sarah, Rina and Rokawa, with the assistance of Liana, the friendly librarian. In a kampong, the trio try their hands (and feet) at "goli", "gasing" and "chapteh". Joining them is special guest Aunty Shirley, a 75-year-old cosplayer, who shares her memories and experiences playing kampong games and toys.
Source: Capteh, Five Stones & Gasing: Toys of Yesteryear – The Time Travelling Trio #01 (2022, May 31). NLB Singapore. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
Chapteh Game That’s Not Just For Kids | OGS (2 mins)
“'Chapteh' is a traditional game where one has to keep a feathered shuttlecock in the air for as long as possible by kicking it up. Well-known internationally (as 'da cau' in Vietnam, and 'jianzi' in China), it is associated as a childhood game in Singapore.” This video showcases how it’s being played in Singapore today.
Source: Chapteh Game That’s Not Just For Kids. (2019, 28 Jan). OGS. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
And the Games We Played | Malay Heritage Centre (6 mins)
Using high-speed filming techniques, this short video introduces the game play of five traditional kampung games, played during the early 70s to 80s in Singapore. This includes Batu Seremban (Five Stones), Chapteh (ti jian zi 'kick shuttlecock'), Guli (Marbles), Gasing (Spinning Top) & Ye-ye (Zero-Point).
Source: And the Games We Played (2020, July 9). Malay Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
Singapore Traditional Games – Congkak (4 mins)
This video, which was initially made for the Singapore Sports Museum by the Comwerks agency, teaches viewers how congkak, a mancala logic game, is played.
Source: Singapore Traditional Games - Congkak (2017, February 7). Tom Thanachart. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
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Traditional games can serve as a valuable bridge to our past and showcase the values that our society finds important, such as sportsmanship and teamwork. Games also provide a way to relieve everyday life tensions.
Did you know...
- Congkak was predominantly associated as a woman’s game in South and Southeast Asia, while in Africa, the game was largely played by men.
These curated set of articles and books will help you understand more about these traditional games in Singapore.
Known elsewhere as mancala, this is a popular game of logic. The version which is commonly played in the Malay Archipelago requires two players to share a wooden board with one row of seven holes along each side, and one bigger hole at either end.
Source: Bonny Tan. (2016). Congkak Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
Five stones is a traditional game that was popular with children in the kampong days. Few may know about its ancient origins, and its popularity declined with the urbanisation of Singapore. However, it has seen a few revivals through the efforts of schools, community organisations and government agencies.
Source: Tan, Bonny, and Wang, Damien. (2019). “Five Stones.” Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
Capteh is a traditional game that requires great dexterity and balance in keeping a feathered shuttlecock in the air for as long as possible by kicking it up with the heel of the foot.
Source: Tan, Bonny. (2017). “Capteh.” Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
Gasing is a term that refers to both the Malay spinning top and the game of top spinning. Gasing was a popular game played in the kampongs (“villages” in Malay) of Singapore and Malaysia, especially among members of the Malay community. Competitive gasing is still played in Malaysia today.
Source: Tan, Bonny. (2013). “Gasing.” Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
Hopscotch is a traditional children’s game in which one more players hop over a series of squares drawn on the ground.
Source: Tan, Bonny. (2017). “Hopscotch.” Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
Kuti kuti is a traditional children’s game in which two opposing players take turns to deftly flip colourful plastic tokens on top of those of their opponent. If a player’s token lands on top of an opponent’s token, the player then claims the opponent’s token as his own.
Source: Tan, Bonny. (2014). “Kuti kuti.” Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 2023, September 14.
PE Unit, Science Branch, Curriculum Planning & Development Division, Ministry of Education. (1998). Traditional Games. Singapore: Ministry of Education. (Call no.: RSING 796.0959 INV)
This booklet describes traditional games in Singapore such as sepak raga, kabaddi, capteh, big balloon, hopscotch, hantam bola, long rope skipping, rounders, congkak, and five stones.
Have Fun with Traditional Games
People’s Association. (1982). Have Fun with Traditional Games. Singapore: The Association. (Call no.: RCLOS 394.3095957 HAV -[CUS])
This booklet introduces readers to traditional games in Singapore such as gasing (top-spinning), main lereng (bicycle rim), tapak kuda (tin-walking), capteh, goli panjang (marbles), Chinese hopscotch, bola tin, keleret, tick-tock, galah panjang, congkak, and five stones.
Inventory of ASEAN Traditional Games and Sports
Inon Shaharuddin Abdul Rahman (ed.). (1998). Inventory of ASEAN Traditional Games and Sports. Malaysia: ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information. (Call no.: RSING 796.0959 INV)
This book covers the various traditional games and sports from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
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