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Top 10 games M'sian kids used to play

A game of precision: Ceper uses five metal bottlecaps and the objective is to shoot the target without knocking down the ‘obstacle’ in the middle./The Star

Publication Date : 01-04-2014


Before the advent of mobile devices and apps, Malaysian children were entertained and occupied for hours at almost no cost at all


Of many memories we have of our school days, some that stand out the most are the games we used to play.

Before video games, children had the most fun playing games that make use of materials sourced from around them, such as stones and erasers. The Star relives some of these childhood games.

1. Tag

Tag is by far the most famous game in the world among children that is still played today. Though the origins of this game may be uncertain, tag has spawned many variants. Some of the more popular ones include “Cops and Robbers” and “Freeze Tag”, better known locally as “Ice and Water”.

2. Lat Tali Lat

This unique Malaysian hand game is played by three players or more. It is often played when there is a need to decide how to split multiple players into two teams when playing other games. Two popular versions of the chant in this game are “Lat tali lat tali tam plom” or “Lai lai lili lai tam tom”.

3. Five Stones

This game is better known in Malaysia by the name, “Batu Seremban”. Mostly played by girls, it is a good test of dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Though it can be played with actual stones, colourful sand-filled batu seremban were also popular.

4. Rock, paper, scissors

This popular hand game between two players was said to have been invented in ancient China. The local version of the game is sometimes referred to as “One, two, jus” or “One, two, som”. This game is sometimes played with ‘punishment’ variants.

5. Hopscotch

Another popular game worldwide, the roots of hopscotch dates back to ancient Rome. Though it seems to be more popular among girls, both genders enjoy the game. Hopscotch is also known in Malaysia as “Ketingting”.

6. Eraser Battle

This classroom game gained popularity about 30 years ago. Children would take turns flipping their erasers with the aim of landing on their opponent’s eraser. They used to collect cheap fancy erasers with country flags on them for this purpose.

7. Conquer

Yet another modern classroom game, based on the traditional Japanese board game, “Go”. Mathematics exercise books with gridlines are used to play this game, where two players take turns drawing their selected symbol to surround the other player’s units. The game requires a lot of strategy.

8. Galah Panjang

An old Malaysian game that is played by larger groups of children in two teams, often on a badminton court or playing field. The ‘attacking’ team tries to make its way across the field while the ‘defending’ team tries to stop other players from crossing their boundaries.

9. Pepsi-Cola

No one seems to know how the name came about, but this game seems to have gained popularity from the 1990s onwards. Standing in a ring, players chant “Pepsi-Cola!” and jump apart. Taking turns, players must try to kick the foot of another player who tries to dodge him, eliminating each other until one winner remains.

10. Ceper

A local game that is especially popular with boys, it is played using five metal bottlecaps. Rules may vary but the game is a good test of dexterity and accuracy. A points system exists, though it is often played just for fun.


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