Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Don't Play Play

You may have heard a while back that Malaysia sent a man into space. Or, we sent a guy to Russia to be sent into space.

I heard that in celebration of Malaysian culture our ambassador to the stars brought two things onto the spaceship. Traditional batik wear... and the game of congkak. I tried to check with the government website, but got a page that it was under construction.

Now, for those who are unfamiliar with the term - congkak is a traditional game that is similar in principle to the mancala. It's a charming thing because it's easy to learn, has a certain level of strategy and one can use rocks when one has lost one's marbles. This is pic from Warisan Budaya Malaysia:

Nice, right? Now, I really do believe that if you want a budaya Malaysia you're going to start with games and the young. I personally have fond memories of congkak and carrom, especially with my Malay cousins in Batu Caves.

The thing is, like I said it's a game of strategy. You make choices of which hole to start with and depending on the distribution of marbles, you can end up with more in your "home", thus winning the game.

In space though, I imagine that there will be a much tougher strategy: finding out how to not hang on to your marbles in a zero-gravity environment. Kind of like playing beach volleyball in Greenland.

I know there's the whole Malaysia Boleh thing, but I would have thought that there was a far more logical choice of Malaysian culture. Let's think - what would be a great thing to have where things just float around? Browsing through our Warisan website might just give a clue...

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