Games and Pastimes

Kite or Wau
is a intricate floral cutouts are pasted on, malady building up the design until the kite is ready for the bright paper tassels that complete its decoration. Kite construction is an ancient art passed down from the nobles of the Melakan court. Over the dried padi fields, a wau bulan, or moon kite, catches an upcurrent of air. Its wing span is larger than that of an albatross. What used to be a post-harvest diversion among padi farmers has become an international event. Wau festivals are organized each year and draw participants from as far away as the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Belgium, and Singapore.The pre-harvest counterpart to the post-harvest wau-flying is top-spinning, a game requiring great strength, excellent timing, and dexterity. These are not childrens’ toys.
Gasing, or spinning top, can weigh up to ten pounds and can sometimes be as large as a dinner plate. Gasing competitions are judged by the length of time each top spins. The tops are set spinning by unfurling a rope that has been wound about the top. A gasing expert can set one spinning for over an hour. It calls for strength, coordination, and skill. The gasing, if expertly hurled, can spin for as long as 2 hours. Top spinning competitions are an annual feature in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia especially Kelantan and Terengganu.

Silat is at once a fascinating, weaponless Malay art of self defense and also a dance form that has existed in the Malay Archipelago for hundreds of years. Like the best martial arts, silat is often more about the spirit than the body. The silat practitioner also develops spiritual strength, according to the tenets of Islam. In an age when many of the martial arts are dying out, young people are especially drawn to this art–there are countless silat groups in Malaysia, each with their own style. Silat demonstrations are held during weddings, national celebrations, and of course during silat competitions.


Sepak Takraw is one of Malaysia’s most popular sports. In a game reminiscent of hackey-sack (or perhaps the source for it), players use heels, soles, in-steps, thighs, shoulders and heads everything but hands–to keep the small rattan ball aloft. Once a game of village youths, ‘sepak raga bulat’ has become a popular sport among the young urban males. Players standing in a circle keep a rattan ball aloft with any part of their body except their hands. The ball is kept in constant motion without hands touching it.
Malaysia 2002
( games to come soon!

Malaysian Heritage and Traditional Games