Traditional games should be part of school curriculum - Advocates

KUALA LUMPUR: Advocates have called for the inclusion of traditional games in the school curriculum to reintroduce these games to the younger generation.

Mohd Nasir Ismail, a teacher, said those born in the 2000s are unfamiliar with folk games because they were not exposed to these activities from a young age.

He said children nowadays are more excited to play online games, a far cry from young people of yesteryear whose leisure time was filled with games such as congkak, baling selipar and gasing.

"Today's generation is raised in and accustomed to technological advancements. Even at a young age, they are more interested in gadgets than playing traditional games.

"So, in efforts to ensure the continuity of the country's heritage (traditional games), it is essential that those who are responsible include the games as part of the school curriculum," he told Bernama at the Malaysian Games Festival@Kuala Lumpur (FPM@Kuala Lumpur) at Dataran Merdeka, here, today.

FPM@Kuala Lumpur, which is in its eighth edition this year, kicked off yesterday, with the participation of 1,520 people playing congkak, galah panjang, dam aji, kabbadi, as well as taking part in Sabah's magunatip (bamboo) dance sessions and Sarawak's blowpipe activity.

The three-day event is jointly organised by the Kuala Lumpur National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN), Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and traditional sports associations.

Fellow advocate and event specialist Norhayati Nordin said the conservation of traditional games proposed by the government should begin at the grassroots level through practical means instead of textbook learning.

"Children should be exposed to traditional games through physical experience so that they can truly enjoy playing the games…as games entrepreneurs we are ready to hold workshops and clinics to teach them the correct method to play the games," she said.

Meanwhile, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said since its inception in 2015, the festival has generated income exceeding RM1.5 million and attracted over 200,000 visitors.

He said as of last month, 28 types of Malaysia's folk games have been declared as National Heritage under the National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645) by the National Heritage Council.

"The Department of National Heritage (JWN) and JKKN should be more strategic and join forces with non-governmental organisations involved with traditional games to promote, integrate and digitise all traditional games, especially those that are on the verge of extinction.

"Besides that, in the development of the JKKN and JWN complex, a special gallery called Malaysia Arts, Culture and Heritage Village will be established to display all items listed as the Intangible Cultural Heritage, including traditional games under one roof," he said.

His speech text was read by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture deputy secretary-general (Culture) Mohd Yusri Mohd Yusof. – BERNAMA

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