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The game of Congkak (DSC8634)

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These two girls are playing the game of Congkak and they are wearing traditional Terengganu Batiks to cover their heads.

 

The name congkak is derived from the word "congak" which means "to count mentally" and this game encourages fast mental arithmetic. An efficient player who counts well will have an advantage in collecting the points or 'buah' to win the game. This traditional game is believed to have spread throughout Southeast Asia through merchants via Melaka, a glorious trading post in the 15th century. The game was first described outside of Asia in 1894 by the American ethnographer Stewart Culin.

 

It is an exciting game of wit played by womenfolk in ancient times that required no more than holes in the earth and tamarind seeds. Today, it has been refined to a board game. It consists of a wooden board with two rows of five, seven, or nine holes and two large holes at both ends called "home". Congkak, played with shells, pebbles or tamarind seeds, requires two players.

 

A more elaborated congkak board is shaped like a boat and it is believed that it is based on the legend of a fisherman unable to go to the sea during rainy season who lost his income during this time. To prevent boredom he created this game which is similar to his boat. However, on the island of Java, the board always has a dragon head at each end and the sides of the board (which is made of wood) are carved to look like reptile scales. You can read more on congkak at Wikimanqala and Wikipedia And of course you can also play it online HERE

 

Gears: Nikon D50 and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO

Location: Batu Rakit beach, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

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Taken on April 13, 2009