Han Chin Pet Soo is open! Book now at www.ipohworld.org/reservation
Han Chin Pet Soo is open! Book now at www.ipohworld.org/reservation

May 2012

Anyone for Konkey?

By |2012-05-05T08:59:29+08:00May 5th, 2012|Categories: About Us, childhood, games, ipoh, Memories|Tags: , |

The Konkey Game played in Ipoh & Surrounds

By IpohBornKid

Introduction:  When the X generation was growing up, they did not have affluent parents who would buy them toys, hi-fi sets or computer games.  They relied on their ingenuity and played games that cost nothing.  These games were usually played in the open air about 3 pm onwards when the sun was not so hot and the breeze was blowing.  In the weekends, it was played in the morning until 11 am and later in the afternoon.

In those days, there were abundant flat sandy soil or grass covered areas in vacant building lots and the compounds of the village houses.  Children whose neighbours (aged between 6-12) were played together and they developed a strong bond among themselves.  They grew up together and as they matured into adolescence, another generation of young kids took their place.  It was healthy outdoor exercise and the parents were never worried about what their children were up to because they played with the children of their friends or neighbours. 

The Game:  The “Konkey” (name derived from English word “Donkey”) game is a team game similar to cricket.  Instead of bat and ball, it has two sticks,  diameter around 2.5 cm or less, and the long stick (LS) is about 50 cm in length with the short stick (SS) about one third of its length.  The LS is equivalent to the bat and the SS is equivalent to the ball.  In cricket, the ball is bowled by the bowler and the batsman defends his stumps with his bat.  Similarly, in the Konkey game, the opening player launches his SS with his LS from a trench in the ground and he defends his trench with his LS.

 Before the Konkey game starts, a trench is dug on the ground about 20 cm long, 5 cm wide tapering on the ends, and about 4 cm deep.  Two sticks as described above are used as bat (LS) and ball (SS).  The SS is placed on the ground across the trench and is launched by the LS.  The most effective way to launch is to place the LS in near the front of the trench and below the SS.  You can change the angle of launch by moving the LS left or right.  Usually most launches are perpendicular to the SS.  Pushing the LS into the ground, the launcher lifts his LS and propels the SS up in the air.   This is called launching the SS (ball).  Please refer to schematic diagram.

 The game begins after two teamsare selected and a toss to see which team launches (bat) first.    The launch team stay behind the trench and the field team spreads out in the field and strategically position themselves to catch the SS. 

 The first player in the launch team prepares himself to launch the SS with his LS,  The launcher lifts theSS in the air and generally puts it in a direction where there is no field player to catch it.  When the SS is caught by a field player, the launcher is out and the next launcher in the team takes his place.  The team is all out when they have exhausted the launcher (all bowled out) and the points are totalled.. (See point scoring next).  If the score is less than 100, the team change sides and the field team become the launchers.

\When the field players failed to catch the SS, it falls on the ground.  At this stage, a field player will pick up the SS and attempts to throw the SS back into the trench (trying to hit the stumps) with the launcher defending the trench (like a batsman) with his LS.  He can whack the SS stick whilst it is still in the air.  The field player can try to catch it.  If they did, the launcher is out.  If not, the distance between the position of the LS and the trench forms the basis of points scoring.  Using LS as a measuring rod, the launcher scores one point for each length of the LS measured.  The score is cumulative for the team.

If the first measure is not taken,the launcher can ask for second throw.  This is only safe when the SS is a considerable distance from the trench.  The rule for the second throw is the same as the first throw.  If on the second throw, the SS is caught, the launcher is out.  If SS is falls on the ground, the distance between the SS and the trench is the basis of point scoring but this time, the SS is used as a measure.  Hence, on the second throw, the point score tripled (since one LS is 3x the length of SS).

On reaching a 100 points, (arbitrarily agreed target points), the launcher team wins the game.  However if all the launchers are out and the score is below 100, the team changes sides and the game starts again.

 The penalty part of the game varies from village to village, town to town.  In one version, the winning team player holds the SS in one hand, drops the SS and whack it with the LS held by the other hand.  One of the player  in the losing team then picks up the SS in his hand and runs towards the trench.  As he is running, he has to say “Konkey, konkey, etc. all the way to the trench whilst the winner player gently whack his bum with the LS,  After the penalty, the game starts again,

April 2012

The Game of Marbles as Played in Ipoh & Surrounds c1950s

By |2012-04-29T12:33:11+08:00April 29th, 2012|Categories: childhood, games, ipoh, Memories|Tags: , |


 As we do not have any photos of Ipoh youngsters playing marbles to illustrate the following text from ipohbornkid, I have used this one courtesy of wwwyeohongeng.blogspot.com. Perhaps some of our readers can help us out with similar photos from Ipoh or Perak. And how about some stories about other childhood games please.


Marbles – made of clay and fired in an oven with average diameter of 2-2.5 cm.  Average cost 12 marbles/10 cents

Glass marbles – made of glass and with cat eye inside win average diameter 1.2 cm-1.5cm. Cost 20 marbles/10 cents.

Goondo – Your top shooting marble usually twice the diameter of your ordinary marbles.

HL- A longer horizontal line drawn in the sand with a stick. Usually, HL is drawn parallel to a wall in front of it so the marbles cannot travel too far.

SL – The starting line where all players shoot with their goondos.  The SL is about 1 metre away from the HL and parallel to it.

TM – Targetmarble.  This marble is nominated by other players (in a consensual way) for the shooter.  It is the targeted marble and you need to hit it to win.

Shooter –  A player who is allocated the chance to shoot his goondo towards target marble.

In this article, the game involving horizontal lines game with HL & SL, is described.

HL game – The HL line, about a metre long, is drawn on the sand and is closed by two vertical lines at the ends.  Another shorter line is drawn about a metre down from the HL and is the starting line where the shooter’s foot should not cross.

The game starts when each player puts in one marble into the pool and each player has a “goondo” (slightly larger than the pool marble) but it is his top shooting marble.

This is followed by a group determination of the order of player’s turn to shoot.  The first shooter then takes all the pooled marbles and placed in the palm of one hand, kneels with one foot and places his front foot behind the SL.  He then throws the marbles with the aim to get a good spread of marbles above the HL.  Marbles straying out of the boundary defined by HL vertical lines is re-launched singularly.Some marbles may fall behind the HL.  When the launch is complete, the other players get together and make a decision about the target marble and the shooter has to strike that nominatedtarget marble) with his goondo to win the pot.  Sometimes, the use of a small marble is allowed. However there are complicated rules to observe before he can win the pot.  On striking thetarget marble with his goondo, the main rule states that there shall be no collision with any marbles in the pool by either the goondo or the target marble.  A penalty is applied and when that happens, the player pays a penalty of one marble and loses his turn to shoot.  If he wins the pool he continues to be the shooter.The game continues then with the next shooter after a penalty is paid.

Tactical hint:  The target marble is chosen by the other players and usually has a high degree of difficulty in avoiding the penalty.  You will be surprised who much Physics can be applied in this game.  Seasoned players intuitively know the angle of attack and can predict which direction the marbles can go (just like shooting pool).  Hence, the shooter has to decide the launch direction of his goondo (using his left or right hand and stretching his arm to form a wider angle of attack;  the elevation of launch is another factor whether it is necessary to hit the target marble from the top. Finally, the force applied (the inertia) for the launch is an important factor.  In summary, the direction, height and force of the launch is calculated in your brain and this information is transmitted to the arm as instructions for the required trajectory..  So, don’t for one minute think that those boys playing marbles all the time are not academically inclined but they are a bunch of de facto little scientists calculating complex equations forthe required trajectory.

The naming of the target marbles can have their roots in Malay and English languages.  For example the word “Yau” (Malay – Jual, pardon my Bahasa) describes the target farthest from the HL.  For younger players this is a difficult task because of the distance and the power of the shooter’s trajectory.

The targetmarble that fell below the HL is usually called “rue” (English “roll”).   A target marble can also be sitting on the line.  In these types of targets, you will have to “roll” your goondo and hit the target.  If the shooter rolls his goondo and collided with the target marble, he wins the pool when the collided marbles do not cross the HL.  It can sit on the line.  When either marbles cross over the HL or hit another marble in the pool, the shooter incurs a penalty of one marble and loses his turn.

The game becomes more interesting when the target marble is slightly positioned above the HL.  The opponents can then place one goondo on the line but not touching the target marble.  To win this game, you need to strike the target marble without colliding with the opponent’s goondo on the HL and other marbles in thepool.  When the target marble is slightly above the HL, the opponent can put his goondo on the line without touching the targeted marble.  Thus the goondo can be placed just in front of the target marble or adjacent (left or right) of the target marble.   The shooter has to strike that marble without hitting the opposition goondo and not colliding with any other marbles in the pool.

There are other difficult targets to shoot at.  For example, when two marbles on the ground are vertically aligned or closed to  each other, the marble nearest to the shooter becomes a difficult target.  Under the circumstances, it is highly probable that the target marble would collide with the marble in front of it.

The winner can take home 30-40 marbles in a game.  If you do not have a pouch, you will damage your pockets as they are heavy.  Many trouser pockets were damaged by holding too heavy winnings.

There is second variation to this marble game where a circle is drawn in the sand. There is also a third game where players chase each other’s marbles.I would like readers to fill in these variations with their memories and also comment on the major marble game.

Spinning top game is very rich in language especially in Bahasa.  There are also complex rules and Bahasa phrases to learn when you want to play spinning tops with a circle drawn the sand .  The game of “Konkey”  (English – Donkey) was played with long and short sticks. This was a popular game then in 1950s.  The game of Bat and Ball required an empty lot among residential houses.

The reasons for the wide popularity of these games in the 1950s were the availability of sandy patches of land (or vacant land) surrounding residential houses (particularly in the new villages), it did not cost heaps of money and you have no shortage of players.

September 2010

“Look at ME….”

By |2010-10-06T17:10:40+08:00September 29th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Here’s one for the album!

This picture was given to us by our friend Charlie…..yes, that’s Charlie on his tractor 😉

As children, we played with toy soldiers, match-box cars, teddy bears, dolls, board games, etc. But I do wonder: how many of us had such toys (picture above) when we were little? Certainly Leong Cheok Loong had a mobo bronco, and Ong Wei Mei had a triang jeep.

Care to share your sweet memories with us? Or, perhaps…some of you out there ‘improvised’ cardboards and other stuff for amusement?

Go to Top