Documentation on Balinese traditional games needed

Bali is an island rich in arts and culture, with hundreds of performers and more than 200 types of traditional games, but only a few people, especially in the younger generation, are aware of the games. I Made Taro, a legendary storyteller and avid preserver of traditional games, told Bali Daily on Thursday morning at his residence that there had been no comprehensive efforts to document traditional Balinese games in the form of compelling storytelling, audio or film. “The government [Bali administration] needs to make serious attempts to preserve our traditional games.

This has always been our weakest point — the absence of documentation of our precious cultural assets,” Taro said. Traditional games were once part of the mainstream school curriculum, between 1994 and 2001. “This was one of the ways to preserve them,” he said. Taro elaborated there had been six games and skills taught in public schools, such as jejahitan (weaving young coconut leaves to create decorations, ornaments or offerings) and various games. “Teacher training had been conducted to equip them with the knowledge to teach their students how to play the games,” Taro added.

However, the government has removed all local content from the present curriculum. “During the recent Denpasar Festival, many teachers came to me asking for more training in the games. They are facing difficulties passing the knowledge on to their students,” he said. During the annual festival, the organizing committee (Denpasar mayoralty) held a series of traditional game competitions, however few participated due to a lack of knowledge. Erick Est, a young film director, shared similar feelings to Taro. “I happened to have an idea to document Pak Taro’s activities preserving traditional games at his workshop in Sanggar Kukuruyuk,” said Erick.

He said he would need to conduct thorough research and study the traditional games. “I need to work with a scriptwriter who has deep understanding of the games and Bali’s culture,” he said, adding that he was expecting the provincial administration to fund this important cultural project. Last year, the Bali Museum displayed a special exhibition featuring 30 traditional games fading from people’s memories. The exhibition also displayed the tools used in several games, such as deduplak and tajog, which combine tools and physical activity — running, laughing, jumping and active body movements.

Deduplak is coconut shells tied together with rope. Players use the deduplak like footwear, racing to reach the finish line, with the winner being the first over the line.Meanwhile, tajog requires players to hop onto a long piece of bamboo or wood and walk along it without falling. In Buleleng, children play megoak-goakan, which comes from the word goak, meaning a crow. The game is still played in the regency on the eve of Nyepi, the Caka New Year and Hindu Day of Silence, accompanied by gamelan and percussion music. In other parts of Bali, people call the game alih canguri meaning “find me at the back”.

Traditional musical instruments used as accompaniment to traditional games are rerindikan, made from bamboo, and kreregan pangi, made of pangi fruit. Another traditional toy is pindekan, a bamboo windmill that produces a loud sound to scare birds away from the rice fields.aro said that the children and young people of today preferred to play high-tech games, which were solitary in nature. “Traditional games were communal activities that involved many children. These activities were actually life-skills training for children to learn about teamwork, responsibility, honesty and moreover to train their mental and physical well-being,” Taro said.

source : bali daily

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