musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Shan Dodge Ball

One of the many things that I love about Myanmar is seeing children having fun and playing games in the great outdoors. When I’m in Shan State, due to power problems (some homes simply aren’t hooked up to the power grid and those that do have electricity invariably suffer multi-hour power cuts on a daily basis) and the dearth of shopping malls, such outdoor activities are the norm when kids want to play. Take a 30-minute stroll around Nyaunghshwe, or any village in the area, and you’ll see kids flying kites, playing marbles, having football (soccer) matches, playing badminton, or playing simple games with playing cards and bottle caps. There seems to be no limit to their imagination. Thankfully, internet cafes with computers and online games haven’t taken over out here in the country.


When I was in Tat Ein village on this trip, before the start of classes each morning, the boys would play intense games of dodge ball. That’s a game I used to play back in my own, long ago, school days, so I got a kick out of watching these kids play. If you aren’t familiar with dodge ball, or perhaps call it something else where you come from, it consists of two children standing at opposite ends of a small area and throwing a ball at groups of students who are standing in the middle, the objective being to try and hit someone each time.


These kids at Tat Ein had a ball, pun intended, playing dodge ball each morning. Even the novice monks got in on the action, some of them rolling up their robes for added mobility. In fact, the monks had the most zealous style of play. The girls mostly stood around and watched, but one day, perhaps inspired by my camera, a couple of them decided that they wanted to play too!



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