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

Posts tagged ‘marbles’

Spinning Tops in Mandalay

Every time I visit the kids on 90th Street in Mandalay, they are always playing a fun game of some sort. One day they might be flying kites, having an intense marbles match, or leisurely playing badminton. Another day they might try to get up enough players for a game of football (if someone has a ball!), or they might get creative and construct a putt-putt golf course from piles of sand. Swimming? Show them a body of water, no matter how shallow, and they’re diving in quicker than you say “ye ku de!” This time in town I was treated to a frenzied session of spinning tops.


Your guides to the spinning tops today are Zin Ko (pictured above) and Moe Htet Aung (below). These boys and their friends would wrap a piece of string around their top, pull with all their strength, and then hope the top would spin properly. And each successful spin was accompanied by a loud cheer. Zin Ko and Moe Htet Aung will also be taking turns as my guest photographers next week. Come back to see those pics — from the local teashop and around the neighborhood — in a few days.


One of the best things about the games that these kids are playing, at least from my perspective, is that they are all held outdoors. Nobody is staying inside, glued to a TV set or a computer terminal. They are outside, running around, acting silly, and getting exercise. Very cool indeed!



Creative Recreation

Remember those carefree days of outdoor games? The long ago and far away pre-digital days — before the masses were addicted to wretched mind-numbing computer games like Grand Theft Auto — when kids flew kites, held marbles matches, played hide and seek, and built sand castles? Well, those days are still here … at least on the streets of Mandalay in Myanmar.


When I was in Mandalay I was delighted to see the kids on 90th Street had constructed their very own putt-putt golf hole, utilizing a huge pile of sand in front of a nearby building. They let me borrow their plastic putter and I took a turn at whacking the tiny little, uh, soccer ball. But alas, I failed at making a hole-in-one, which was rather embarrassing, seeing as how I was once a winner of the Andy’s Trout Farm Putt-Putt Tourney in Dillard, Georgia. But then again, that was about 35 years ago!


On the other side of the street two boys were engaged in an intense marbles competition, with young Mr. Ye Thit emerging as the winner. Several blocks away, on a northern extension of the same street, some novice monks at a monastery were playing football, turning cartwheels, and playing with sticks and makeshift toys. In my book of life that counts as healthy entertainment!


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