Instead of learning about a country through a Powerpoint or a textbook, students will be able to experience Malaysian culture hands-on with board games.

The Malaysian Students Association will host the Malaysian Cultural and Games Night on Friday, where students can play traditional Malaysian board games and learn about the country through exhibitions on Malaysian recreational activities.

“We’re trying to get people to know about Malaysia a little differently,” Azril Jamaluddin, the president of Malaysian Students Association, said. “We have never had this kind of event before.”

If You Go 

What: Malaysian Cultural and Games Night

When: 6 p.m., Friday

Where: Baker Center, Conference Room 239

Admission: Free

Regina Yoong, the event coordinator, said when she arrived at OU a few months ago, she realized not many students knew about Malaysia and its culture.

“There used to be more Malaysian students in the past few years, but it has been decreasing recently,” Yoong, a graduate student studying English who is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said.

Mary Nern, a sophomore studying psychology, said she knows nothing about Malaysia but would be interested in attending the event.

“I always like learning about cultures that I know little about,” Nern said.

At Malaysian Cultural and Games Night, students can play traditional Malaysian games that Yoong brought with her from home.

“We have a lot of great, traditional games that are being played very often in Malaysia,” Yoong said. “That’s how people get together, get to know one another — through games.”

Yoong’s favorite game, Batu Seremban, is played in different stages with five stones and a little cloth bag sewn with seeds and will be at the event Friday, Yoong said.

“We always played it in high school and primary school before classes,” Yoong said. “It’s just a very traditional Malaysian game where all the school kids would know about it and compete.”

Gasing, a spinning top that is pulled with string, is another traditional Malaysian game that will be offered, Jamaluddin, a senior studying finance, said.

Other traditional Malaysian board games can be played at the event, such as congkak, a mancala game with Malaysian origin that has a box set with holes and is played with shells, Yoong said.

“These kinds of games are originally from Malaysia,” Jamaluddin said. “I’d say it’s our identity in our way. You can’t see this anywhere else. Maybe in Singapore or Indonesia, but it’s unique.”

In addition to board games, Malaysian Cultural and Games Night will display exhibitions about Malaysian culture. One exhibition will include information on the wau, a Malaysian batik kite, Yoong said.

The event will also offer a DIY batik painting. Batik painting is a distinct Malaysian pattern that uses candle wax and water colors, Yoong said.

Yoong said playing a Malaysian game, such as congkak that just uses stones from the ground, is an interesting and cheap way to learn about the culture.

“It does not need to be expensive,” Yoong said. “But the values of community, of friendship, is all embedded in board games. It’s a very unique way of knowing a person’s history, I’d say.”


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