Traditional past times

A number of games that are of Brunei Malay origin are found in Labuan, and in Brunei Malay areas of the west coast of the mainland.

Gasing
Top spinning is very popular in Labuan. A length of rope is skillfully wound around the carved wooden top which unwinds quickly as it is thrown to the ground. The object of the game is to keep the top spinning as long as possible, lifting it from the ground onto a small flat wooden base. In competitions, opponents strike each other's tops and try to hit them out of the game. Even very young children have shown great skill in this traditional game of gasing.

Kuit
One simple but very entertaining game is kuit, played with a broad band of a coconut shell cut from its mid section. Each team consists of three players, and they are expected to show their skills in different ways of moving the shell. One way is by kicking it backwards using the heel and also kicking it forward. The kuit can be picked up and thrown or be made to bounce several times while moving towards a target. The most difficult manouver involves bending the body backwards like doing the limbo, and trying to touch your opponent's shell with yours. Broken shell are allowed to be replaced!

Layang-Layang
Layang-layang or Kikik are kites. Bamboo frames are covered with thin kite paper and can measure anything from 18 inches to 4 feet in length. During competitions, contestants take turns to fly their kite. Points are given to the quality of the kite, its decorations, flying techniques and aerial manouvers. It takes skill to handle a kite, especially when the wind is high.

Kasut Gergasi
Split wooden planks are fastened to the player's feet. Every team has 5 contestants and they have to race a distance of 60 metres each, changing players as each one completes his turn. The team that finishes first is the winner.

Simban
This is another popular game and is played by many people with slight variations. Stones are thrown down randomly on the ground in front of the player and he has to pick them up in seven different ways. The player who makes the least fumbles is judged the winner.

Gusti Lengan (arm wrestling)
There are three to a team. Each one challenges a single opponent and the winner from that round will go on to the next. There are three weight categories - up to 50 kilos, 51-70 kilos and 71 and above. The elbows of each player rests on the surface of a table and they grasp each other's palms in a tight hold. The objective is to see who can lower his opponent's arm onto the table surface.

Berambit (sickles)
This game is also played by teams of three and have the same weight categories as the above game. Two competitors sit facing each other on the floor, with legs out stretched. The soles of their feet are separated by a block of wood and their arms are also out stretched, gripping onto a wooden bobbin. A line is drawn between the two men. The object of the game is to force the opponent's elbows beyond the line, by strong tugging. The team that wins in at least two categories are the champions.

 

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