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My childhood games, flying kite and spinning top.

Updated on February 27, 2012

I was brought up in the small city, Georgetown Penang. My childhood was spent in playing the games of city children used to play during those days. I think, there are no different with the games for the city child and the countryside child during my younger time.

Georgetown in 1970s, television was still a luxury for the average family. I still remember, the whole street on our neighborhood, only neighbor on our opposite has a television. It was a black and white TV, with a brown colored door in front of the television box.

Children seldom watch television during my childhood. All my toys were passed down from my elder sister and brothers. It was quite common for me to fly the kites on the sky, to play with those colored marble balls with my brothers and neighbors, even just as simple as use old exercise books to fold paper boats, paper airplane, paper dolls with variety clothes for change. I always run here and there, from street to street and to the back lane. I still remember there were a lot of game machine shops (some sort like pinball machine) those days in Penang. We could start the game by just drops in token or coin to the machine.

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Fly a kite

I always squatting aside to see my brothers tied up some thin bamboo with some strings to make the frame of the kite. There are bamboos as a spine and a spar are tied on crossways on the spine. Then a piece of thin paper or plastic sheet or cloth is pasted to the frame. Usually, we drew on the cover of the kites. There was a string bridle tied to the spine and spar that help to control the kite in the sky. Another cotton or linen flying line was attached to the bridle string for holding the kites from the ground. And the flying line was winded in a reel to keep the kites from getting tangled or flied away. The kite was designed with a beautiful tail. The designs of the kites most often follows the images of flying birds, insects and some other animal, some even colored with some legendary images.

During 70s, there was not much cars on the street. Windy season is the best time to fly kite, kids were crazy with kite and challenge to fly their own kite in the sky. Kids would shout and chase to the direction of the kites when there were kite flown down from the sky which cut down by others.

Many children on those days, also flying fighter kite. Usually the cotton line of the fighter kites is coated with a mixture of fine massed glass and rice glue. This is for the purpose to snag each other kite or cutting down other kites in the sky.

I cannot remember the technique of flying a kite. But I would like to share the reference of the sources from Wikipedia.

When the kite is flown in the air firmly, the kite is deformed by the wind pressure, giving it stability in the sky. When the wind is strong and line tension is reduces, you can either letting out more string or the player moving into the wind. After a while the kite will begin unstable and shaking from side to side or even spinning in the air. At this moment, reapplying tension by pulling the string of the kites will move the kite to the direction that the flyer requires. The most important skill for flying a fighter kite is the string management. Sometime even have a reel to allow winding and releasing of the kite string, the flyer will holding the line or with one or more assistants to help out.

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Wooden spinning tops

My brother used to ask for a piece of wood from a carpenter neighbor to make the wooden spinning top. Then he grounded the wood into egg-shape. A long nail has been poked through the middle of the wood and the feet of the nail exposed outside. A thin rope has been tied up to a soda bottle cap, this rope has been ring-up to the egg-shaped wood and throw it onto the ground and let the wooden spinning tops turns on the ground.

The spinning tops is a toy can be spin on an axis, with a balancing point. The player hold firmly on rope that ring-up the egg-shaped wood and pulling the string off and throwing the spinning top on the ground and producing the spinning in circular motion.

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      asatis 4 years ago

      The childhood memories are always nostalgic. I am remembering my playmates while reading the article. I was used to playing with kites. Kites are awesome in the sky. We were used to cutting thread of kites of other kids and have a great enjoyment if we succeed. That day I still remember.