Durian

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. Each post will be associated with a letter of the alphabet with the theme ‘Malaysiana

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turpentine and onion, garnished with gym socks

rich, sweet, sulfury, pungent

sewage, rotting flesh, or at best, ripe cheese…onions and meat. Dead rats.

These are just a few ways that the stench smell of durian, king of fruits, have been described. How would I describe the odour of durian? Yummilicious and inviting!

durian201Whenever a non-Malaysian visits us, one of the questions we’d ask eventually is “Have you tried eating durian?” Most would answer “Ugh! It smells awful!” The rare individual will reply with “Alamak! I love it!” We love the non-Malaysians who answer with the latter ;P

Truly, durian is a divisive fruit – you either love it. Or you loathe it.

In my hometown, the durian season is one of the most important seasons of all fruit seasons. Not many families have durian trees on their property so when durians are dropping to the ground, it could get pretty cutthroat. There’s been more than one occasion when we hear a durian fall to the ground and when we rush out of our house to where we think it fell, the fruit’s been taken by someone else who was waiting! These durian fruits obtained illegally would normally be sold at a roadside stall.

We Malaysians love durian so much that we even have roadside durian buffets. Like a typical buffet, you pay a fixed fee and eat as many durians as you can!

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Here’s a video of folks trying durian for the first time. I thought it was pretty hilarious especially the way they were cutting into it like it was a dead animal!

So, have you tried durian before? And if not, would you dare? ;P

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Congkak

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. Each post will be associated with a letter of the alphabet with the theme ‘Malaysiana

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I grew up during a time when as kids, we entertained ourselves by playing games like congkak (chong-kuck). What the heck is congkak? Well, it’s a two-person logic game played using  a papan congkak or congkak board.

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congkak board filled with marbles. 

I used to play congkak during free periods in primary school. The congkak boards were usually kept in the library and we’d sign it out and bring it back to our classrooms.

This is not unique to Malaysia though as Indonesia, Singapore and even the Philippines have their version of it.

In a congkak board, the smaller holes in the middle are called the “houses” while the two larger ones on each end are the “storehouses”. Each player sits on one side of the board and the houses facing them as well as the storehouse to their left belong to that player and vice versa. The game starts by filling each house with marbles or pebbles, the number of which corresponds to how many houses there are on the board. In this case, since there are 7 houses, you’ll need 7 marbles per house so you’ll start with a total of 49 marbles per player. The ultimate objective is to collect the most marbles (or all of them) in your storehouse! This website explains the rules far better than I do 🙂 I also came across this extremely simplified instruction manual –

instructioncongkak
Source: Happy City Penang Project

Instead of using marbles or pebbles in congkak, you could also use cowrie shells or saga seeds to fill the houses. My preference was always for saga seeds, though they weren’t easy to obtain.

It’s been years since I’ve seen anyone, especially kids play congkak. Though I’m sure if someone’s created a congkak app, they’ll probably play it. Oh, I just googled it, apparently there’s already a congkak app.

Tell me about the childhood games you played!