Tuesday, March 20, 2007

김치팅 이겨라

This is our last week at Kyung Hee. There will be another three days of lesson and everything will be wrapped up by then. The closing ceremony is on Friday. As usual our Monday morning started with four hours of lesson with 10 minutes of rest in between lessons. In the afternoon, we had our last culture programme which was about Korean games. The teacher who took us was Ms. Kim Nang Ye (김낭예). We were split into two teams "Kimchi" and "Kimbap" through a game of 가위, 바위, 포 (or Scissor, Paper, Stone). I won the game and was placed in the Kimchi team. The 내기 or bet for the afternoon was loser would buy winner a can of drink each.

제기차기 - Shuttlecock Kicking

제기 or Jegi is something like shuttlecock but not quite like it. 차기 or Chagi means kicking. Jegi is not made from bird feathers like the "capteh" we are used to in Singapore. Instead it is made from shiny strips used in pom pom ball. That has kinda of made it less buoyant in air than "capteh" and we have to kick the Jegi at faster pace to keep it in the air. Singaporeans simply outplayed others in this game. Not even Ms Kim was our match. But that was because we have similar game in Singapore. The result for this game, Kimbap team won.

닭싸움 - Chicken Fight

닭 (pronounced as "dak") means chicken and 싸움 is the noun-form of the verb stem 싸우다 which means "to fight". To be exact, we played the game like a one-legged chicken. Standing on one leg with the other leg bent, we were supposed to "fight" one-to-one using our bent knee. The bent knee, I suppose is to simulate the beak of the chicken. As we pushed each other with our knee, it was like two chicken pecking at one another. The game ended when one person stood on two legs or fell to the ground. The winner would be the one who remained standing on one leg throughout. For this game, Kimchi team won.

공기놀이 - Pebble Game

공기 (Gong-gi) means something like pebble. 놀이 (Nori) simply means game. Gong-gi Nori is very similar to the "five-stones game" which was once popular in Singapore. In the five-stones game there is 8 levels to complete while in Gong-gi Nori there is only 5 levels. We didn't actually used pebbles to play the game. Instead it was some pellet-sized plastic pieces filled with iron filing. The plastic surface was quite smooth and we had some problem grabbing the pieces during play. The winner was determined by the number of pieces a team could grab in the fifth level. For that level, we first placed the five pieces of "pebble" in our palm and then pushed them into the air by jerking our stretched-out palm slightly. While the pieces were in the air, we had to quickly flip our hand and catch as many dropping pieces as possible with the back of our hand. Next, the remaining pieces were pushed up into the air again and we had to grab as many as possible of the remaining pieces using our hand. The number of pieces grabbed gave the points for the game. One piece gave one point. Kimchi team was the winner for this game.

윷놀이 - "Yut" Game

The game of "Yut" was played with 4 yut sticks and a game board. Each yut stick has a flat and a round surface. When the 4 yut sticks are thrown, they need to stay within a marked-out area. Any yut stick that falls outside the zone, the throw is considered unsuccessful and no re-throw is given. Trust me, it is easy for the yut sticks to fall outside the marked-out area. There are five outcomes when the four yut sticks are thrown. They are 도 (one flat surface up), 개 (2 flat surface up), 걸 (3 flat surface up), 윷 (all flat surface up) and 모 (all flat surface down). 도 is like one point on the dice, 개 is two, 걸 is three, 윷 is four and 모 is five. When the outcome is either a 윷 or 모, the player get an extra throw. Each point received will allow the chip on the board to move one step. The first team to get all their chips to the ending point will be the winning team. Kimbap team won the first game to draw Kimchi team with a 2: 2 scoreline. We played an additional game of yut to determine the final winner. Kimbap team looked almost like winning the second game until we hit two 모 consecutively to over-turn the table. It was a "hair-line" finishing for the Kimchi team. The final result was Kimchi team won and we got our can of drink from the Kimbap team.

얼음땡 - Ice "Ddaeng"

We were introduced five other games which were not part of the competition between the Kimchi and Kimbap team. We played three games and Ms Kim explained the other two games verbally. One of those games that we played was 얼음땡. 얼음 means ice and 땡 is just a sound and has no special meaning. The game was played with one catcher and the rest as "escapees". The game is very much like the "Police and Thief" game we played in Singapore. The catcher is supposed to catch an escapee. However the escapees can avoid being caught when the catcher is near by shouting "얼음". When the escapees call out "얼음", they can no longer move and neither can the catcher catch them. The "frozen" escapees can move again only after they are "ddaeng" or touched by other escapee. The catcher must catch an escapee before he or she shout out "얼음". Once an escapee is caught, he or she will become the next catcher. We played this game in the IIE auditorium which was kinda of small. In spite of that it was still difficult for the catcher to catch an escapee.

여우야 여우야 - Fox

여우 means fox. "여우야 여우야" is something like "fox ah, fox ah" in Singlish. This game is played with one person acting as the fox while the rest as frogs. It also has a nursery rhyme to go with it. The game starts with the "fox" and "frogs" set distance apart. As the "frogs" sing the nursery rhyme, they move closer and closer to the fox. The nursery rhyme goes like that:

Frog: 여우야 여우야 뭐하니 (Fox, what are you doing?)
Fox: 잠 잔다 (I am sleeping.)
Frog: 잠꾸러니 (You are a sleepyhead.)

Frog: 여우야 여우야 뭐하니 (Fox, what are you doing?)
Fox: 세수한다(I am washing up.)
Frog: 멋쟁이 (You are a dude.)

Frog: 여우야 여우야 뭐하니 (Fox, what are you doing?)
Fox: 밥 먹는다 (I am eating rice.)
Frog: 무슨 반찬 (What side dish does you have?)
Fox: 개구리 반찬 (Frog side dish.)

Frog: 죽었니? 살았니? (Dead or Alive?)
Fox: 죽었니 / 살았니 (Dead / Alive)

By the time the "frogs" ask the "fox" the question "dead or alive?", they will be quite close to the "fox". The "fox" can choose between saying "dead" and "alive". If he or she says "dead!", no one is supposed to move. Whoever moves will be considered "dead" and has to become the next "fox". However, when he or she says "alive", all the "frogs" must run for their life. The person caught by the "fox" will be the next "fox".

3 6 9 게임 - 3 6 9 Game

The last game that we played for the day was the 3-6-9 game. This is a counting game. No one is supposed to call up the number which contains 3, 6 or 9 digit in it. Instead he or she should clap their hands if their number has 3, 6 or 9 digit. A person who call out the number which contains 3, 6 or 9 will be subjected to penalty. The penalty for losers was to use their buttock to write their name. It was embarassing but the losers were all game enough to play the penalty.

널뛰기 - See-Saw Jumping

널 is the Korean version of "see-saw". 뛰기 can mean running or jumping but in this case I think it should mean jumping. I guess many people have come across this traditional Korean game. What I did find interesting was the original purpose of playing this game. Ms Kim told us that long time ago, the social system in existence, did not allow Korean women to venture outside their house. In order to see the world outside the four walls, Korean women played 널뛰기. The harder they hit the see-saw, the higher her partner would fly and the further she would see. It was interesting to learn that 널뛰기 was a product of a feudalistic era.

깡통차기 - Kicking the Can

깡통 is something like a tin or a can. 차기 is kicking. Like in the case of 널뛰기, we did not play this game primarily because the IIE auditorium was too small Although the game is called "kicking the can", it is more like "hide and seek". Ms Kim explained that to play 깡통차기, a can is required to be placed beside the catcher. The rest of the people are supposed to find a place to hide while the catcher count to 10. Once the time is up, te catcher will go around finding the rest of the people. The catcher shall also ensure that nobody kick the can before he or she finds all the people. If the can is knocked down, the catcher will have to repeat the counting down process while the rest seek out new places to hide.

Final Words

It seemed like we spent the whole afternoon playing game. In fact the lesson only lasted for 2 hours. Language lesson was so much more fun with games. Just that afternoon, I learn a few more Korean words like 얼음, 여우 and 차다 which I think are words that are likely to stay in my mind. Looking back at all the four culture lessons that I had, those lessons which required participation, are those which I enjoyed more like Korean Game, Taekwondo and Korean Song. Korean Movie lesson though interesting is less memorable. I will be suggesting to include Korean Food as part of the culture lesson. Perhaps in future there maybe lesson on making Kimbap or Japchae. I think it will be interesting as student can enjoy cooking and eating at the same time.


  1. So when will you reach Singapore?

  2. 이번 일요일 밤에 도착할 거예요.

  3. hi there... actually i found your blog while im doing some research. actually i'm interested on the korea culture game. so would like to ask, is that possible you can provide more information about it?! thank you very much.

  4. i am not good at korean games. i followed instructions previously and so may not be able to provide you with more information than what was already written.

  5. okie. thanks alot btw. sorry for bothering....

  6. what?..wow! i like your blog so much..i love korean culture.. your blog really helped me.. thank you! ^^ 감사합니다.