Monday, September 01, 2008

문화수업 - 한국놀이

Date: 8 Aug 08 (Friday)
Venue: IIE, Room B103

Four optional cultural lessons were scheduled during our 3-weeks course. They were Korean Game, Korean Song, Korean Movie and Taekwondo. Our daily language lessons starts from 9am and ends at 1pm. As such, cultural lessons can only be held in the afternoon. Our first cultural lesson was Korean game and the teacher-in-charge was Ms Kim Hyeon Jin (김현진). For those who know her, Ms Kim is a very fun teacher to be with. She is full of energy and highly animated. She can act, sing and dance. She can be as wild and crazy as any teenager out there. In short, she rocks! However, for some reason, she appeared quite tame during our lesson.

Our class was grouped with Intermediate 1 and Advanced 2 class for our cultural lesson. In the 2-hours lesson on Korean Game, we learnt and played 3 games, namely 제기차기 (Shuttlecock Kicking), 닭싸움 (Chicken Fight) and 윷놀이 ('Yut' Game). In the first part of the lesson, we were split into two teams and made to compete against one another in all the three games. Our team, 대풍(Typhoon), won in 제기차기 and 윷놀이. In the second part, we were further divided into smaller groups to play 윷놀이. I must say that I have a lot of practice on the game but I would prefer to play the game in a larger group as there is more fun and excitement.

제기차기 - Shuttlecock Kicking

제기 or Jegi is something like "capteh" but not exactly like it. It has a plastic round base with many thin shiny strips (strips like those used in pom pom ball) attached to it. The whole idea about winning the game is to use one's leg to kick the Jegi as many times as possible without dropping it on the floor.

닭싸움 - Chicken Fight

닭 (pronounced as "dak") means chicken and 싸움 (fight) is the nominalised form of the verb stem 싸우다 (to fight). To play the game, we have to stand on one leg while keeping the other bent. In that posture, we are made to "fight" with our opponent by pushing against him or her. The winner is the one who remains standing on one leg throughout while the loser is the one who stands on two legs or falls to the ground.

Ms Kim introducing the opponents for the 닭싸움 game

윷놀이 - "Yut" Game

To play the "yut" game, there is a need for four "yut" sticks, a board and four tokens for each of the two teams. Every "yut" stick has a flat and a round surface. The "yut" sticks function like a dice. The casting of the four "yut" sticks will result in five possible combinations and depending on the combination, the score ranges from 1 to 5. When the combination is either a 윷 or 모, a player will get an extra cast. One point is equivalent to one step on the board. To win the game, a team must get all their four tokens to the ending point before their opposing team does.

The five combinations of "yut" sticks and their corresponding score.

The board used for the "yut" game is called 말판 (literal meaning - horse board). The starting and ending point is shown as a big red dot on the bottom right corner of the board (see left). The actual board doesn't indicate the point in red though. The tokens played are called 말 or "horse" and there four different routes on the board which the tokens can take. To switch to the shortest route possible, a token must end its last move on a big circle. If a token constantly misses stopping at the big circle, it will have to take the longest route to the ending point.

Four possible routes - from the shortest (far left) to the longest (far right).

The tokens from the same team (white team) can move along the board together if they happen to stop at the same circle at some point in time. However, there lies a danger in moving multiple tokens together because if any of the token from the opposing team (black team) catches up and lands in the same circle, all the tokens from the white team will have to be sent back to the starting point. To further rub salt into the wound, the black team get an extra cast of the "yut" sticks for doing that. It is always fun to "kick" my opponent's token back to the starting point but it feels really miserable when my token, in turn, is being "kicked". It is such difference in between winning and losing that really makes a game exciting.

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