Bamboo Jacks (choi chuyen)
girls' game (chơi chuyen) includes ten thin, well-sharpened, round
bamboo sticks and a ball, which traditionally is a fig, a miniature
variety of eggplant, a small rock or a clod of clay.
tennis balls are becoming more popular as a substitute. The player
tosses the ball into the air. While the ball is in the air, she must
quickly pick up the sticks and then catch the ball.|
Players often recite a singsong nonsense rhyme: "Cai mot... Cai mai... Cai co… So mang... Thang chang... Con chit... Ngam nga... Ngam nguyt... Chuot chit... Sang ban doi…"
the first round, the player picks up the slicks one by one. Next, she
gathers two sticks at a time, and so forth up to ten. In these stages
she plays with only one hand. The girl picks up sticks and catches the
ball while reciting the rhyme. Meanwhile, her face reddens and her eyes
become intense as she performs in front of her friends.
of the game is the last, most animated stage with all ten sticks in a
bundle. During this stage, the player losses the ball and then transfers
(chuyen) the pack of sticks from one hand to the other. She must
successively switch the bundle, first once, then twice, then three or
even more times before catching the ball. The hands of a girl playing chuyen
open and close like small, nimble butterflies. If a player's hands are
not swift or if her eyes are not sharp, or if she fails to coordinate
the two, she will lose her turn. The game will pass to the next girl.
Playing chuyen warms up the body and creates a lot of fun.
During summer or autumn, small girls play it everywhere, from the shade
of a village banyan tree to a deserted market stall.