Tools for the Game
3 important devices are required for this traditional game. Namely:
1. Candlenut Clamp
The candlenut clamp is usually made from hard wood such as senna, merawan and/or meranti. The scoopers should be lined with metal like copper and/or tin. The handles are made of hard wood. The lining wood at the lower side of the clamp is made of hard wood while the top part is made of flexible wood like the ‘nibong’. The centres (holes) are lined with copper and two candlenuts will be placed one on top of the other. Soft materials like leaves fragments, coconut husks and cotton are placed around the candlenuts.
2. Types of Candlenuts
The candlenut tree is large and tall. The fruit is green in colour and contain candlenut seeds. When the green fruit eventually dries, the candlenuts will fall to the ground where they become harder and drier. These seeds will determine the loser or the winner in the wager. It is defined by various aspects; for example size, length and the quality. As listed here are three kinds of candlenuts:
2.1 Male Seeds – they are nearly circular in shape. This type is seldom used in games. The male seeds are usually used for germination.
2.2 Female Seeds – they have side flat surfaces. This is the main choice for the game because the flat side is easily handled.
2.3 Gendong Seeds – these are shaped almost like chicken eggs. This type is rarely used in the game because form and surface are unsuitable.
Various ways to make the candlenuts hardier:
3.1 The candlenut is cleaned with water or scraped to scrub off the grime.
3.2 Then it is soaked in tamarind juice for a week
3.3 After a week, it is cleaned and left to dry in a shady place.
3.4 After the drying process, the seeds are mixed with sand and fried, until the colour turns yellow. The frying must be done carefully to prevent the seeds from becoming too brittle and break. They can be roasted instead of fried.
3.5 When the seeds are cold, some palm sugar is applied.
Each preparation is to ensure that the candlenuts become harder and more durable; to be knocked against repeatly. The players will name their candlenuts based on their alleged greatness and reselince. The popular ones at those times were Lipan Bara (Centipede on fire) and Kapak Jepun (The Japanese Axe).
3. Lining of the Clamp
Organic compost materials like straw and coconut husks are used as lining for the clamp as they are easily available. A lot of the lining materials are put into the scoops so that both candlenuts do not rub against each other
How to play the game:
This game is played between two opposing teams consisting of two competitors (each responsible for stepping on and breaking the candlenut). However, there are ten others involved in the betting. Everything will depend on the durability of the candlenuts and the cunning and strength of the competitors. This game is played in several stages:-
1. Seed Comparison
Both teams will compare their seeds carefully. When there is mutual agreement, the betting will start.
2. Bouncing the Seeds
This is to determine which seed should be placed above and the other under. Conventionally, the bouncing is carried out by clutching both candlenuts in hand, shake, and then cast to earth. The player will be delighted if the candlenut lands face down because the seeds that lands this way will usually win. A rather unusual method of bouncing that can be found in Kampung Rumbia, Pekan at the beginning of 1960 is as follows; Firstly, both candlenuts are to be put into a filled millet tray, shaken repeatedly and then poured into a winnow. As per usual rules, the one facing down is placed underneath whilst the other is placed above it.
This term is more often used in traditional games such as top spinning and playing marbles. With regards to the game of candlenuts, the candlenuts that are to be played with are first placed into the clamp. Once enough thick layers are added and placed into the clamp, a piece of iron is placed to ensure that the seeds don’t move around. The positioning of the seeds are then verified by everyone present. If any party is unsatisfied with the placement, the whole process is repeated.
4. Menghencang (Stepping on the Seed)
The team with the candlenut in the lower position will have the first try. The action of stepping on the seed requires a strong and steady foot and heel. The competitor must go through three steps; they need to swing and cross over the clamp whilst letting out a cheer. It will be embarassing for his team and all those who bet on him if the seed is found to still be intact. The competition will then continue with the opposing team’s turn and vice versa until both seeds are usually broken.