KOMUNITAS HONG: Empower People through Preservation of Traditional Games
- Clara Shinta Asri Alpina
- Ruriko Tanaka
- Yoshihiro Nishihara
Klak, klak, klak, a constant sound heard from a toy called kitiran as it moves against the wind. That is one of the peaceful things you will find if you visit Komunitas Hong. Proclaiming itself as a “living museum” of traditional toys and games; you will find more than 2500 toys and games from all over the world in Komunitas Hong. Zaini Alif, the man behind this community, met us with his traditional Sundanese hat on. With his humble and attractive way of speaking, he invited us to look deeper into his community’s journey preserving traditional toys and games, and empowering people through its philosophy.
Komunitas Hong was established in 2005. It was started when Zaini Alif felt that the games today made children become more individual, less creative, and anti-social. Thus, he did research on traditional games and found that traditional games could improve children’s motoric skill. Besides, he believes that traditional games also bear other benefits e.g. teach children about teamwork, build their confidence, teach them to play fairly, gives them competition feeling, and teach them honesty.
At first, it was solely his study and concern. However, this research led him to an idea of establishing Komunitas Hong. He started it all by collecting traditional toys from all over Indonesia. He also gathered people around to join the community to support his idea. Armed with a strong determination, he managed to collect toys and invite some people join his community as members. Then, he began to introduce Komunitas Hong as a community that focused on culture and traditional games preservation.
At first, Komunitas Hong faced challenge when people were not willing to join. They assume that game was only for playing and it was addressed solely for kids. However, Kang Zaini did not give up. He kept struggling in preserving traditional toys and games. He never stopped in introducing his community and promoting the benefits of playing with traditional toys and games. As the result, we could say now that Komunitas Hong is successful. It is now well-known not only inside Indonesia but also in foreign countries. People from all over the world come and visit Komunitas Hong to experience the excitement of playing with traditional games. Besides, they also teach the visitors to make their own traditional toys from the things around them.
Originally, this community aimed to preserve culture of traditional games. Then, this community also aims to help people through its activities. Komunitas Hong now has 50 members. The system used in this community is based on the principle of trust.
Whenever they had visitors, not all 50 members can join and facilitate the activity. The members have to take turns. For example, today they have 50 visitors. There will be only five community members that facilitate the activity. Where is the trust principle then? Trust principle happens when the five working people invest some of their income to the community. The other 45 members can use the invested income whenever they need some support. It means even though they are not working, the other 45 members can still earn a living. Whenever they have another visitor and other members facilitate them, they have to invest some of their income as well.
In fact, the idea of the management system in Komunitas Hong was based on Indonesian traditional game called congklak. This game teaches us not only to save or invest money, but also to share. The invested income in Komunitas Hong will be used to help the members in case they have urgent needs, like family member needs to do surgery or send kids to school. In case there are no members that need the money, they will use it to help the underprivileged kids in the neighborhood.
To keep this community in a healthy condition, Zaini Alif developed good communication atmosphere with all of the members. They can share their thought, concerns, problems, and ideas. Zaini also does the same in order to build good relationship. Now, Komunitas Hong becomes one of the most respectable social entrepreneurship and one of the few that has unique business model.
There is some traditional games in Indonesian :
Zaini stated that traditional games have connection with our life. It does not only invite us to be more active or social, but also teaches us values of living through its philosophical meaning. These are the connection that Zaini wants us to understand by playing with traditional toys and games:
• Traditional games has connection to religion.
Traditional games can give religion lesson to the players. Hide and Seek Game is the example. This game makes us understand that “every man who died would return to God. Now it’s our time to live (hide, find any place we want to go) because people will surely die (seek, go back to the base when the other player tries to find us) and back to God (the base).
• Traditional Games has connection to education
There was no school to learn in the old times. However, people still could learn through traditional games. For example, people learn mathematical logic by making the kites, make sure that the size is balance to be able to fly.
• Traditional has connection to social life
Traditional Games in Indonesian teach us how to control our emotion and sympathy. We can learn from the game jawil matung (the player touched by the ‘bad player’ should freeze like a statue) where we control ourselves to stand still even though we really want to run and help other player.
• Traditional Game has connection to Languages
Every game has a song or words as accompaniment during the game. This teaches us about language usage or even learning new words.
Zaini Alif (Founder of Komunitas Hong)
“Playing a game is not solely to play but also to learn about life lessons that can be found within the game itself.” This is the life principle from Zaini Alif, a figure behind the establishment of the Komunitas Hong. He is the “father of traditional game” whom founded the community that becomes the living museum with thousands traditional games from across the archipelago, more than 100 from the foreign country, and still researching for more toys from Indonesia and foreign countries. He was born 30 years ago in Subang, West Java. After completed his Bachelor Degree in Product Design at ITENAS, he continued his Masters in Bandung Institute of Technology. He is now currently pursuing Doctoral Degree at the Bandung Institute of Technology. His vision is to make one Komunitas Hong in every region in Indonesia. Now, Komunitas Hong has existed not only in Bandung but also in Subang and Aceh.