Most students in Scotland are famous for enjoying drinking, pubbing and clubbing. Often alongside these comes drinking games. While we are quite well known for this culture, Singapore is a different story. As alcohol is ridiculously expensive and many people don’t enjoy drinking as much as us Scots, there isn’t much of a drinking culture there. However, despite this I have been shown a few drinking games, while not typically Singaporean but Korean and Cambodian, these are still new games that are apparently typical to Asia.
Firstly, my experience with Korean drinking games. This was an event organised by the Korean Culture and Interest Group as one of the weekly sessions. Unfortunately as this meeting was organised on campus, there was no alcohol involved, which I feel impaired the experience a little. However, at least now I can return to Scotland and play something other than ring of fire. Here are 3 games that were played:
- The Korean games involved one game where each person in the circle must say out loud a number, starting from 1. Those people that have to say a multiple of 3 must say pass, and if they don’t realise this and instead say their multiple of 3 they must drink.
- Another game involved each person in the group stating a scenario, e.g. who in the group is the most hard working, and after a count of 3 everyone points to the person they think best answer the question. Whoever gets the most votes drinks.
- My personal favourite game, and one which would work best whilst drinking, was Saranghae. Saranghae is Korean for I love you. Here, one person in the circle must say Saranghae to one of the people next to them, with any gesture they wish as well as saying that word, with the aim of making that person laugh. If the recipient laughs, they must drink. If not, they can either accept or reject the gesture and then they can turn to someone next to them and say Saranghae, or the first person can turn and say Saranghae to her other neighbour and hope for acceptance or a laugh.
On a trip to Cambodia, in Siem Reap, myself and my friend were invited to join a group of local students playing a drinking game one evening. Now, the rules of the game were quite confusing, which could be partly due to the language barrier (their English wasn’t that great) or because the music in the bars near us was so loud, or because we had all had a drink, but either way I ended up not hearing a thing they said and just having to guess what was happening as I was playing. Here is the general idea (I think) of how it goes:
This consisted of holding a fist into the middle of the group and each person has to say a multiple of five, the rest of the group can choose to either open their fist or keep it closed. If that person says five for example, and only one person opens their hand (to show five fingers) then the person that said five wins and the person to the right of them has to drink. This continues round the circle.
While Singapore itself does not have any such drinking games, they do have what’s known as ‘ice-breaker’ games, meant to help a group of new students find out more about each other and make friends. A few are described below:
- This is like Chinese whispers and Charades in one game. A group of five have to stand in a line, all facing one direction. The student at the back of the line chooses a piece of paper with a description of an activity on it, and they must then act this activity out to the person in front of them. The person in front of them must then do the same to the person in front of them, etc. until the end of the line. The final person must then guess what the activity was.
- Another game involved learning names. One person sits in the middle of a circle of people. One person in the circle’s name is called out and the person in the middle now has the chance to ‘tag’ the person whose name has been called. If they do this before the named person calls out another person’s name, then the named person becomes the person in the centre of the circle. This is repeated.
While these games did not involve drinking I feel that, being a typical student, drinking has the potential to enhance the experience. From my experience with the Cambodian drinking game, while it might sound boring, once you’ve had a few beers (which were 50 cents in Cambodia which already put me in a good mood) you end up quite enjoying it. Furthermore, these games were a great way for me to meet people and bond with people, both in a society and just casually at the pub.