Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The 11 villages in Southeast Asia have their own national sports. Some are official as recognized by the government and some are not. Other villages pick their national sport by cultural tradition and others opt with popularity.

Silat is the official national sport of Brunei. It is traditional martial arts form that uses blades and stuff but mainly bare hand. This sport spans the whole Malay Archipelago.

The official national sport of Burma is Chinlone. It requires a ball that’s kicked around with your team mates. There is no opposing team meaning, this is a non-competitive game. The object of the game is how beautiful and skillfully pass the ball to your team mate. I have seen this once and I could strongly say; it is one of the world’s most beautiful games.

Cambodia’s Sey dates back to the 11th century. It is the official national sport of the Khmer Kingdom. It is played with a special kind of ball thingy that’s kicked back and forth like volleyball. Here’s the kicker – historians believe that ancient Sey of Cambodia is where the Sipa (Philippines) and Sepak Takraw (Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei) came from.

Indonesia seems not to have an official national sport although their Cultural Attaché in Bangkok told us that Pencak Silat is considered for cultural and traditional importance. Pencak Silat is the collective term of the countrywide game called Silat. I asked around and all I got is – Badminton and Football. Obviously noted by popularity.

Here’s a surprise: the official national sport of Laos is *drumroll* Rugby. The game was recently recognized by the Lao government as their national sport although Laos is a football playing nation. Go figure.

Sepak Takraw is one of the most popular sports in the whole of Southeast Asia and it is considered as the national sport of Malaysia although it is not official. It is called Kick Volleyball in English and played by opposing teams making sure the ball doesn’t hit the ground on their side.

The Philippines’ official national sport is Sipa which means kick in Filipino. It is played with a special shuttlecock-like ball (street) or rattan ball (court) and played like the Cambodian Sey and the Malaysian Sepak Takraw.

While writing this, I was with a Singaporean friend and asked her the country’s national sport. Guess what I got?Shopping! Then it occurred to me why I asked a lady. I turned to a dude and he said Online Gaming like Killing Orc and others. Whoah! Hi-techie-techie!

Football is the national sport of Timor Leste and Vietnam, although it’s not officially recognized by both countries. The Timorese attaché in Bangkok didn’t have any idea and my Vietnamese friends say it’s football (but I seriously doubt it).

The official national sport of Thailand is Muay Thai. “Muay" means boxing and “Thai” means... isn't it obvious? It is our version of Muay Boran (ancient boxing). It is amorously called “The Art of 8 Limbs” and considered one of the deadliest martial arts in the world.

Our National Sports -- Our icons.


*If this post needs correction, it is always welcome.


Geisha said...

Ohh my!

i remember taking classes for "sepak takraw" on my second year in college as part of out physical education class!

such a very bad experience with all boys around.. hahahha

Googoosh said...

LOL! Singapore's national sport is shopping?

Ahmed said...

I didn't know that there's a more older form of Sepak Takraw. Thanks for the info.

David M. said...

I would love to go to Thailand and learn Muay Thai. Can you recommend a good camp? Maybe around down south please? Thanks.

TAO said...

Laos is RUGBY?

aries said...

sepak takraw is being tought in our high schools though...but sipa is still around...


Anonymous said...

I thought Brunei's National Sport was Tug of War, well coz thats the one sport they usually win~

XanFactor said...

really good blog...


janus said...

shocking national sports of vietnam, laos, and timor leste..

anyhow, i've heard this song rise asean by yan zi.. was hoping if you would like to check it out..a nice song for all aseans.. keep up the good work po... kampai! :)

Allen Yu said...

Im wondering. Why are these some posts that I have never read or seen on the link list before? They somehow popped out of nowhere. And the posts I lately discovered was dated 2007? hmmm.. Am I missing anything or there's something wrong with my eyes?

good day to pisanu, sofia and morgan and to everyone!

I just finished watching Love of Siam and im falling in love with Thailand. Haha!

FunkaTronik said...

since your posting about Sport

the first ASIAN BEACH GAMES is being held in BALI right now...

Anonymous said...

How come PI national sport's sipa?! Thought t'was basketball! Sipa i think is the national game which is not a formal sports! If sportwise, that would be arnis!

ken said...

can traditional games included?
as congkak, batu seremban huhu

redan said...

sipa nolonger the philippines's national sport. last december 2009, president gloria macapagal arroyo signed the law declaring arnis, a martial art using canes, as the national sport.

the campaign to have arnis recognized as the national started in 1997 yet.

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