I’ve been here in Malaysia for eight months already (!) so maybe I’m out of touch with what’s happenin’ on the playground back in the States. But I can tell you what is on the minds of every 4- to 7-year-old kid I’ve met here: BeyBlades! What’s a beyblade? To my son, “A beyblade is when you get your beyblade and you fight ’em and you see whose is powerful. Mines is powerful!”
It is a spinning top, gasing in Malay, that you battle your friends with. There’s no batteries necessary, they’re not easy to break, and a kit of a top, a ripcord and a spinner only costs 2.50RM. By contrast, a single old GI Joe retails for 20RM+! That’s a starter kit of course, and you can trick them out endlessly from there: longer ripcord, arena, heavier weight ring. It’s a great toy. In fact, it’s not just the preschool set; kids as old as 10 or 12 play too. One of the cooler accessories is a weight ring with little bits of flint embedded in it. A good collision and the sparks will fly, literally.
Now I’ve been told that these beyblades are really just a new version of an old kampung favorite, the wooden top with a nail embedded point-down for spinning on. Those are spun with a length of string, and can be similarly tricked out with broken glass, fearsome war paint and so on. Good fun too, I’m sure, though I think it would take a little more dexterity than a five-year-old has.

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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  1. Maybe I am a little bit conservative, but with old wooden ‘gasing’ you can break your opponent’s into halves ( that is the other use of that nail), and that’s half the fun of it. Having a five-year-old playing together is better, since he becomes you easy victim.. ;P

  2. hello first of all weight discs are not weight rings
    the ones in the picture are king size goodday

  3. My son, Nicholas, is six and he and his friends at school are quite enchanted with the beyblades. It has caught on like a storm here. Do you have some history on the game?

  4. I don’t have any history really. But one thing I’ve noticed: It used to be that cartoons for kids would be fantasy where the actors were toys you could go out and buy. This was bad enough – you could say the shows were just long commercials. But with Beyblade and Speed Racer and others, now the cartoon is about really cool kids playing with the toys on TV. I don’t know what to make of it, except to cynically assume that someone has done the research showing this method moves more product.

  5. kids under the age of 8 should not have beyblades there to young they could easily get hurt ,and the BBA(BeybladeBattleAssosition)say that people under that age 8 should not have them .Thats the rules

  6. I think my mom and I are (almost) the most updated adults on whatever is the ‘in’ thing for kids nowadays – including Beyblade, trading and playing cards, sticker books, and tamiya cars. Maybe mom and I spoiled Aimin (my 9-year-old brother) too much with those things. btw – you should watch Beyblade cartoon on TV3 every Sunday. Oh, did I tell you I watch cartoons and read Dragonball comics as well? Just because…. 😛
    And yeah, mom and I did suggest Aimin to battle my grandfather with his gasing 😛

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