Saturday, December 26, 2009

oh peh som

'oh peh som' is a method we used as children when we had to decide who should be eliminated or which team one should be allocated to. 'oh peh som' is not a traditional game but rather an efficient traditional way of picking the members for two teams. in fact, it can be tweaked to pick members for more than two teams.

my friend dick (the wise old owl) had asked me sometime back to blog about it but i did not get around to doing it until now. what finally prompted me to do it was when i saw four boys using this method to decide the pairs to play each other in badminton. but, they have a different name for this way. they call it 'black or white'.

in 'oh peh som', the palm and the back of the hand come into play. participants begin by placing one hand - usually the right hand - behind their back. they will stand in a circle or a semi-circle. anyone of them or all of them can shout out 'oh peh som'. at 'som', they have to bring the hidden hand to the front showing either the palm or the back of the hand.

say, like in this case of the four badminton players, two of them display their palms and the other two display the backs, the two 'palms' form one team and the other team members will comprise the two 'backs'. if one shows palm and the other three show back or vice versa, then it goes into another round of 'oh peh som'. the same thing happens when all four end up showing the same side of the hand. it goes on until it is two palms an two backs of the hand are shown.

'oh peh som' can also be used to decide on something you, as a group, want to do. for example, if you cannot decide on whether to go swimming at farrer park swimming pool or mt emily swimming pool, you can always 'oh peh som' to pick the venue for your swim. it is not actually a majority decision; it is more like the luck of the draw. i do not ever remembering any quarrel over a decision made in this way.

here is one overseas singaporean who still remembers oh ah, peh ah, som.


peter said...

Congrats for remembering this game but I sam sure this only done in primary school level.

BTW how about "Lom Chiam Pass"? or what they call today Paper, water , stone...something like that lah I thot it was also used to make decisions? Please clarify YG. Me rusty memory.

Victor said...

Peter, it's "scissors, paper, stone" lah. As far as I know, this is for 2 particpants and above whereas "oh peh som" is for 3 participants or more.

So "oh peh" in "oh peh som" actually stands for "black and white". I didn't know that.

YG, your link for the overseas Singaporean who still remembers "oh peh som" should be here. Your link doesn't work because it has an extra "http".

nah said...

“Scissors, Paper, Stone” is a popular hand game often played by children in the early years. It is used in a similar way to coin flipping, opening book…using the page numbers, throwing dice or drawing straws to select a person, or defeat an opponent, for some purpose. The players both shout aloud the name of the game “Scissors, Paper, Stone”, in English, or “石头剪刀布” (Stone, Scissors, Cloth) in Mandarin, and simultaneously throwing their gesture.

Icemoon said...

Oh yes I remember oh peh som. But we always say oh ah peh ah som, as if anticipate the long awaited moment.

I suspect oh peh som is "black, white, choose" in Chinese - 黑白选.

Unk Dicko said...

Well done YG for coming back to this OPS thingy which seems less popular than SPS (Scissors, paper,stone) today.
I enjoy playing SPS with my then youngest grandson when he was just over 2 years plus. We have taught him the 3 hand gestures and which 'conquers' what. However, whatever hand I play he would automatically say, after he has also shown his gesture, " I LOSE!"
Haha. Aren't kids just lovable?

peter said...

Can some one help understand this game we used to play...."London Bridge is falling down, faling down (2)....My fair Lady....

kiatsan said...

Ha. I almost forget about "oh peh som" because I have not used it for many years.

Thanks for reminding. Cheers Ü

Last time, we used this method to decide who is the ghost in catching or split the player into 2 team in a soccer game. hehe

yg said...

peter, here's some info from wikipedia:
The rhyme is often used in a children's singing game, which exists in a wide variety of forms, with additional verses. The most common is that two players make an arch while the others pass through in single file. The arch is then lowered at the song's end to "catch" a player.