Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Scrabble fiasco

Once every weekend, we have a family game of Scrabble. We started this tradition to inject a slightly more intellectual element in our family time (vs badminton and eating), but primarily to help Andre improve his vocabulary. (As you may have read, Andre's level of English isn't too hot.)

In our games, we don’t count the points, so that the focus would be on forming words, not on winning. (In a family where everyone hates to lose, this would be the surest way of killing the game!) The objective in our game is to finish all our letters, the only penalty being that the person who’s unable or last to finish his or her letters has to keep the game set.

When we first started the game, Andre just couldn’t catch on to the notion of forming words using his letters. He would say something like, “I want to put ‘GOAT’ but I don’t have the ‘G’ and the ‘T’.” After a while, slight progress – he just had to figure out how to form words using letters already on the board. He would say, “I can put ‘MAN’ but I don’t know where to put it.”

Now, at least he has grasped the fundamentals of the game, but our sessions are still often ala a Comedy of Errors. Our game last night was, as usual, off the wall, to say the least. I’m giving snippets of what happened and I swear I am not making any of it up. The picture of the final board is at the bottom as proof.

Sometime in the game:

Lesley-Anne puts ’GENE’.
Andre does silly Arabian Nights dance.
Lesley-Anne (exasperated): “It’s GENE, not GENIE lah, silly!”

Later on in the game:

Andre: “Is ‘DALT’ a word?”
Me: “No. Put what you know.”
Andre: “How about ‘YALT?’”
Kenneth and Me: “PUT WHAT YOU KNOW!”
Andre: “Ok, then ‘AT’.”
Me: “Aiyah, longer word can or not??”
Andre (whining): “I want to put ‘PRAY’ but the ‘A’ is there, then the word at the bottom will be ‘IYHEROIN’.”
Me: “For heaven’s sake!!”

Even further on in the game:

Lesley-Anne puts ‘KIN’.
Lesley-Anne (to Andre): “Do you know what’s KIN?”
Andre: “I know, like in KING KONG!”
Me (slaps forehead): !!!!!!!!!!!

Finally nearing the end:

Me (to Andre, trying to help speed up the game): “Let me give you a hint. You have a ‘U’ and ‘A’. You can use the ‘Q’ here to put ‘QUA_’?” (I peeked and saw that he had a ‘D’ and a ‘Y’).
Andre: “Mmm... 'QUAT'? Wait, I don’t have a ‘T’.”
Me: “No such word! What else?”
Andre: “QUACK?”
Me (glaring at Kenneth who has begun to laugh helplessly): “Using what you have!!”
Andre: “I don’t know! 'QUAY'? (pronounces ‘kueh’)”
Lesley-Anne (losing patience): “QUAY lah! Like “Collyer Quay” in the National Day song we sing!”
Andre: “Hah?”

After an eternity, game ends.

Andre: “ALAMAK! How come I’m last again? Not fair.”


Lilian said...

Wah, your Scrabble board bought from Disneyland ah?

Good idea not to make it all competitive. I should try that later. Right now, Sean can't get involved. And Brian gets trashed by me and beaten by his dad (noticed I described his loss differently hehe).

Did Andre actually say "Alamak"...that is sooooo Kenneth!

Alcovelet said...

Your post is so funny, it just left me in stitches!! Whatever it is, your family sure has fun! Years from now, you guys will look back with such happy memories, sigh.

monlim said...

Lilian, bought from regular shop - this is the disney scrabble version. not fair to beat little kids leh, try non-competitive! and yes, he really did say Alamak!

Alcove, yes it can be exasperating but I'm sure we'll all look back and have a good laugh.. playing games together definitely makes for good family time!

bACk in GERMANY said...

I confess I'm a scrabble-inept. Andre, I know how that feels...

I just can't understand how my husband can get so many points by making words like "ka".
He always manages to squeeze words in everywhere with just a couple of consonants. When I play with him, it's no longer a game of words... it becomes a game of mathematics and strategies. I've long given up playing with him...

Ok Lilian, we get it. You must ALWAYS win! :p

monlim said...

yes, scrabble is a strategic game, not about words at all! that's why we gotta change the rules at home - no strange words like 'edh' or 'zo' :D

Lilian said...

Cindy: You should link Alan up with Monica in Scrabulous. Monica is Queen of Scrabble, she trashes me all the time. I mean, TRASHES, and I mean ALL THE TIME. She's ruthless.

monlim said...

Highly exaggerated... and btw, no more Scrabulous, kenah pulled out already. Now it's the official Scrabble version but not half as user-friendly.

bACk in GERMANY said...

He says... no more online scrabble...
Psst, don't tell him I say this.
If you wanna beat a man, you must do it in a live game, in real time, otherwise... you can't imagine what kind of excuses he can come up with when the scores don't work his way.

Remember, everyone likes to win! ;)

Alcovelet said...

Wei, Cindy, you have epiphanies coming out of your armpits these days, haha! But I love Scrabble, and I LURVE to win, yeah! Ok, show me someone who loves to lose!! One of these days when you're all back, Monica will have to provide that Disney board for a showdown!!

monlim said...

haha, I would love to do that! imagine 4 grown women hunched over a disney board going, "I CHALLENGE!"

monlim said...

Alcove, do u have a FB account? we can play online!

Alcovelet said...

Hi Monica, I have FB but rarely visit. I'm trying to keep from spending too much time on the computer, as you can tell, hahaha! But yeah sure.

monlim said...

what's yr user name? or u can look for me - Monica Lim.

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