Are You Ready for the War of Four Walls?

POSTED ON FEBRUARY 18, 2019 BY KATY CHOW

Where there are Chinese, there is mahjong. Mahjong has been one of the biggest entertainment in the Chinese community for centuries. From gambling and gossiping to business matters, mahjong can always gather people around.

With its rectangular shape and arrangement during the play, mahjong is often being described as ‘war of the four walls’ (大戰四方城). To win the war, undoubtedly luck is important in a mahjong play. Yet, the more essential factor to win would be the strategies used.

As quoted in the Hong Kong movie Fat Choi Spirit (2002), “the worse the cards you get, the more effort you have to put into the play.” Mahjong is in fact a complicated mind game, requiring players to think and make decisions under pressure within a short moment.

Although mahjong is often seen as a gambling tool, the quintessence has its own features to attract the billions of Chinese since the Qing dynasty. Other than being a festive creator for providing entertainment and building up vigorous atmosphere, especially in weddings and Lunar New Year, mahjong is also a brain-booster. Listed as a global intellectual sport by The International Mind Sports Association many scholars found out that mahjong can prevent the Alzheimer’s disease as it could train up the players’ thinking skills, memory, as well as the flexibility of their hands. A high concentration is needed during the long period of game to keep the players’ mindset clear.

Alongside with the improvement in technologies, the traditional card game is becoming digitalized in recent years, with phone apps and different online platforms. The convenience of technology pushes mahjong into a higher level of common usage, which people can play anytime anywhere they want. And the good thing is, since mahjong requires four people to start the game, the situation of ‘three-miss-one’ (三缺一) won’t be happening as the computer can be your opponents.

The player interface of one of the mahjong phone apps.
Source: Google

A two-month exhibition about mahjong is currently launched in PMQ. Organized by the HK Room, the history and development of mahjong will be introduced, as well as showcasing various creative handcraft artworks and souvenirs on the theme of mahjong such as garments, candies, bags, etc. These displays are all created by the local designing brand – Glocal Mahjong, who hopes to look at mahjong in another angle so as to attract more people to appreciate the traditional mahjong.

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The details of Glocal Mahjong Exhibition are as follows:
Venue: S414, PMQ
Date: 10 January, 2019 – 12 March, 2019
Time: 1pm-8pm

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