[sytycb 01] HUAT AH!

July 12, 2011 § 9 Comments

Course #1: Mahjong  // Jul ’11

Every Chinese New Year, my family heads back to my dad’s old kampung. After a day’s lo hei and steamboat stickiness, the cool of the night brings with it the one thing that remains constant year after year – the clacking of mahjong tiles against one another, my mother and aunties laughing in between the “Pong!”, and “Hu!”

My dad’s never been keen on my sister or I learning mahjong, so it was quite priceless to see his face when I told him I was going for a government-sponsored mahjong class (courtesy of OurCommunity.sg ). Of course, that mirth lasted only as long as my first game.

Turns out, I have a long way to go before I become Wong Fei Hong of mahjong. I seriously had a headache 1/2 hour into the practice session. Tip of the week: Don’t geh-kiang. Go for the beginner classes or learn the basics from your friend. Don’t dive straight into practice sessions.

By the time my mind absorbed the variations and combinations of qing yi se, hun yi se, peng peng hu, ji hu, ping hu, the different “winds” that you had to be, the number of dice throws to determine the dealer, the anti-clockwise counting of people, the clockwise counting of tiles, the different dai that determined how much you’ve won when you gamed (there are 2 different tiers of payment, depending on if you were the fool that gave away the winning tile), which flower tiles gave you a level up, which animal tiles paired with which…………….let’s just say, at the end of 3 hours of non-stop play, you could tell me the sun rose from the west and I would nod along most enthusiastically.

Shared the beginner’s table with 3 other ladies – Joyce (in denim), Ann (in yellow) & Jayne (another blogger in this OurCommunity challenge), who were terribly nice. And patient, especially when I’d accidentally say “Gao Sok (9 bamboo)” when it was actually “Gao Tong (9 circle)”.

As I was playing, I was wonderingwhy the “houses” / “suits” were Bamboo, Circle & Wan (or Character).Found out they’re called “money suits” as they stem from the ancient currency that was used. More info at where else but wikipedia.

There are also a hell lot of playing styles. There’s the Singapore style of course, then Malaysian and Hongkong, but there’s also the international style, and various Japanese styles – one of which is Richi, a style that our trainer Edwin Phua likes as it’s a more defensive way of playing and has a different scoring system. I’d trust him. The guy’s been playing for over 20 years. On a random side note, he just graduated in biology research or something to that effect. Intriguing. He also doesn’t usually play for money; he plays for the challenge of the strategy.

Ahhh, the day I can say that too – that I’m playing for the love of the game, because I’m a master of it and enjoy it in its purest form. One day, ten thousand dragon years later, I’m sure I’ll get there. Until then, I’ll be contented with having been introduced to this game that’s tied centuries back into our history, and thus can say (in the words of a friend) that I’m “finally a proper Chinese girl”.

Nabs who’s also in the SYTYCB challenge, went for Boxercise & a Make-up course. She has a particularly kick-ass photo for Boxercise. Go see leh.

Jayne, who was with me in the mahjong class, has the dates of all the upcoming classes. While I unfortunately didn’t manage to snap any photos of her or myself, she has one where I look majorly spaced out. That is pictorial evidence of how hard my head was hurting, even though I swear I was having fun learning.

Ah.  I guess I should say each comment here earns me one point closer to an iPad2, so thanks if you do decide to comment!


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§ 9 Responses to [sytycb 01] HUAT AH!

  • boo says:

    I never knew CCs had mahjong classes!!! Amazing! I need some classes now!

  • Ling says:

    I seriously doubt I can play mahjong in my lifetime! Lol. Sounds complicated so good on u for trying! :). Now, if only they had classes on how to make terrariums & sew bags. My sort of thing! Haha!

  • nabbycat says:

    I can’t believe I actually considered going for this class…I would have died!! Hahah…but looks like fun sherms! can you teach me? 🙂

  • Euphemia says:

    I’m a 101% firm believer of the Community Center and it’s amazing stuff it has provided. (:

  • Jonathon Lee says:

    I actually know some of the rules of the usual (singaporean??) way of playing Mahjong.. but it was very intriguing to know the reasons behind the names of the tiles in Mahjong. It’s heartening to know they offered such a complete (and intensive) workshop on such a widely loved game. One could just walk in there, and 3 hours later they’d be equipped with the knowledge to have a fun session of Mahjong with their friends and family. wonderful!

  • s. says:

    everyday you’re shufflin.

  • […] also support my friend Sherms, who went for a super cool mahjong class last week! Who knew that the PA offered mahjong […]

  • Edwin Phua says:

    I am the mahjong trainer, and I do apologise to Shermeen for putting her through the trauma! I hope you had fun anyway!

    The practice class you attended is actually supposed to be quite unstructured! The main aim is for everyone to just play/practise and have fun. But I do usually require the participants to have some form of background (preferably having gone through my beginners’ and/or intermediate courses) so that players can be easily grouped according to their skill level and experience (for example, beginners with beginners). It would also allow me to teach new things or give tips accordingly.

    Interested people, do check out the beginners’ (“Fun Mental Sport — Mahjong”) or intermediate courses (Destress with Mahjong — Singapore Style”) that I offer.

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