Have you heard of the tile game mahjong? I associate the word mahjong with the following: childhood and teenage years, my mother, addiction and relatives and Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. How about you? If you are not going out, I suggest play mahjong to celebrate your New Year's eve.
A Mahjong Set
I learned this tile game when I was a child. It is mostly a game of luck, once you learned the basics of the game. This tile game is similar to the card game, gin rummy, but played with tiles. It is a game that most Filipina housewives are addicted to. I am sure if you reside in the Philippines or Hongkong, this game must be very familiar to you. You may be even addicted to it.
My mother taught me as well as my brothers and sisters how to play mahjong when we were growing up in the Philippines. We have two mahjong sets in the house. The cheap one was made of plastic which we used quite often and the expensive one made of ivory. The one made of ivory, we only used on special occasion when we celebrate birthdays, weddings and other special events when I was growing up in the Philippines.
According to my mother, I started playing mahjong very well when I was only 5 years old. It is a game of luck with a little skill involve once you learn the basics. I also learned how to play a card game called "Pangingue" in the Philippines, probably similar to pinochle, but different from gin rummy. Mahjong can be played on line or you can buy a disk and play it in your computer.
I have a disk (Hongkong mahjong) in my computer, but it has been a while since I played this game. Mahjong like any gambling game is very addictive. I have heard that a close relatives in the Philippines died of tuberculosis(TV) because he played mahjong almost all day and do nothing else. Unbelievable,if this is true.
Mahjong rules and specifics varies from region to region in the Philippines, but it is still a favorite past time of the middle class in the Philippines. A lot of Filipina housewives are addicted to mahjong. Besides mahjong there are two card games popular in Marinduque and other parts of the Philippines are PIKWA and TONG-IT. A number of housewives in my neighborhood in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque play Tong-it every afternoon, both for recreation and a little gambling activity. We play Tong-it during a party break as a family game but no betting involved, when we are in Marinduque.
For rules and instruction how to play Mahjong read Wikipedia or ask a friend or relative for a demonstration. Once you learned the game, be careful it could be very, very addictive. But again, it is an excellent way to get rid of your boredom and the long, long hot summer in the Philippines. Here's a summary of the game from Wikipedia.org
"Mahjong, also spelled majiang, mah jongg, and numerous other variants, is a game that originated in China. It is commonly played by four players (with some three-player variations found in South Korea and Japan). The game and its regional variants are widely played throughout Eastern and South Eastern Asia and have a small following in Western countries. Similar to the Western card game rummy, mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, and calculation and involves a degree of chance.
The game is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, although some regional variations use a different number of tiles. In most variations, each player begins by receiving 13 tiles.(In Iloilo we used 16 tiles) In turn players draw and discard tiles until they complete a legal hand using the 14th drawn tile to form four groups (melds) and a pair (head). There are fairly standard rules about how a piece is drawn, stolen from another player and thus melded, the use of simples (numbered tiles) and honors (winds and dragons), the kinds of melds, and the order of dealing and play. However there are many regional variations in the rules; in addition, the scoring system and the minimum hand necessary to win varies significantly based on the local rules being used".
So my dear friends and relatives, if you have nothing else to do this new year why not play mahjong?
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