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Archive for September 3rd, 2012

written by IpohBornKid

Introduction:  Strategies to win big in the mah-jong game depends on your ability to game “big”.

Some examples are illustrated below:

In my first two years at the NSW University, I ran into a group of Ipoh boys who were educated in Yuk Choy High School, Ipoh, and later in Taiwanese Universities.  Most of them were engineering graduates from Taiwan and were doing Master of Engineering degrees at UNSW. They lived in Meeks Street, Kingsford, and less than 1 Km from the university campus.  Their favourite week-end past time was mah-jong and I became one of their group.  Half of them have returned to Malaysia as Engineers in the late 1960s whilst the other half remained in Australia.

I studied mah-jong intensely under the mentorship of CK Wong, a Yuk Choy student, Taiwan graduate and later a Ph D (UNSW) .  Dr Wong was the residential expert of the group and was dubbed the Professor of Mah-jong.  During my undergraduate days, I studied mah-jong intensely under the mentorship of Dr Wong.  As my initial skills and experiences were based on the “poc” game or 4seasons (heron rounds), I was later instructed in the art of playing the 16 rounds game.  There were no limit to the chips and when your chips were exhausted, you could borrow or buy from the player with the most chips.

The strategies employed for the 16 rounds game is significantly different from the 4 rounds game.  In the 16 rounds game, you have to “game big” because what you lose in small “farn” games, you can win back all and the rest if you make it big.  The maximum payout is 3,000/6,000 for a moon wu.  Here, the player who discards the card which causes another player to game pays double.  This 16 rounds game requires vigilance, memory retention of who discarded which cards, cunningness, and the employment of Sun Zhi Art of War.  There is no mercy and each player expects the other 3 to “die” (lose).

There were many stories told during mah-jong sessions and most of them were bs , However I recalled two stories vividly regarding the relationship between China and Taiwan.  Firstly, as student in Taiwan, they regularly read the Taiwanese newspaper which often prints stories about re-occupying Chinese territories from the PRC.  Each week is a different territory.  After 4 years of study in Taiwan, they said that the newspaper would have covered all the Chinese provinces that the KMT claimed to have re-occupied.  LOL.  Secondly, there was also an intense humours rivalry between them, even in mah-jong.  The illustration below showed the dry humour:

I am grateful to Dr Wong for his mentorship and supervision of my Mah-jong Degree in Sydney.  There is one adverse effect of this skill, that is, you will not enjoy playing mah-jong with the less skilled player, or you just take their money as tuition fees.

Believe it or Not:  The 4 of us, lived in the same flat.  On Sunday evening after dinner, we played mah-jong overnight and after a short rest at 5:00 am followed by breakfast at 8:00 am, we walked to the University on Monday morning to sit for the 9:30 am examination.   All the 4 of us (2 from Ipoh, 1fron KL, & 1 from Bukit Mertajam) who did this, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and 2 with Honours.  In retrospect, playing mah-jong is better than gambling, ie. chasing horses, playing poker or chasing women.  In short, we worked hard and played even harder.  Our parents had no knowledge of this.

Part 01 ~ The Mah-jong Game of the 1950s

written by IpohBornKid

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