The digital reincarnation of a national bestseller by KIT LEEE (now known as ANTARES)

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Mahjong Junkie

Click clack. Click clack. Pong! Chong! That's music to any Mahjong Junkie's ears. Every Lunar New Year 90% of the Chinese population on Earth turn into Mahjong Junkies - at least for a couple of weeks. The rest of the year the number drops to 50% or thereabouts.

Some play bridge, some play poker, some prefer gin rummy, Monopoly and Scrabble. the Chinese have their mahjong; and since there are so many Chinese everywhere, the game has become internationally known. Still, you have to be Chinese to fully enjoy a week-long marathon session - complete with brandy, melon seeds, Chinese tea, Bensons, Dunhills, and charsiew pau (barbecued pork dumplings). Not to mention the loud, high-pitched voices raised in typical mahjong patter (you see, the Chinese believe that Noise equals Festivity). For a very large segment of Chinese, mahjong constitutes the only form of relaxation they allow themselves - apart from listening to soap serials on Rediffusion's wired broadcast service and counting money. But in recent years a new breed of Chinese existentialist has surfaced in snooker parlours throughout the country. Perhaps they find mahjong too jolly and gregarious for their taste. Tock! Click-clack-clock-click... chock! Now that's music to a Snooker Junkie's ears.

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