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[College of Management] Exploring Hong Kong Culture Through Movies - Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng - English Corner


【Management College Presents: A Tabletop Swim ! The Chinese Quintessence Mahjong for Intelligence Training - English Corner】

The English Corner of the College of Management organized its first exchange activity of the semester on March 8th — “A Tabletop Swim ! The Chinese Quintessence Mahjong for Intelligence Training”, inviting Mr. Chen Chaozhou from the Chinese Language Center to lead a session on playing Mahjong in English. Mahjong is a common game among the Taiwanese populace, often used for entertainment or gambling, especially during significant festivals such as the Lunar New Year. There are various ways to play Mahjong in different countries and regions, with the primary method in Taiwan known as “Taiwan Mahjong”, or the sixteen-tile Mahjong.

Mr. Chen began with a simple introduction in English to the rules of Mahjong, where a set consists of 144 tiles. The game starts with the roll of dice to determine the dealer, who then leads the players in taking turns to draw four tiles clockwise, doing so four times until each player has sixteen tiles. The dealer then draws an extra tile, a move colloquially known as “break the wall’. The game proceeds with the dealer discarding the first tile, followed by each player taking turns to draw from the wall and discard, aiming to form five ‘sets’ (each ‘set’ comprising three tiles) plus a pair of ‘eyes’ (two identical tiles), to complete a winning hand. Throughout the explanation, Mr. Chen taught Mahjong-related English vocabulary, such as ‘Shuffling’ for mixing the tiles, ‘Legal Hand’ for a valid set, and ‘Self-drawing the winning tile’ for winning by drawing a tile oneself.

Moreover, Mr. Chen shared life philosophies through Mahjong. He pointed out that the essence of Mahjong goes beyond rules, truly understanding Mahjong means navigating through the rules. An English proverb, ‘You are what you eat’, implies that our diet reflects on our body and appearance; similarly, ‘You are what you PLAY’ reflects one's nature through their approach to playing Mahjong. Mr. Chen also cited an interview video with famous actress Julia Roberts, succinctly explaining Mahjong as ‘To create order out of chaos based on random drawing of tiles’, paralleling life itself.

Although Mahjong is commonly associated with gambling, as a game, it encompasses skill, strategy, and calculation, serving as an effective prevention against dementia in the elderly. Through this event, students learned how to introduce Mahjong and its rules in English, along with key Mahjong terminology such as shuffling, legal hand, and self-drawing. Students also discovered the intricacies of Mahjong gameplay after class practice, even more looking forward to sharing the fun of mahjong with foreign friends.

(Written by. Alex Tsui, The Department of Sociology / Proofread by the Media of the College of Management)

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