Let’s gamble, mommy

First a sermon. Football is a sport but it can also be a form of gambling. The picture above is not about gambling but a game requiring sharp wits, good mathematics, extreme cunning mind plus being a good actor/actress. It also enhances social skills, good manners and discipline. I do NOT condone gambling because my religion forbids gambling. God gives everything so I do not need to buy lottery to be rich. I do not dabble in shares and stocks because I believe God provides. And those people who were chopped into 13 pcs by Ah Longs due to gambling debts deserved it.

However, one skill that I am extremely proud that my sons (from as young as 7 years old) possess is the ability to play mahjong and card games like rummy, blackjack etc. Uno is boring. Gin rummy (or rather ‘si’ rummy) is cool. Uno stacko is for dull people. Hip and happening people play mahjong. While people send their kids to Kumon to learn algebra, trigonometery (dang, I can’t even spell it right because I don’t what it is), we teach our kids what is pong, kong, 1 dragon and how to calculate the ‘huan’ of the mahjong.

Ask around – I can bet that not many people have the brains to learn mahjong. But my kids play so damn well with their uncles and adult cousins. Anyone who knows the game know that it is very hard to remember all the different tiles and also the Mandarin word (which my kids do not know). During game play, the kids have to be disciplined and act cool without showing their childish behaviours. We often have family games, especially during holidays and Chinese New Years. As a family, we love the game so much, we have 3 sets of mahjong and one set of tiled card games. These aren’t cheap and costs more than MYR200 per set. Some of them were bought from our trips to HK.

The mahjong craze went back almost 18 years ago when an insurance salesman brought a SYT back to his rented apartment on their first date and had a one night stand (playing mahjong). Salesman taught SYT mahjong and they fell in love and live happily ever after. They also produced many, many sons who eventually mastered mahjong by the age of 6-7 years old. However, hopefully the sons do not become insurance salesmen and pick up SYTs with the same modus operandi.

So, parents out there, want your children to have the cunning mind of a Chinese? Teach them mahjong and other card games. Enforce ‘Tak Nak’ to these and they may end up 13 pieces due to the tempations of doing some forbidden. Instead, if they know what is 13 ‘eaw’ (not sure what this is called in English but it is one of the highest score in mahjong), they learnt patience, respect, sportsmanship, self-restraint and oh, so many good points that I can’t think of right now .

Once again, gambling is bad. Gaming is good.

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