Trainer Edwin Phua showing beginners how to score
Mahjong is predominantly regarded as a gambling activity or a game associated with old retirees with too much time on their hands. It was banned from being played in public places in Singapore. Imagine my excitement when I saw this mahjong practice session listed as one of the courses in the newly launched mobile portal OurCommunity.sg.
To promote mental wellness, the People's Association has launched workshops on brain-stimulating games such as Mahjong.
Without hesitation, I signed up. 20 participants ranging from a young undergraduate to retirees signed up for a mahjong session on a Sunday afternoon. We quickly introduced ourselves and formed tables of four according to our skill levels. I was placed with the beginners.
My almost completed tiles at the end of the practice session, a mahjong kaki counting my 'tai'
I think I played well for a beginner :P
Before long, I was playing with certainty and confidence and enjoying this game of skill and luck after some coaching from the trainer, Edwin Phua. I am excited at the thought of matching my skills against good players. :)
Edwin was one of the 200 plus contestants from all over the world who participated in World Mahjong Championship 2010, where contestants battle in skill and endurance during three days of playing mahjong at the highest level in the Netherlands.
Mahjong tiles for non-Chinese players
Edwin shows that mahjong is a game of skill played across an entire spectrum from students to expatriates and can be played with the same enthusiasm and competitive spirit as any other games.
His mahjong workshops were started in January 2010 and to date, more than 200 people have attend them. His patience and passion for the game has earned him followers who regularly join him at various community centres located all over Singapore.
Playing the local variant (Singapore Style), participants get to meet fellow mahjong enthusiasts and make some new friends in the process. Edwin hopes to see serious participation in mahjong as a mental sport and eventually organize mahjong tournaments in Singapore.
Participants enjoying this game of skill and luck
Recent studies in Hong Kong show mahjong helps improve the memory, judgment and reasoning of people with mild to moderate dementia. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, which gradually destroys brain cells and leads to progressive decline in mental function.
It is important to have things to do and look forward to as old age approaches. Playing mahjong is a great way of socialising and, at the same time, giving the brain a workout.
Warning: you may become hooked!:P
I proudly declare, “I play mahjong.”
Toa Payoh Central Community Club
93 Toa Payoh Central
Phone : 6252 1249
Fax : 6354 4950
Mahjong courses by Edwin Phua
A game easy to learn, but difficult to master, mahjong is mentally demanding, involving quick strategising and decision-making.
Fun Mental Sport - Mahjong (Beginner)
This workshop will introduce beginners to the basics of playing mahjong, acquainting you with the game equipment, flow of the game, etiquette, and playing tips.
Fun Mental Sport - Mahjong (Practice)
This workshop allows participants to revise and practise mahjong after having learnt the basics in previous mahjong courses. Participants will play with each other, with guidance from the instructor. Where appropriate, strategies for better offensive and defensive play will be taught.
Destress With Mahjong- Singapore Style (Intermediate)
S$18(M) S$24 (NM)
Although mahjong originated in China, it has spread all over the world, and many local variants have developed. Singapore is no exception and boasts its own unique version of mahjong! This workshop will introduce beginners to the generally accepted core rules and scoring system of the Singapore variant of mahjong, and some basic strategies and playing tips specific for this variant would be taught.
Check out OurCommunity.sg for Edwin's courses.