Know Mahjong game? You know, the game that Rachel Chu played with her mother Nick Young in the movie Crazy Rich Asians. This game, which is sometimes called Mahjong, originates from China and has become a distinctive culture for the people there.
Recently, a US company called The Mangjong Line released a “fresher and modern version” of Mahjong that no one asked for.
The modified version of the traditional game is clearly under fire. Why change a game that is not from their own country to a “better” version?
This act is arguably hurting native Chinese culture, by considering it not good enough for people who don’t come from China. Doesn’t it make sense to revise the culture of other people’s countries?
History of Mahjong
Mahjong is thought to have been created since the 10th century, some say this game existed in the mid-1800s. What is clear, this game with 144 tiles originated in China and only entered the United States in the 1920s.
The game was a huge success in Uncle Sam’s land. Because the game of Mahjong was not easy, a simpler American version of the rules appeared in 1935. From here came the term “American Mahjong” which was actually a derivative of the original Mahjong. There are an additional eight Joker tiles not present in the original game.
What did The Mahjong Line do
The Dallas-based company founded by three women offered a “refreshed” version of Mahjong because one of the founders felt traditional Mahjong was not as exciting (this was on their website statement, but has been removed since the controversy).
The way they made Mahjong better (for them) was by changing the colors of the tiles to be more aesthetic (pink, green, and blue), creating their own variety of tiles (replacing some of the Chinese characters with pictures of modern plants and other ornaments).
They sell it for 325-425 USD even though the normal price of classic games is around 30-100 USD.
Why is this action so wrong?
First, the revised version to embellish Mahjong was done by Americans. In fact, it is China that has a culture. With the statement that “Mahjong is less fun and does not represent their style”, is tantamount to vilifying the original culture that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Mahjong is not just a game, but a culture and a part of many people’s lives. These classic tiles have been ingrained in childhood memories and are a beauty in themselves. There’s no need to disrupt a culture that has become a sentimental side for many people, right?
Second, the founders of The Mahjong Line said that their goal was purely to share the love for American Mahjong which contains a lot of history in that country. Remember, American Mahjong is just a variant derived from Chinese Mahjong. Changing American Mahjong means changing Chinese Mahjong as well and they have no right to do that.
Third, Mahjong doesn’t need to be beautified. This game, played by four people, has been designed in such a way as to make it easier for players to know what kind of tile they are holding. The classic style is so common that it’s easy to remember. Plus, it has its own texture so we can know what tile we picked up without looking at it.
When viewed from the design of The Mahjong Line, there are three series, each of which has a different pattern. This will be difficult for novice players and really hard to remember.
Times change. Some games do experience changes to suit the times. However, the adjustment does not mean eliminating the original culture and considering that culture needs improvement. America, stop colonizing other countries cultures.
If you are curious and want to try playing Mahjong, download it on the Google Store. There are many types of Mahjong games to choose from. Even now there are also sites that provide this game with interesting and profitable features.
For how to play, you can see articles on the internet that discuss cara bermain Mahjong and tips on how to win the game.