Culture

Feng Shui

In the west, feng shui may be seen as little more than a trendy fad but in China this ancient art is taken very seriously. Although Hong Kong is a modern, commercial city, it still pays great heed to this time honoured tradition.

The term feng shui in Mandarin (fung shui in Cantonese) is translated as “wind-water”. However, this ancient Chinese philosophy of how to live in harmony with nature taps into more than just these two elements. Experts claim that the relationship between wood, fire, earth and even gold have to be taken into account and balanced to obtain the optimum result, which is harmony in all areas of one’s life. Believers are convinced that good fortune, balance and happiness are not determined by chance but by correct feng shui.

Mahjong

Hong Kong’s favourite game and national pastime traces its origins as far back as 2350 BC, although some say that it was only invented by Confucius in 500BC. It is usually played by four people (although two, three or five may play), with 144 tiles, and these tiles fall into four categories: suits, honor tiles, flowers and seasons. For the Chinese, Mahjong is a way of life. The game is played at home, in private clubs and even at wedding banquets and birthdays. Mahjong is an integral part of Hong Kong’s social activity and provides not only an occasion to entertain friends, but also to celebrate or even to cultivate business clients.

The game is as complex as bridge in terms of explaining the rules, but there are two certainties: the game will last a long time with many rounds over several hours, and as much noise as possible will be made clattering the tiles around the table.

Whether a beginner or advanced player, if you would like to know more about the game or to learn how to play, the following organisations run courses:

American Women’s Association of Hong Kong
C-7 Monticello
48 Kennedy Road
Mid Levels
Tel: +852 2527 2961

YWCA
English Speaking Members Department
3/F 1 Macdonnell Road
Mid Levels
Tel: +852 3476 1340