Mahjong is a game played with 144 tiles organized with images of flowers, balls, sticks, numbers, and characters on them. It was originally discovered in China and has spread throughout Asia including the Philippines. My mother’s side is Filipino and they brought their knowledge of Filipino Mahjong when they immigrated to America. I've seen my grandma and aunts play this game often when I visit in Elmhurst, Queens. Ever since I was a child, I would watch them all shuffle the tiles on the "mahjong table" and immediately begin strategizing. They would organize their 16 tiles while chatting or eating. Eventually, I learned how to play this game although I can’t seem to beat my grandma who’s the reigning champion over all of us. Whenever my grandma calls her daughters over, she always offers to play Mahjong with them. This game brings the family together at my grandma’s house and keeps her entertained and mind active. Rather than sit in front of the t.v. or stare at our phones, all the cousins, aunts, and uncles take turns playing this game. It gets really exciting especially when someone gets a “kang” or says they’re already “waiting” (waiting for the last tile to win) after the first 10 minutes. Even though this game may not have originated in the Philippines, it is a significant to my family’s integration into America as well as a tool to bridge the family together.
– Michelle Rangel