A lot of research and medical journals claim that playing the ancient Chinese game of mahjong has lots of benefits. Some study shows that this cognitive game that requires sharp memory, notable strategic planning ability, brilliant attention and robust skill in mathematical computation prevents the development of dementia and could even amplify various cognitive measures. It makes you quick-witted, sharp-witted and not dim-witted.
Definitely, mahjong is considered one great social channel for its players (though they consider other players as their opponents) to bond ties among each other as well as the ‘mirons’ (onlookers) who just watch it. It’s a game in which the players’ interrelationships would closely bind which leads to feelings of positive social belongingness and well being.
I consider myself and my siblings to belong to the above average intelligence scale but I cannot remember the time I and my siblings were assisted by Nengkoy to study for a school exam or finish a school-required-homework. However, my memory never fails me to recall the days when Nengkoy would tag us along in her mahjong sessions at the houses of her amigas and compadres in Sta. Ana, Makati during our childhood days.
I clearly remember those days when I would not play with the sons and daughters of her ‘mahjong-mates’. But I would prefer just sitting beside her at one corner of the mahjong table and watch how she do various tactics and strategies among those engraved marble mahjong tiles on the table. And when every time she or an opponent declares ‘todas’ (a win) I would gladly assist her in shuffling and rearranging those tiles to re-start a new game.
At present day, Nengkoy’s amigas may seldom or no longer play it anymore but Nengkoy still does. She now plays it with us, her children and grandchildren. Hilarious yet brain-challenging mahjong games played by the family up to these present days in the house of Nengkoy in Pasay kept the family sane and insane!
I belong to the Romasanta-Langit family and every one of us knows how to play mahjong. It is one of the common flairs that we have. A specimen who claims to belong to the Romasanta-Langit family is a sham if he or she doesn’t know how to play this ancient game.
I and my siblings’ intellectual aptitudes and social acumen may be attributed to our innate genetics but this has been enhanced and honed by Nengkoy’s influences. And one of these great influences is our knowledge and ability to play mahjong. Thanks to Nengkoy, the “diva majongera” who is celebrating her 74th birthday today, for the unconventional way of sharpening our wit.
Happy Birthday Nanay! Todas! Ol ap, syete pares. Bipor da pip. No plawer, no dyoker…