What I Learnt from Playing Mahjong

Mahjong is a fun and popular game, enjoyed by many people in Asia especially during Chinese New Year. This CNY, Mahjong has opened up a different perspective for me. Beneath these 144 tiles I learnt a deep philosophy, reflecting on my forex’s conundrums.

Mao Zedong once said Mahjong should not be underestimated – because “if you know how to play it, you’ll have a better understanding of the relationship between chance and necessity

People who don’t understand the complex rules of Mahjong will find this game time wasting or even to the extent of bad habit (gambling), people who understand Mahjong display their skill, strategies, patience on the table.

Here’s what I have learnt:Funny Angry Mahjong Kid

1. Don’t worry about bad opening tiles
You can’t control what tiles to get, but you can control how you well you play the game. You may not have good opening tiles, but with experience, skill and strategies, you may still end up winning or not losing. A good player read his opponents well, monitor their moves, plan his moves and act accordingly to his strategy. Discipline and stay clear-minded is the key. Now that I understand “you can’t control the Forex Market, but you can control your system/strategy”.


2. Pay “school fees”
If you have no or little experience in Mahjong, prepare to pay “school fees” to learn priceless real-time lessons. Books or online search will not teach you the necessary strategies or skills to tackle your opponents on the table but just some basic know-how knowledge. The best way to learn-learn from the experienced players or mentors. In forex, we always say “A Minute to Learn, A Lifetime to Master”.


3. It’s just a tile
To beginners, Mahjong is probably just a stack of tiles In Mahjong, you take 1 tile and discard another, only to realise you shouldn’t have. But to experienced players, discarding a supposedly “important” tile could strategize his winning hand later. Ditto in forex trading, you are faced with good and bad trades. But still, many of you continue to hold on to bad trades for fear of losing, hoping that by waiting for the market to turn in your favour, you can recover your losses.

One of the sage advices “Cut your losses short and let your winners run. It is vital to know when to cut your losses. When you do, you keep your losses small which in turn allow you to continue next profitable trade.

Like Marie Kondo’s life changing inspired organising, “Discard everything that does not spark joy”. Tell yourself, “It’s just a tile,” and if it doesn’t do anything for you, just toss it.

Sometimes, cutting losses is winning.


 4. Have fungfycat

Much like Mahjong itself, Forex can be light-hearted or stressful, depending on your attitude and emotions.  Let’s face the fact that no one likes to lose money but when you do, you start to feel angry and discouraged. If you play Mahjong as a game or entertainment or get-together with friends, winning or losing is not the priority, rather enjoying and having fun during the game is more important. Enjoying the game can help you through the rough times.


5. Game or Gamble
More frequently, money is involved in Mahjong, similarly in Forex. Some are big players (few thousand dollars per hand), some are small players (few dollars), depending on players’ affordability which are set down before the game. Play with money you can afford to lose and not with “borrowed” money, otherwise the GAME is easily turned into GAMBLE.

*Gambling is bad for your health and pocket


6. Staying in the game
On the Mahjong table, there will always be a change of “wind”, “feng”, 风. A complete round ends when East, South, West, North respectively. Money is not the priority but it is crucial to have some to continue the game. Similarly, in forex, it is not how much you can win in a single trade but how long you can stay in the Forex Market.

Learning Lasts A Lifetime

There is no single formula for success for trading in the financial markets, likewise on the Mahjong table.  It requires proper knowledge, know-how, skills, strategies, experience and most importantly patience.



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