Cover Art, Mahj Goddess by John Davis, 2020. Digital collage.
From the Editors...
With the publication of this, our sixth issue, we have decided to change our approach to the length of each issue. With the holidays in December and a spate of family birthdays in January, it has taken us until now to finish this latest issue. We also understand that with your busy lives, it is difficult to find large blocks of time to read, and that you might feel regretful that you've never gotten to that article you were planning to read but is now buried deep in your email.

So, to relieve your stress. we will create shorter, more frequent issues, and provide access to all of our back issues.

The Magazine for The Discerning Mah Jongg Player

Current Subscribers: 2,050

We hope you enjoy this electronic magazine as it spotlights all that is fresh, funny, exciting, controversial, and cutting-edge
in the Mahj Nation.

Created by John Davis
Edited by Judith Euen Davis
New Mahj-Art Designs at ZAZZLE
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Karen Cheung (know as artist Karen Aruba)

I' m a self taught artist based in Hong Kong specializing in sketching related to travel and culture themes. 

My grandfather built a mahjong manufacturing factory in Hong Kong in 1963, which became the first of the two biggest factories in old Hong Kong named Fuk Hing Lung Mahjong manufacturing factory. Our story was not shared with the public due to the family running the business, and social media was not popular in the old days. It went through a very tough period and difficult time during 1990s-2009s for my whole family due to economic turmoil and intensive competition with mainland labours. However, it is always my wish and passion to do something to preserve Hong Kong craftsmanship and integrate mahjong into modern art, as part of Hong Kong memory and the family legacy. 

I worked hard in the last two years to share the story and let people understand the value behind mahjong. Mahjong can be a form of art indeed. 

Thanks to the support of the people of Hong Kong, there are few achievements I made in last two years:
- Invited to participate in big design exhibition, DesignInspire 2019 & 2017 in Hong Kong
- Invited by PMQ to conduct first solo art exhibition by illustrating my family mahjong story
- In collaboration with two designers, we developed new 'Travel Mahjong City' products which achieved a number of outstanding design and printing awards in Hong Kong
- Our stories are shared widely in local and English media from a family legacy and creative design and art angle
- Our story is gaining recognition in US via ETSY store. There are more Americans who appreciate and treasure the handcarved mahjong tiles from my dad. Thanks to American ladies, it inspires us to improve and do more creative work!


 Key visual of ‘Travelling with Mahojng Art Exhibition’, a travel journey to show how an artist combines her family legacy & Hong Kong craftsmanship, and integrates traditional hand-carved mahjong tile making skills into creative art and modern design. 

 An overview of the exhibition at Youth Square – a review of ‘Fuk Hing Lung Mahjong Factory’ from 1963-2009 and modern design in recent years. 
2020 new design: first engraved tile in amazing drawing pattern ‘Year of the Rat’ along with four ‘circle’ tiles hand-carved by Master Cheung 
The only mahjong tiles left manufactured by ‘Fuk Hing Lung Mahjong Factory’ in 2000s. During 1980s, some tile materials were imported from Germany before changing to a local supplier. 

 In the last two years,I put a lot of effort into collecting the lost materials since the factory was closed in 2009. The exhibition displayed the traditional hand-carved mahjong making tools. 

Travelling with Mahojng Art Exhibition

“Open the Table” – Travel Mahjong City around the world. 
“Open the Table” is a board game table transforming into something like a map of the world allowing the whole family to "travel mahjong city" and get to know the landmarks and culture of cities everywhere, or serve as a colourful and exquisite wall decoration that brightens up the day! 
"Open the Table" has just achieved 'The 31st Edition Hong Kong Prints Award' last week: 
- Champion, Digital Print Living Category 
- Merits, Consumer Products Category 

The spirit of the traditional mahjong tile craftsmanship stays alive. Master Cheung retired in 2018 and is now fully engaged with artistic and creative mahjong craftsmanship development inspired by his daughter to preserve Hong Kong culture and stories by promoting to foreigners and American mahjong lovers. 
Master Cheung launches the first new creative mahjong colouring workshop in January and lets the youth experience the fun of colouring tiles. 

Complete set of traditional hand-carved mahjong tiles American version containing interesting patterns JOKERS and DRAGONS, hand-carved by master Ricky Cheung. The special feminine colour delivers a totally new and fresh look to traditional tiles. 

Works as an artist in Hong Kong
Karen writes:

During Chinese new year, I have also illustrated an e-Picture Book quickly with an idea initiated by the writer Marina Matt, hoping to spread good vibes and give caring message to parents / children during this difficult time. We all believe that the society and the world need to spread love and energy to overcome this big challenge. 

 Visit her page to read the entire book:

Visit Karen's ETSY shop at

See Karen Aruba's art at

Editors' Note: With the outbreak of the coronavirus we lend our support to the people of Hong Kong.

‘Travel Mahjong City’ features the distinctive city landscapes in Hong Kong with the first tile hand-carved by craftsman and the illustration drawn by Karen via digital print technology. The design is a very popular one with printing awards achieved including ‘Hong Kong Smart Design Awards – Judge Award 2018’ & 'The 30th Hong Kong Digital Prints Award - Merit'
Available at
New Mahj-Art Designs at ZAZZLE
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Custom made with care; each pair is printed before being sewn, allowing for fun designs on every square inch. You can wear your leggings over and over, and they won't lose their shape. Get comfy and look cool with your own unique pair.
Women's All-Over Print Racerback Tank Top
Bold and expressive, this is the top that really blows all other tank tops out of the water. Printed, cut and then sewn just for you, it allows for a custom all-over-print that other places can't offer. Perfect for dressing up and dressing down, your new favorite tank awaits.
How to Teach Game Strategies Through Talk
John Davis
The objective is to improve players' skills in the following areas:

Choosing a Hand
The Charleston
Reading Exposures
Counting Tiles
Changing Hands


A set of tiles that are large enough to be seen across a table.

This game works well with the easily available Classic Game Collection American Version Mah Jong set.

Four rulers or other straight edges to keep the tiles in line.

A plastic bowl large enough to contain the tiles and deep enough to keep them concealed. During the game, players will pick tiles out o f the bowl.

Four to eight players. Ideally, players work in pairs. The game can be played with four players but more is better since you can make more pairs. Eight players allows for four pairs that can rotate so that everyone gets to work with everyone else, but five, six, or seven players still allows pairs to be formed. More players add more ideas t0 the game.  We had eight players, and it was perfect.

The host sets up four hands (one of which is an East) face down. 

To start, each pair turns over their hand and discusses between themselves possible hands and candidates for the first Charleston pass.


Each pair takes turns telling the group what they decided and why. The other players join in the conversation by asking questions or making suggestions for other possible arrangements until the presenting pair reaches a final decision.

NOTE: After the end of the first round, players put all the tiles back in the bowl and move so that new pairs are formed.
Each pair then selects enough tiles to form a hand and a new East is designated. A new round robin is done.

This rotation/presentation may be continued until the group feels ready to move on to the Charleston.

Depending on the makeup of the group, after a few rounds of sharing you may begin the Charleston.

Pairs make first pass to the right.

After a brief discussion, each pair reports on the results of the pass.
The entire group is welcome to make comments.
The Charleston is completed in the usual fashion.

Before the actual game begins, two players are asked to identify which hand they think has the highest probability of winning by looking at all the exposed hands. They reveal their choice and the group discusses. This is similar to what a bettor does, except that everyone joins the conversation.

East begins the game with the first discard. If the next pair does not call it, one of them randomly chooses a tile from the bowl and places it on the table for the group to see. The pair discusses their options and the other players may make suggestions or ask questions. A tile is discarded, and the game continues in this manner until a pair completes a mahj or a wall game occurs.


There were eight of us (Judith took the picture.) Our group included a national tournament and online game champion, several who compete in local and national tournaments, and others who play in home games. Everyone plays traditional, Siamese, and Royale versions of the American Mah Jongg game.

Many in the group felt that one can only learn so much by playing with better players and that one reaches a plateau. We decided to have a get-together to "talk strategy."

As a former teacher, I couldn't stop myself from designing an activity.
I thought that the best way to make game strategy visible was to remove all competition and create an open learning environment that generated a lot of talk.

Some things we discovered:
  • It was fun.
  • Experienced players were given a chance to share their expertise.
  • Newer players began to question their basic assumptions about the best practices: the "only" and "never" rules about passing in the Charleston, for example.
  • Many players received confirmation that they were already making wise moves.
  • Everyone supported their claims with evidence.
  • It was fun.
  • Essential questions were discussed.
  • When to pass this tile?
  • What could an exposure tell us?
  • Which discard to choose?
  • Are there best passes for each pass on the Charleston?
  • What are the most frequently played hands?

Finally, most players attempted to construct consecutive hands. When given a choice about what to pass, players often gave precedence to tiles in sequence, even in cases where these tiles contributed little to the hand they were building.
Statistics from the online gaming world suggest that that over 50% of the hands played fall into the center section of the NMJL card, with consecutive hands accounting for over 37%.

(As told through her text messages)
Shirley and Ina

Bubbe Ina Feinstein is eighty three years old. She has been playing Mah Jongg for 50 years
 with four other women: Maxine, Estelle, Phyllis, and Roz

Shirely Feinstein-Schneck is her granddaughter.

Can you come over? (Ina)

                                                       What’s Wrong? (Shirley)
I lost a mahj tile.

                                                       A tile? Where?
Under the fridge.

                                                       Get a ruler or something.

I can’t. Maxine’s in the way.

                                                       How’s that?

Her necklace got caught
when she went after the tile.

                                                       Well, unhook it.

It doesn’t have a hook. It’s
made of macaroni and string. Her
granddaughter made it.
Should I call the fire department?

                                                       No, I’ll be over.

Bring cream cheese.                                 
                                                       What? No!

But it was Estelle’s turn and
she left it on the washing
machine in her garage. These
bagels are already half stale and
 I can’t put them in the freezer what
 with Maxine blocking it and all.
Be right back. Just heard Amazon
                                                       Wait. Maybe the delivery guy can help.

Looks like my new Mah Jongg Diva set came.
 He just pulled away.           

I can tell Maxine is jealous. 
She’s twisting
 her neck around to
 get a good look in the box.

                                                       You opened it?

She said to open it, she’ll wait.

                                                       Bubbe, help Maxine.

These are FABULOUS!!!!
Wait, I’ll send you a picture.

                                                       That’s okay.


                                                       Those ARE nice. Is that Maxine                                                  clawing at the box? Why is her face blue?

That’s just her hair. She uses
Selsun Blue.  Says it's back in style.

                                                       I’ll get dressed and come over.

Don’t forget the cream cheese.           
New Mahj-Art Designs at ZAZZLE
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Costumes in Paradise
Ann Marie Schwartz

We live on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.
I had an idea about Mah Jongg and costumes a while ago and couldn’t wait to try it. Because it was about wearing costumes, I first thought maybe I should do it around Halloween but decided to have it on Monday Nov 11, Veteran’s Day, because most of our working players would have the day off.

A friend who had hosted a MJ party a month before offered her lovely home to accommodate the number of people I wanted to invite. I wanted to invite all of my MJ friends: those who play Chinese as well as the American version. So we had thee tables of four and one floater, so 13 ladies. Because it was an afternoon party beginning at 1:00, we provided snacks, drinks, BYOB, etc. 

It was so much fun seeing the girls in their costumes as they arrived! I took individual photos of them, then some grouped together, like the Birdie bams there were four of us birdies, and each birdie bam costume was entirely different! The highlight was when Paulette shows up in her Crak costume donning a red wig and party decoration on her head to represent a firecracker! She’s the photo in the red dress and red wig! I thought Natasha’s skirt made of 2019 MJ cards was very creative too. 
When I had first suggested costumes I think the girls were a little skeptical but then they really got into it and everyone had a great time and lots of laughs with the costumes!
Our next issue--
Mahjong Around the Globe

Interview with Jelte Rep, author of The Great Mahjong Book: History, Lore, and Play about the state of play in the Netherlands

The story of the discovery of a mahjong set in a medieval castle.
Mahj on My Mind Merchandise
Every Mahj Jongg player will find something to love in the 40 collections of over 500 items ranging from tote bags, jewelry, and luggage tags, to phone cases, shirts, earrings, and note cards. Perfect as gifts, tournament prizes, or home decor.
Created by Mah Jongg maven Gladys Grad in 2015, Siamese Mah Jongg ® has gained so much popularity recently that there is now a growing demand for tournaments. For the past three years, Grad's Mah Jongg Madness Tournaments have held mini Siamese Mah Jongg ® tournaments, in Las Vegas and Scottsdale. The scoring and guidelines for these mini tournaments are available at the Siamese Mah Jongg ® Guild Facebook group. CLICK HERE
Join our Mahj Mania Facebook group at LINK

Mah Jongg Diva Tiles
Limited Edition Mah Jongg Tiles
There are only 100 sets of this limited edition. Each set comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and consists of 170 Standard American Mah Jongg tiles, including 8 flowers, 8 seasons, 8 blanks (in case a tile is lost, it can be replaced with one of these), and 2 extra jokers.
Letters should be exclusive to MJ DIVA Magazine. We do not publish open letters or third-party letters. We encourage a diversity of voices and views in our letters.   Letters should preferably be 150 to 175 words and should refer to either an article in our magazine or to a topic of general interest to the Mah Jongg community. Letters must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number.
  • Only letters submitted electronically HERE will be considered.
J. Davis Mah Jongg
at Davida Aprons

Davida Aprons is pleased to announce the exclusive sale of this popular fabric. Along with purchasing a wide range of products, you may now purchase this fabric for your next project! CLICK HERE to order.
Mahj-Art Commissions

Would you like a custom designed gift for a friend or loved one who plays Mah Jongg?
Is there an anniversary or birthday milestone that calls for something special?
You should consider my Mahj-Art Archival Prints.
Each print is hand made using archival inks and high quality papers. I work closely with clients to find something unique about the recipient. My extensive Mahj-Art library is available, or you may commission an entirely new piece. Join the nationwide ranks of satisfied customers.