Mah-jongg, that noisy game of choice for legions of Chinese, is more than a creative way of losing money. It's also a strategic exercise in memorization, calculation and deception, which according to some researchers in Asia makes it a recommended form of mental-health therapy. If you don't have a table, tiles and three friends on hand, you can always head to a mah-jongg club. At KC City, a recreation and hotel company that runs eight mah-jongg clubs in Hong Kong, customers can rent private rooms 24 hours a day. No betting is allowed, but with 18-hour marathon packages on offer, it's anyone's guess how games are settled outside the club.
By Ling Woo Liu