Old Hong Kong Mahjong

“I don’t really care for the game,” says Ho Sau-Mei as she chisels a Chinese character onto a mahjong tile. She places the new piece in a row of 20 identically carved tiles. “Who has time to play mahjong?”

Known locally as ‘Sister Mei,’ Ho is the only female mahjong tile carver left in Hong Kong. She has been carving mahjong tiles for more than 40 years, and is one of the last mahjong sifus, or masters, left in the city. With no one new joining the trade, it looks like the craft may die with her generation.

When I first meet Ho, she is hunched over a tray full of freshly carved mahjong tiles. It’s 84 degrees Fahrenheit outside, one of the hottest days … Read the rest