Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rules of Singapore Style Mahjong: List of Scoring Elements

This is a list of the various scoring elements used in Singapore Style mahjong, organised by value (i.e. by number of doubles).

1 double/一台
Seat Flower 正花/门花 zhènghuā/ménhuā
Animal 动物 dòngwù
All Chows (with bonus tiles) 臭平和 chòupínghú
Pung of Dragons 箭刻 jiànkè
Pung of Seat Wind 门风刻 ménfēngkè
Pung of Round Wind 圈风刻 quānfēngkè
Concealed Hand (self-drawn) 门清 ménqīng
Robbing the Kong 抢杠 qiǎnggàng
Winning with the Last Drawn Tile 海底捞月 hǎidǐlāoyuè
Winning with a Replacement tile (for kongs) 杠上开花 gàngshàngkāihuā
Winning with a Replacement tile (for bonus tiles) 花上自摸 huāshàngzìmō
Flower Set Bonus 花杠加台 huāgàng jiātái
Animal Set Bonus 动物杠加台 dòngwùgàng jiātái

2 doubles/两台
All Pungs 碰碰和/对对和 pèngpènghú/duìduìhú
Mixed Suit 混一色 hùnyīsè
Mixed Terminals and Honours 混幺九/混老头 hùnyāojiǔ/hùnlǎotóu
Little Four Winds/Little Four Blessings 小四喜 xiǎosìxǐ

3 doubles/三台
Little Three Dragons/Little Three Scholars 小三元 xiǎosānyuán

4 doubles/四台
All Chows (without any bonus tiles) 平和 pínghú
Pure Suit 清一色 qīngyīsè

Limit (5 doubles)/满贯 (五台)
Heavenly Win 天和 tiānhú
Earthly Win 地和 dìhú
Thirteen Orphans/Thirteen Wonders 十三幺 shísānyāo
Big Four Winds/Big Four Blessings (immediate) 大四喜 dàsìxǐ
Big Three Dragons/Big Three Scholars (immediate) 大三元 dàsānyuán
All Honours 字一色 zìyīsè
All Terminals 全幺九/清老头 quányāojiǔ/qīnglǎotóu
Four Concealed Pungs (self-drawn) 四暗刻/坎坎和 sì’ànkè/gàigàihú
All Kongs 杠杠和/十八罗汉 gànggànghú/shíbāluóhàn
Kong on Kong Win 杠上杠和 gàngshànggànghú
Flower Win/Robbing the Flower (immediate) 七抢一 qīqiǎngyī
Flower Win/Eight Immortals (immediate) 花和/八仙过海 huāhú/bāxiānguòhǎi


daas said...

Err, 九连宝灯 is a limit hand also. And by the way, what are the CCs which have mahjong tournaments that you are referee in? I can only find Nee Soon and Toa Payoh in PA website.

EP said...

Well, yes, 九连宝灯 is indeed a limit hand, but I have not added all possible limit hands on this list for now. Many groups do not actually play some of these limit hands, so I am holding off including everything. After all, the current project is a work-in-progress.

I am currently only refereeing in Nee Soon South CC's tournaments. I do not have links with many of the CCs that organise tournaments. There are quite a few CCs with mahjong activities now: many have interest groups (although these may be restricted to senior citizens only); and several had organised mahjong tournaments (again, most probably for senior citizens only).

If you are interested in taking part in local mahjong competitions that have no age restrictions, you can look towards the country clubs and clubs like SAFRA.

マサシ said...

Hi, This may be a bit off topic but, do you know of any clubs in Singapore that specialises in Japanese Mahjong? It seems that it's non existant here...

マサシ said...

Seems like you're the only blog that talks about mahjong...So depressing..

EP said...

マサツ, I do not know of any mahjong clubs specialising in Japanese mahjong, but then again, I do not have very wide mahjong contacts, despite the nature of my blog.

Actually, I think there are people who play Japanese riichi rules here, but these people probably do not play in clubs. In fact, almost no one play in (mahjong) clubs, although recently there have been more interest groups set up in CCs for senior citizens to join.

The only place that I think of that may have a Japanese mahjong club is the Japanese Association, so you might want to enquire there.

A general trend I observe is that most Singaporeans just prefer to play the local Singapore Style, so the aficionado of Japanese riichi rules is rare.

As for mahjong blogs, there are a few (though not based in Singapore), such as Osamuko's Mahjong Blog.

マサシ said...

Well, that may be true as Japanese mahjong Riichi rules may turn some off due to the complexity of it. There used to be one arcade machine 'Mahjong Fight Club 7.77' in Iluma but has since turned into offline play mode only... I am also currently trying to get an automatic mahjong table that comes with the riichi sticks, as well as the Japanese mahjong tiles at affordable prices. One thing for sure, I believe that there is a need to form a Mahjong Association in Singapore just like Weiqi, Bridge, Chess, etc...which I think is good to raise the profile and not just being viewed as a game for old folks. For the JAS, I know of such facilities, but I'll have to be a mamber there in order to use it and the membership costs in the region of $2000+... As for the Osamuko's blog, I know of it and their IRC channel as well, played some games with them but then again, they're mostly based in Europe and the Americas, leaving me feel kind of alienated when they talk about their competitions organised by the EMA.It would be nice if there was to be a Japanese mahjong competition being organised here as it's shockingly non existent here. I also feel that the non-existence of Jansous in Singapore also plays a part together with the subtle stigmatisation of Mahjong as a whole actually deters people from playing it.

Anonymous said...

How can Little Four Blessings has fewer doubles than Little Three Scholars when the former is a more difficult hand?

By the way, Little Three Scholars should have only one double. After adding the two doubles from the pungs of the two dragons, the hand would have three doubles in total.


EP said...

YS, thank you for your comment. You are right in that Little Three Dragons is only worth 1 extra double (in addition to the 2 doubles scored by the pungs of the two Dragons). I had listed it under 3 doubles as a temporary move until I find the time to write a description of this scoring element.

For Little Four Winds, it is indeed more difficult to achieve than Little Three Dragons, but at the same time, the pungs of the Winds are not as valuable as the pungs of the Dragons, so the value of such a scoring element has to reflect that. One additional problem is that very few people agree on the value of Little Four Winds, especially since it is rare enough that few people have experience dealing with scoring it.

In my view, Little Four Winds is worth an extra 2 doubles at most. If both pungs of Round and Seat Winds are also obtained, the whole hand is worth at least 6 doubles (1 double each for pung of Round and Seat Wind, 2 doubles for Little Four Winds, and 2 doubles for Mixed Suit) and can reach 8 doubles if All Pungs is achieved as well.

If neither Round Wind nor Seat Wind are in the Little Four Winds (i.e. the pair of Winds are of the 'strong' Wind that is both Round and Seat Winds), then Little Four Winds should be rightly scored as a less valuable hand. Some people do play Little Four Winds valued the same regardless of Round and Seat Wind, but I feel otherwise.

So, how do you score Little Four Winds? It would be helpful to know more opinions and playing experiences of this.

Anonymous said...

Hi EP,

To be honest with you, I have never encountered anyone winning Little/Great Three Scholars or Little/Great Four Blessings in real life playing sessions, so I never encountered any dispute.

I do agree completely with your doubles counting for Little Four Blessings though. The hand should be worth extra two doubles to reflect that it is a more difficult hand than Little Three Scholars. However the total doubles should depends on whether there are any pung of the seat or round wind, as what you said. Therefore the minimum total would be four doubles, with two for Little Four Blessings, zero with the wind pair for seat and round wind, and two for Mixed Suit.

Interestingly, in MCR, both Little Three Scholars and Little Four Blessings are both worth 64 points, regardless of whether there is any pung of seat or round wind in Little Four Blessings.


EP said...

Little Three Dragons and Big Three Dragons are relatively common and therefore pose less of a problem to score. For non-limit play however, Big Three Dragons sometimes can be scored at 6 doubles or even more; so this can come under dispute.

In MCR, for Little Four Winds, the pung of the round and seat winds are counted separately, but these are worth very little anyway. In a sense, Little Three Dragons is valued much higher in MCR, and you do see quite a lot of high scores in MCR attributed to the achivement of Little Three Dragons.

YS, you mentioned MCR, so do you play MCR?

Anonymous said...

Hi EP,

You are right that the round wind and seat wind can be combined with Little Four Winds. After my last comment was posted, I checked the rules and realised my mistake.

I am not sure what you mean when you said that Little Three Dragons is valued much higher in MCR. Both Little Four Winds and Little Three Dragons are equal on 64 points, right.

I have this Android MCR game in my mobile phone which I downloaded more than four months ago. I have been learning and playing MCR mahjong quite frequently on my mobile till now.

I do find MCR mahjong more interesting than Singapore mahjong, which depends a lot more on luck. I would love to play MCR mahjong with real people some day, but would have difficulty finding kakis. I think we need enough people to form an MCR mahjong association in Singapore. Some day we can even compete internationally.


EP said...

Ah, my meaning about the relative value of Little Three Dragons in MCR is not very clear. Apologies about that.

YS, as you had mentioned earlier, Little Four Winds is more difficult than Little Three Dragons, yet MCR values them at the same 64 points. So, in a way, MCR gives Little Three Dragons a higher value in terms of points over difficulty.

Let us compare MCR's value assignation to that of Zung Jung, the variant ruleset used at WSoM and which values mathematical consistency over historical flavour. Zung Jung assigns just 40 points to Little Three Dragons but 320 to Little Four Winds, and Big Three Dragons is valued at only 130 points! So, we can see that MCR gives historical usage more importance. Traditionally, in most mahjong variants, the dragons are more valuable than the winds, and the dragon-related patterns (Two Dragon Pungs, Little Three Dragons, Big Three Dragons) are valued higher than the wind-related patterns (Big Three Winds, Little Four Winds, Big Four Winds; note there is not Two Wind Pungs etc.) in MCR because of this factor. Zung Jung assigns values based on rarity and difficulty. So, we have two different approaches towards scoring and game-balance.

If you are interested, do contact me (privately) about MCR. I am slowly building up a group of MCR enthusiasts, and I would love to have more people to compete in MCR competitions overseas in future. When I went to the MCR World Mahjong Championships in Utrecht, Holland, last year, I was the only Singaporean representative.

Anonymous said...

Hi EP,

On my mobile mahjong game, I have won Little Three Dragons quite a number of times, and Great Three Dragons two times. But I have yet to have won a single Little Four Winds, let alone Great Four Winds! Based on this, we can see that the wind hands are more difficult hands in reality.

For MCR mahjong, you have actually competed at the world mahjong competition? How in the world do you even go about registering? Is there any web site or forum we can visit to know about MCR or up coming competition?


EP said...

YS, yes, I had competed at WMC 2010. It was a great exhilarating experience, and I certainly hope to participate in the next WMC, and with teammates! So, I have been trying to grow the pool of MCR players. This is one of the reasons for my blog. Anyone interested is welcome to contact me and we can work out arrangements to play live MCR here in Singapore.

The Internet is a good place to start looking for news on MCR competitions, and Mahjong News is a good resource. Various European associations announce their tournaments via Mahjong News, and Mahjong News would report on various competitions from other countries (i.e. China, Japan, Korea) as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi EP,

Do they use Mandarin or English at the competition? So far I have only bothered to know the Chinese names of the various hands, so I am not sure if the English names are needed at all.

I am curious to know how those non Chinese managed to recognise those tiles like the winds and characters which are in Chinese. Do they have numbers or letters on those tiles? Also, do the competitors need to call out in Mandarin when they want to chow (chi) or game (hu)?

How do I contact you privately? There does not seem to be any link here to do so.


EP said...

At World Mahjong Championships, the official languages are English, (Mandarin) Chinese and Japanese, so usually there are translators around to help deal with communication problems between players speaking different languages. Each European Mahjong Association member also usually publish translated terms in their own language (e.g. French, Italian, Russian etc.). Otherwise, during competition, it is usually English and a lot of sign language at the table, which works well enough.

Also, in the English version of the MCR rulebook, there are the official terms for gameplay such as chi, peng, gang, hu, and hua, but the commonly used equivalent terms 'chow', 'pung', 'kong', 'mahjong' (sometimes frowned upon though), and 'flower(s)' are generally accepted, although the original Chinese terms are preferred as a form of standardisation. Of course, it is quite common to hear some of these terms in the Japanese pronunciation as well ('chi', 'pon', 'kan').

From what I observed at WMC last year, some of the Europeans are quite comfortable with the Chinese terms, although their pronunciation is less accurate.

For mahjong sets, the Europeans learn to recognise all the Chinese characters for their values and use in gameplay. I believe some of them may have started out with mahjong tilesets with extra Roman letters and Arabic numerals to help them in playing the game, but they eventually graduate to playing with mahjong tiles without the help letters and numerals. Competition mahjong sets at the WMC do not have any of these help letters and numerals.

To contact me privately, just leave your contact email address in a comment. As comments on this blog are moderated, your contact details will not be revealed, and I will not publish such submitted comments. I will then send an email to you for further correspondence.

daas said...

Hi all, I can see some debate over little 4 winds here. I got achieved it before, so I think its 2 double on top of round wind, seat wind. And its definetely half at least so even if u are unlucky that the round/seat wind is ur pair of eyes, u still get 4 double at least which is more than little 3 scholars (3 double).

MrFeng said...

hello, are you still at nee soon CC? i found out toa payoh and tampines CC have mahjong courses. how are they like? (do they teach rules or strategies?) is it limit to age group?

if possible, i would like to learn more about japanese mahjong from you. i can't really find anyone who knows how to play either even though its so much more fun than singapore mahjong.

EP said...

Hello MrFeng, yes, I am still conducting classes at Nee Soon South CC, as well as at Toa Payoh Central CC and Tampines West CC.

It depends on which classes/courses you are interested in. The beginners' and intermediate courses are more on rules than strategy. I do not really have any specific courses on strategy, but participants at the practice classes focus on improving play (fundamentals and more advanced strategy and defence). There is no real age limit.

As for Japanese mahjong, I am not really able to help you. I know a little bit, but not enough to teach it.

マサシ said...

Mrfeng, have you played jp mahjong before? My group plays occasionally.

MrFeng said...

ok thanks EP. I'ma consider giving it a try soon

yes, i'm a fan of jmahjong now LoL what do you mean by 'your group'?
contact me at 91766611

and wow, you're a japanese, i just realised.

MrFeng said...

hey EP, i've checked up the mahjong courses in onePA and realised one of them has a min age req of 21. why's that so?

EP said...

MrFeng, it seems to be the CC policy that there is an age limit, probably to combat public perception that the CCs may be endorsing gambling and encouraging young children to learn how to gamble, but it does not address the contradiction that gambling (say, betting at Singapore Pools) is legal for 18-year-olds and above. Anyway, this age restriction policy does not seem to be enforced strictly. I have had students/participants younger than 21 years of age. Since I view mahjong as a healthy mind-sport, I have no qualms about accepting younger students/participants, as long as such participants know what they are in for.

By the way, if you already know mahjong, you should be looking at the practice classes.

Anonymous said...

It's so sad most people in Singapore play Mahjong as a form of gambling and very few of my friends actually play it as a form of competitive game (eg Contact Bridge) when there is no money involve.

Went to Tokyo once and played in one of their Mahjong Parlors. There was no gambling allowed but your placing out of the four players actually determine how much you have to pay per match for I guess using their facilities and all and due to free flow of drinks lol.

Anyway I enjoy playing Singapore Mahjong but I love Japanese Mahjong more due to it being very flexible and defensive styled play. Still figuring out how to count points efficently especially for hands under 5 han since I cant grapple the fu and han multiplication tables for points very well yet lol.

Just hoping if there is any group out there that organises Gambling Free mahjong gatherings (best if its Richii Mahjong, can practice more in RL and gain experience lol) and wouldn't mind a young player, I am only 19, coming 20 this year lol.

EP said...

Thanks for your comment, hengyx!

Yes, I agree that it is sad that people here only play mahjong as a form of gambling, but I also believe that it is because no organisation here tries to promote it as a viable mind-sport.

Look at the various mahjong organisations in Japan, the World Mahjong Organisation in China, and the European Mahjong Association and its member organisations in Europe. These organisations 'take charge' by organising non-gambling competitions and regular club activities, people will find that mahjong is indeed a valid and acceptable hobby that does not have to involve gambling.

Anyway, if you are interested, you can contact me (leave your email address in a comment; it will not become visible for public view) for more information. I coordinate and conduct practice classes/sessions at CCs around Singapore. Such sessions are meant for relaxed playing and learning, without any gambling (CCs do not permit gambling on their premises after all). Currently confined to just Singapore Style mahjong and MCR though. For riichi, there are some individuals I know who are interested to put together sessions, so I can link you up with them.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. Though I think there should be an official Mahjong Association in Singapore which will be great so to regulate and organize competitions here, it's nearly impossible due to the social stigma associated with Mahjong especially since the culture of Mahjong in these areas have been predominantly gambling.

I also believe people will misuse any mahjong competition as a front for gambling since after all most people here do still play for the thrill of gambling instead for competitiveness.

EP said...

Thank you for your comment, hengyx.

I believe that a national association for mahjong is not impossible, but it may take a little more time for such a body to be set up. There must be enough passionate people who are keen to play mahjong as a sport rather than as a medium for gambling.

I think the point about mahjong competitions for gambling is an interesting one. I know many people would not mind playing in competitions. Often, local competitions offer some kind of prizes (usually vouchers of some sort, but sometimes prizes like mahjong sets and household electronics etc.). I would say that people are unlikely to use competitions as a substitute for gambling; it is simply not worth their time and effort. Moreover, actual gambling can be difficult when one is playing with strangers who do not share the same mindset.

Also, I also believe that if a person is playing mahjong for the sake of the thrill of gambling, then that person is at the wrong activity. For the real thrills, there is the casino. Mahjong, for all its purported evils, is a relatively slow game. One is very unlikely to lose a lot of money in a short time by playing mahjong. The thrill does not come from the gambling per se, but from the excitement of winning and losing big hands (and that compared to real gambling at the casino is really just peanuts).

Re: Competitions and gambling. This brings to mind something I and a few others have observed from participating at local competitions. Competitions involve a large number of players, and to win at a mahjong competition means a player must perform much better than his opponents. However, competitiors with a gambling mindset most often do not perform well at all: i.e. they play as if they are just trying to keep a positive score, and just keep going for cheap, quick hands. In knock-out competition formats, these are the players most likely to be knocked out right at the first stage. So, one cannot simply bring a gambling-oriented mindset to a competition.

daas said...

I dont mind joining such an organization

Anonymous said...

Hi EP,

You write good english and I appreciate it greatly. I am currently located near Nee Soon CC and would love to learn and play SG Mahjong. I will check out the PA website later!

Again, great blog!


EP said...

daas and Alexander, thank you for your comments!

Anonymous said...

what is the meaning of "gang shang gang shang hu"? please enlighten

EP said...

杠上杠和 refers to a sequence where two kongs are made consecutively, followed by a winning hand. So, basically the sequence is: kong, pick replacement tile, kong, pick replacement tile, hu.

Two consecutive kongs only do not give a win straight away. The hand itself must be completed by the second placement tile.

The special feature of this scoring element lies in the rarity and difficulty of making two consecutive kongs followed by a win off the replacement tile. It is thus rewarded with a limit hand value, even though the hand itself may have no doubles.

Anonymous said...

i heard there are more limit sequence for eg. "Gang Shang Mei" and " Hai Di Lau Yue"

"Gang Shang Mei" refers to : Kong(4 Of the same kind) and draw and game with 5 Tong (circles). this must be completed by gaming 5 Tong (circles) in between 4Tong (Circles) and 6 Tong(Circles). 5 tong needs to be shown to all players for fair play purpose

"Hai Di Lau Yue" refers to: gaming 1 tong(circle) by drawing the very last tile from deck. this only applicable to 1 tong (circle). usually gaming from the last tile will add 1 double to own sequence but this differ from "Hai Di Lau Yue"

EP said...

Hello Anonymous,

What you mention ("Gang Shang Mei" and "Hai Di Lau Yue") are indeed valid scoring elements per se, but these are not used in Singapore Style mahjong, as far as I know, the context being the wide community of Singapore Style players and the tournaments that use Singapore Style rules. It is possible to encounter the scoring elements as described by you in certain groups, but then these are of low occurrence, and I would classify them as house rules, rather than common rules.

These two scoring elements may be more accepted in other styles of mahjong (for example, Chinese Classical [Millington] or Hong Kong Old Style [Amy Lo]). In fact, looking at Amy Lo's book on Hong Kong Old Style, she lists the two scoring elements, but assigns them just 3 fan each, so they are nothing near Limit Hands. Millington, for Chinese Classical, does assign the value of Limit Hands for these two, but given that Chinese Classical is quite a different sort of scoring, such values are not very comparable to Singapore Style mahjong.

Anonymous said...

I am someone who primarily plays Japanese mahjong, but over the past year or so I've become increasingly interested in other forms of mahjong, if only to see what variety exists out there. In this time, I've had the chance to play Singapore-style online, whether against computers or human opponents (on Viwawa if you know that site), and I just wanted to ask someone more familiar with the game to see if my observations are at all accurate.

Coming from Japanese-style, I find the most significant difference to not be so much the lack of riichi or even the animal tiles (though they do contribute to a different experience), but the relative lack of low fan/tai hands. Things like tanyao (all simples) and iipeikou (two of the same sequence) don't exist in Singapore mahjong, and so I feel like the hands are more inflexible, that they don't flow into each other quite as easily.

As a result, it seems like you have to decide from the very beginning where you want your hand to go and that, unless you draw a relevant bonus tile, you have to stick to your path much more diligently, whether that's an all sequences hand or starting out with two honor tiles and planning around getting the third or aiming for a half flush.

I see that there is the possibiliy of increasing the tai minimum in order to make the game more challenging, but my opinion (based on my limited experience) is that high tai requirements are not suitable for Singapore Mahjong because of the relatively small amount of available hands. Unlike MCR especially where there are so many hands that you can realistically stack many of them together to meet more difficult fan requirements, I feel like anything more than a 2 tai minimum in Singapore Mahjong may make the game overly stiff and unwieldy, though whether the minimum is better at 1 or 2 is something I'm undecided on.

Anyway, thanks for hearing me out. I don't pretend to be an expert in even my own preferred mahjong, so I'm looking forward to a response.

EP said...

ogiuemaniax, thank you for your comment.

As your question is a little complex, I will address it in a proper post, which then allows subsequent comments and discussion under the pertinent topic.

mahjong kaki said...

Hi, at my side 小四喜 and 大四喜 are both max limit, due to their similar difficulties

this is quite coincident with the standard Singapore mahjong rule

EP said...

mahjong kaki, thank you for your input! Do you play with a 5-double limit only or a system with 5-double limit and bonuses for extra doubles bonus beyond the limit?

Anonymous said...

Some comment on Earthly Hand(Di Hu) that is in SG style MJ.

For most variation internationally:

Earthly Hand(Di Hu):
Win by dealer first discard, dealer must not have concealed Kong before that.

But in SG style MJ, Earthly Hand is actually more like Humanly Hand. Whereby

Humanly Hand(Ren Hu):
Win by discard by other player during the 1st turn of the deal before the player has his first discard.

No exposed meld is allow before that.

So when you ask some old folk about Earthly Hand, they will probably tell you something more like Humanly Hand.

EP said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for your input.

What I see in your comment is more evidence that people in Singapore learn mahjong haphazardly and play a lot of house rules that deviate from common practice elsewhere.

The fact that mahjong is disencouraged in public discourse (unlike, say, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan) also means that there is no tradition of documenting and researching mahjong in Singapore. There are so few books on mahjong as played in Singapore, and there is no governing body to help reach a consensus on any rule.

Gary Moh said...

Gary(previously Anonymous) :

If you say Singapore learn mahjong haphazardly then I would say basically everyone learn mahjong haphazardly too.

The reason is because basically every single regional evolution of mahjong have never considered probability to assign the right amount of points/faan/fu etc in term of difficulties.( Accept perhaps Zung Jung).

To understand the different regional variations of mahjong, one must first understand Classical Mahjong Rules that were used in the early last century in China whereby I believe that all regional Mahjong Rules evolved from there till today different regional variations of mahjong.

In Classical Mahjong Rules, it is using Fu/Faan for scoring whereby it will assign certain amount of Fu to certain meld, and then double, quadruple it etc for certain scoring hands.

For Fu in Classical Mahjong Rules, Triplet melds has has Fu value, concealed Triplet has higher value, and Kong are even higher value.

For Sequence melds in Classical Mahjong Rules, basically no Fu value at all. In fact, Peng Hu actually means Ordinary Hand with no Fu value.

Only later stage of development, it was assign Fu value to Peng Hu.

Anyway, Fu/Faan system which the Japanese are still using is a very complicated way of calculating points which eventually some regions abolished Fu and only using Faan only.

Sg adopted this as well but with some different as compare to others.

For example, Kong in SG rules is immediate payment due to the Fu value in the older Fu/Faan system whereas for example HK old style which is also using Faan only system don't have such rule.

As for Peng Hu, there are also regional difference.

In SG, Peng Hu must not be a Single Wait Hand, & this was also due to Fu/Faan system of Classical Mahjong Rules whereby Single Wait Hand(Edge wait, Closed wait etc) has Fu value.

So when there is a Single Wait Hand as well as Peng Hu, in Classical Mahjong Rules, Peng Hu's Fu value will not be considered.

And this rule remain in SG Faan only system mahjong rules.

Anyway, I get all my info from Alan Kwan's Zung Jung official website:

It has 3 different languages of it, but the Chinese version has more articles, especially about Chinese Classical Mahjong rules.

Gary Moh said...

I will not say only Singapore learn mahjong haphazardly, in fact basically all regional( even variations within a nation) Mahjong rules evolved haphazardly as well; because none of them use probability to assign the right amount of points/Fu/Faan etc based on difficulties of the hand ( except perhaps Zung Jung).

As for wining within first turn, there are basically 3 type:

Heavenly Hand(天胡): Win by dealer by first self-draw(Kong is not allow).

Earthly Hand(地胡): Win by dealer first discard.

Humanly Hand(人胡): Win by discard within the first turn without any exposed meld form by everyone.

As for Humanly Hand(人胡), most regional Mahjong rules does not have this, but Korean & some Japanese have it in their Mahjong rule.

In Sg rules , they just combined Earthly Hand(地胡) & Humanly Hand(人胡)called it as Earthly Hand(地胡)as both are wins by discard within the first turn.

As for where Humanly Hand(人胡) come from, is anyone guess, it could be from Chinese Classical Mahjong rules in the early last century whereby all regional Mahjong rules evolved from.

After all, even in China at that time, there are regional variation of Mahjong rules as well.

EP said...

Dear Gary,

Thank you for your comment.

Yes, I am very well aware of Classical Chinese rules and of Zung Jung.

And yes, it is also true that people had haphazardly learnt mahjong in the past, which accounts for the many odd variants and house rules in use, and which had organically evolved into distinct variants. But in modern times, there has been a lot of standardisation efforts of these regional variants.

You brought up Japanese mahjong, whose riichi variant still faithfully counts fu/han, but the practices has been codified with the establishment of professional organisations that guide the practice of millions of players. There is a culture in Japan where ordinary players look to professionals and professional organisations for advice and rulings. If there are rule variants, these are clearly stated (whether kuikae ari or kuikae nashi, for example, or kuitan ari and so on. If one wants to learn mahjong in Japan, there are many books to learn from, all of which agree on the basic fundamentals of the Japanese variant.

In Singapore, however, it is still in the dark ages, where sets of people really disagree on some basic rules that we want to call Singapore Style. For example, some Singaporeans may think they are playing Singapore Style, but are actually playing Hong Kong Style, or Malaysian Style, and they do not know the difference at all. How to, when there is so little information out there?

Just the topic of the Singapore Style pinghu can illuminate the problems of learning mahjong haphazardly. I am not sure exactly how many people you encounter, but I have met many, in the course of my teaching, refereeing, and playing mahjong, who do not even know that pinghu has certain constraints on the wait. These, as you note, come from the Classical Chinese system. The exact commonly agreed constraints allow waiting on the eye as long as it is more than one-sided, and no other forms of special waits (Single Wait, Closed Wait, Edge Wait). Note that the Single Wait is not the same as Fishing the Eye, so the confusion between these two conditions may have lead to the way Singapore Style allows multi-sided waits for eyes, but other versions (such as Japanese riichi) do not.

Yet, I have met a lot of people who do not know that such a requirement for pinghu exists, even as participants in competitions!

Do we want to just shrug our shoulders and say, "OK what, haphazard haphazard lah! Why care?" Or do we want to do something about that?

So, to me, leaving things as they are, even if some things have been learnt traditionally, but have a wrong basis, is not a good solution at all. Wrong things have to be corrected if we want standardisation.

But on the other hand, there is a lot of inertia towards such change. There is thus no surprise that the Chinese opted to create a whole new standard to avoid conflict with the dozens of regional variants in China.

peach purple said...

hi edwin
where do you teach now? i'm very keen and i'm a beginner! thanks

EP said...


Thank you for your interest! I have cut down on teaching activities as I have been really too busy recently.

If you are interested anyway, do contact me directly for more details.