Toronto·Video

This is 'Not Your Ma's Jong': How a couple reimagined a game their grandmas played

Jennifer Guo and Adam Szakacs were inspired by their grandmothers’ love of mahjong to create their own version of the game.

Fast-paced card game honours grandmothers' bond over game of mahjong

‘Not Your Ma’s Jong:’ How an Oakville couple reimagined a game loved by their grandmothers

7 months ago
2:03
This Oakville couple was inspired by their grandmothers’ love of mahjong to create their own version of the game. Here’s a look at “Not Your Ma’s Jong.” 2:03

Jennifer Guo and Adam Szakacs each saw their grandmothers playing mahjong, the ancient and traditional Chinese game, while growing up.

When the married couple's Chinese and Jewish grandmothers met for the first time, they didn't share the same language or culture, but they made an instant connection over their common interest. 

"We just saw their eyes both light up and we realized the power of mahjong to connect people across different cultures and across generations as well," said Szakacs.

Guo and Szakacs have now taken memories of their grandmothers and the inspiration from mahjong to create their own game called "Not Your Ma's Jong."

It's faster-paced and simpler than mahjong, and instead of tiles, it involves cards featuring colourful and humorous illustrations of their grandmothers. 

"There's been a lot of public support for this game, and I think the timing of it is not coincidental for us," said Guo, referring to recent anti-Asian discrimination.

"We wanted to make sure that our daughters grew up proud of who they are and their heritage."

Watch the video to find out how "Not Your Ma's Jong" was created.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sannah Choi is a multi-platform journalist with CBC Toronto. She started as a TV reporter in her hometown at CBC Ottawa. She enjoys exploring her neighbourhood in Toronto's west end with her family. Contact her at sannah.choi@cbc.ca

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