Ho Sau-mei rarely remembers a time when she was not making mah jong tiles after inheriting her father’s carving skills when she was only 13.
Mostly, it consisted of fond memories such as the first time she engraved an extra Arabic number on the tiles so non-Chinese players could enjoy the game.
Today, she is one of only three people in Hong Kong who make mah jong sets, survivors of a harsh reality dictated by high-speed electronic manufacturing of the game which remains highly popular to this day.
When her father’s modest workshop fell into her hands, little did she imagine it would end there decades later. But unless something or someone intervenes, that might very well be its fate.
Ho, 57, will have to shut down the workshop in Bulkeley Street in Hung Hom because of an ongoing redevelopment project, Apple Daily reported Friday.
Although Ho does not make a living from the business which brings in about HK$4,000 a month, she prizes it for preserving her skills in a dying craft. Sure, there’s also a little pocket money and it’s an excuse to keep her busy.
But mostly, it’s a way to honor a cherished family legacy.
“I don’t want our family business to end in my hands,” she told the newspaper.
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