l public, mahjong faces the major oin BullyGeister 05.01.2019 07:42
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MOGADISHU Donovan Smith Jersey , Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Armed gunmen Thursday evening detonated explosive and broke into a restaurant in a popular beach in Mogadishu, police told Xinhua.
Two explosions went off within a space of 30 minutes, with sources saying the attackers may have held people hostage in the hotel.
""I am hearing heavy gunfire which seems to be exchanged by Al-Shabaab fighters and security forces,"" said Muktar Omar, a resident.
According to some witnesses, three people are dead while three others wounded in the attack. But the police have yet to confirm the casualties.
""I hear the sound of gunfire and explosion and it is too early to comment the extent of the casualties,"" Omar said, noting the operation is going on in the dark.
""I was with my friend walking towards Lido beach when we heard huge explosions from that direction and we ran back for fear of our lives,"" Liban Nor, a resident, told Xinhua.
A police officer at the scene said that Special Forces have arrived at the scene and trying to contain situation.
Beach view hotel which is suspected to be the main target is popular with people who visit the beach and it normally hosts live music bands at night.
While the Brazilians mourned their failure at this year's FIFA World Cup, many Chinese found themselves in a similar position, lamenting the final results of the 2014 European Mahjong Championship. Ending last week in France, the two Chinese delegations to the championship only ranked 37th and 39th among the 51 participating teams.
Although it's difficult to pinpoint when this game began, mahjong is widely recognized as having its roots in ancient China. While the tile game has evolved over the centuries, its popularity has never faded. A fun leisure time activity that can be played almost anytime and anywhere, people can be seen playing mahjong everywhere from community parks to playing while floating around in a swimming pool.
However, with the disastrous defeat of the Chinese delegation, netizens are wondering how one of Chinese people's favorite activities has become a source of shame.
Skill not luck
First, popular as it is among Chinese, most people only regard mahjong as a game rather than a sport, the latter of which actually has different rules compared to the more relaxed version played by most people.
According to a report on sport.qq, these strict rules help reduce the chances that someone can win out of sheer luck.
"The biggest difference between the sport and the game is that the former is more complicated to play... It looks like a simple math question, but is in fact a complicated matter of probability. It is a test of a person's intelligence and mentality," Hu Zhiwei, winner of the 2008 Mahjong Super Cup China District Finals in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, told sport.qq.
"The Chinese players who took part in the championship do not represent the highest level of professional mahjong in China," Sheng Qi, chief director of the United Association of Chinese Mahjong Sport and one of the rule makers for professional mahjong in China, told the Global Times.
The 80-year-old sports mahjong advocate explained that the delegations that joined the championship were made up of Chinese players who were only fans of mahjong and that they went to France out of personal interest rather than having been selected through national competitions. To his knowledge no players who currently hold high ranks in China actually took part in the event.
While the game is extremely popular in China, very few people are aware of mahjong as a sport. In his column for news.ifeng, columnist Zhang Hansi joked that there were several ways to bring more attention to the sport of mahjong: having "mahjong girls" who dance during breaks and bringing in commercial sponsors, who could then have their brands put on the back sides of the tiles.
Joking aside, he pointed out that without high audience interest, mahjong as a sport will continue to suffer as there will be little money for awards which in turn means little incentive for quality players to participate in tournaments.
However a more key problem in getting sports mahjong off the ground is that unlike other sports which hold a high reputation with the general public, mahjong faces the major obstacle of being associated with gambling.
While some schools outside of China hold mahjong classes for even children, Sheng said that many government authorities in China treat the game as a source of gambling and are opposed to promoting it.
"Actually soccer also has a close link with gambling as well," Sheng noted, stating that the idea of equating mahjong and gambling is a misconception among people that needs to be changed.
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