Why mahjong is important to Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts

Audrey Edwards
Former US first lady Michelle Obama and US actress Julia Roberts gesture as they arrive to attend an event for the Obama Foundation in Kuala Lumpur December 12, 2019. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — The very popular game of mahjong got its bit of Hollywood mention when actress Julia Roberts revealed that she played it every week.

For her, the weekly Tuesday sessions with her girlfriends were important to bond and learn from each other.

“I missed my game this week. So, maybe we can go out later and play outside,” she said in jest during the plenary session at the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Programme with former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama that was also live-streamed on the foundation’s website.

It was moderated by former Miss Malaysia World and Fugee School co-founder Deborah Henry.

The programme is a one-year leadership development programme that seeks to inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region.        

Roberts was talking about the importance of having a network of people in a marriage and family.

“We bring food and meet. It is not a drinking game. Many times, Danny (Moder) will come in and say we (Roberts and her friends) are lucky to have each other.”

“It’s group therapy. And that is community that we are talking about here. We bring out the best in each other.”

When asked about how one could lift themselves out from “dark days”, she said one has to believe that the “light will come”.

“No matter what the circumstances are. You have to believe that it will come,” she added.

“Sharing is such a valuable thing. So get a mahjong group going, get a running partner and share.”

When asked about her opinion of social media, she said while she did not completely understand it because she was an “older person”, she said her attitude towards being on Instagram was to be able to post things that were interesting or funny to her.

“It’s also when I have moments like this happen, when I’m doing a really rad thing. It is important so check it out. That is the real value of social media.”

She also revealed that she did not take negative comments to heart adding that this stemmed from the time when she had a bad review and dwelled upon it.

Roberts then realised that she had not thought of the other times she had gotten positive reviews.

“I don’t read reviews. I ask what is the temperature of the reviews. I use where it’s positive and leave it alone when it becomes toxic.”

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