Many have lost money to mahjong games, but veteran Hong Kong actor Ai Wai might have lost more.
In a recent episode of Chinese variety show See You Again’s second season, Ai Wai and his wife revealed that their relationship fell apart because of the latter’s problematic mahjong habits.
Said the 65-year-old Hong Kong actor: “I felt hopeless. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why did she choose mahjong over me?'”
See You Again is a show that brings together divorced or separated couples after they’ve left each other for a while and have them open the dialogue on why their marriage failed.
This time around, Ai and his wife, Lisa, attended and gave insight into how mahjong had led to their marriage falling apart.
The duo had gotten married in 2002 and announced their shocking separation in 2020.
When asked by other guests how long she played, Lisa said that she would play mahjong from 5pm to 3am once a week.
Hearing this, Ai Wai paused and gave a quizzical look, before shaking his head.
He clarified that this wasn’t always the case, and there was even one instance where Lisa only came home at 11am the next day.
“I was at a loss — this cannot go on. If you set down the ground rules, you have to stick by them,” Ai Wai said.
Trying to cure her of her mahjong addiction, Ai Wai set an ultimatum for Lisa, and told her in the past: “How about this – you can’t play mahjong anymore. If you play mahjong one more time, it’ll be tantamount to us divorcing.
“I told her the same thing again the next morning,” Ai Wai recalled. “Three months later, she suddenly told me that she would go and play mahjong.”
From that day on, he stopped spending time with her, and spoke with her less often.
‘I don’t want to die’
Lisa also explained things from her perspective.
To her, life was filled with a lot of stress, both because of a previous uterine tumour that she removed in 2014 and because she has genetic liver problems.
“I have six siblings in my family, five brothers and one sister. Two of my brothers have the same liver problems as me, but the two of them have also died.
“I’m very worried that I’ll be like them and will die soon,” Lisa said.
She recounted an incident where she was lying in bed with Ai Wai, looked at him and said: “I really treasure you so much — I’m so scared that I’m going to die soon.”
In a separate interview for the show, Ai Wai also recalled this incident.
“One night, when we were sleeping, she suddenly started crying. She sobbed to me, ‘Dear, I don’t want to die.’
Motioning to bring her closer to him, Ai Wai said: “I told her, ‘It’s okay. You won’t die, I’m here for you.'”
Does love trump mahjong?
It may not be the end of their story, however.
The two have yet to legally declare their divorce and have only been separated for the two years since 2020.
In separate interviews for the show, both Ai Wai and Lisa explained their intentions to keep things as they are so that they can help prepare personal effects and matters should the other die.
In the trailer for the show, Lisa also mentioned that she still holds love for Ai Wai, while Ai Wai himself mentioned in the show that he has “never said that he stopped loving her”.
Summarising his thoughts on his relationship with Lisa, Ai Wai said: “If I were to describe it, it would be my ‘utter failure’ — that is what my marriage life is.”
This article was first published on AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.