Saturday, April 16, 2005

The power of the Dark Side is strong in

I was at Toys "R" Us yesterday to get myself a cheap rear bike light. Someone stole my old one, or maybe it just dislodged itself from the chassis. Anyhow, as I was queueing up, the 4 year old kid before me was holding a large box with a Darth Vader inside. There was the da da da dada da dada da music coming out, and the Light Saber was glowing. It was very real, and I could immediately sense a disturbance in the Force right there at the cashier. I said to the father, "That's bloody cool!" He replied, "It's a ripoff! For his birthday..." It costs $60. Wow! The Dark Side really is strong in that one... Another Dark Side story is the casino which will open in Singapore soon. Just yesterday, the announcement was made. So today, Channel News Asia released a 6000-word essay by a former finance manager at APB (the folks that make the famous Singaporean Tiger Beer), currently serving a four-decade sentence for cheating banks more than $117 million to fuel his gambling habit. It's essential reading. Personally, I'm not against a casino. I think it can be a nice place where people go and have fun, just like any other entertainment venue. The problem is when folks misunderstand the purpose of a casino to mean a place to raise revenue rather than a place of entertainment. I've seen friends who are devastated by this simple misunderstanding; addiction can then result from this, leading to very much worse things. What intrigued me about the finance manager is precisely the fact that he's a finance manager. He's an expert in the technicalities on money. He should be familiar with basic statistics. And yet he fell to the Dark Side. In his essay from prison, he recounts the critical point when 'he lost it'. I think at this point, no amount of intellectual analysis can rationalise things. Actually, nothing seem to help, the desperation, despair, depression. So please, everyone, read up before you try your hand at the dices. And never, never underestimate the power of the Dark Side...


Ali said...

Didn't realise that gambling was now legal in Singapore. Didn't people have to go all the way to Malaysia to gamble before?

First they allow chewing gum again, now they allow gambling? Wow, man!!

jeffyen said...

Well, Lotto and horseracing has always been legal, as long as it's through the official channels. But too many have gone overseas or cruise ships to gamble, so they figured they should build a casino anyway since it's only a matter of time before everywhere has one.

The chewing gum ban hasn't been lifted generally, only for gum used for medical purposes. You need to give your name to the pharmacist or else the poor pharmacist risks 2 years jail LOL.

"Do you have a criminal record?"
"Yes, I sold gum to an undisclosed fan of Wrigleys..."

Hey, Perth is taking a look at the solid Singaporean measure and advocating something...dissimilar... 5 cents levy for each pack of gum sold! Go get your year's supply of PK at Woolsworth first lol