Oh, you’re in Macau!
But where are you now, what are you doing? Hello, he-l-l-o…
I certainly understand how one could just go on and on throw his or her money away at otherwise idiotic machines! I could positively relate to that person who keeps on thinking – just this one last time please, make my money $300 and off I will go. Really, one last… and having been indulged by the machine, one would suddenly feel an overwhelming itch to make the money become $500 this time. Oh, the gut feel just says it is very much possible and imagine what that much money can buy! So stay put on the seat and on with the machines.
What if you are indeed lucky?
I have been to some casino hotels in Macau, supposedly to apply for a job. But after being initiated by an Indonesian roommate, I too succumbed to the lure of the what if you are indeed lucky? It might be you who will bring home the $1,000,000 jackpot! So off I went to their money exchange counter and had my patacas changed to Hong Kong dollars for the machines only accept Hong Kong dollars. I stood there looking very earnest – I am somebody with self-control. I will bet only a total of $100, not a cent more. But you very well know how this story would end.
I remember how on my first visit I laughed hard at the picture the people there made – glued to the screens and drawing lines on paper and making circles on some of them every now and then, looking so outrageously tense or deep. My Indonesian roommate then told me, they were all concentrating – you know, thinking. Some would press the buttons really hard as if their luck depended on it. Then some resorted to flattering the machines to give them the luck they needed. But the ones who were not given any would sometimes beat the machines while muttering a slew of abuses. Ah you idiota! Even my Indonesian roommate was guilty of saying that to the machines. She got so riled up because one machine gobbled up her $70 in one go and then another siphoned off her $20 and another $20 from my pocket.
Last money never ends!
As if it was some consolation though, she was left with $5 which gave her the chance to play at some slot machines, which she feverishly took. For some time, she appeared a bit lucky and happy there – her $5 shot up to $45. See, last money never ends! Remember that! Yey!
My roommate laughed hard and made a pretty big racket of clapping her hands and swinging herself round and round until she was spent and decided that we go back to our main business – playing big/small and baccarat. But you can very well predict the outcome of this story – a sad one. We lost all $110 and we ended up walking our way home. The only sweet thing there was we went home with our bellies heavy with orange juice, milk, coffee, milk tea, water. Oh we took advantage of the freebies so much. I even took five of their bottled water home.
We got home reeking of cigarette smell and an upset stomach. Our greediness sure paid. I remember myself thinking while seeing the ebb and flow of my roommate’s emotions: this is what my father and elder brother must be feeling every time they go to the cockpit arena. Yes, I am not totally alien to gamblers, but since I have never been to the gambling arena with either my father or brother, I have not really seen how their facial expressions and body postures change at every end of a game. I remember also feeling sorry for them as I was feeling sorry for my roommate and cheering them on as I was cheering my roommate on. Well, I was certainly as abjectly dejected on our walk home as my brother and father must have been when they had to go home empty-handed.
Oh, the temptation!
Yet, on my second visit for that supposedly very legitimate purpose – try to score a job, I got tempted and I was the very same one who kept on promising I would be on my way – first when I got my $100 back, then when my money was doubled, then tripled. And when it was tripled and I lost $50 from my last bet, I felt so disappointed that I vowed I would get it back to $300. And I promised to God again that it would really be my last and that when my money became $300, I would have no more business there. Really. But my money went up and down, up and down, and so did my resolve. But fortunately, something took me back to reality or gave me an instant of clarity. I’m not saying I just had to seize it and I was already saved. It was absolutely very hard trying to uproot myself from my seat. There was a real struggle for maybe a few seconds but thankfully I stood up and walked away with my clear-headedness.
Huh, that was such a close call. I then said to myself – this is not where I want to work and stay. It probably is a blessing for all the hotels to which I have sent an application to ignore me. Two gamblers in the family are enough.
So you’re planning to go to Macau!
(Most probably to look for a job) Be forewarned! You are going to need a really steely willpower not to go astray to … the casinos! and lose not only some bit of beauty (from too much smoke and shortened sleep) but also some hard-earned (or loaned) money.