Saturday, February 23, 2008

An Expat's View

Moses, an expatriate friend from England, who had been working for the past 2 years was once invited to my home for dinner. I also had a few colleagues with me. During the course of the conversation, Moses, asked a little about the history of Malaysia and Singapore.

"Choo, I note that there is something quite interesting about the three main races here. I don't want to appear like I am generalising, but I notice that the Chinese have a penchant for gambling; the Indians for drinking and the Malays for drug-taking."

I do not have the statistics, but Moses does not seem too far fetched in his view points. He also noted that the Chinese tend to be more self-centred and self-seeking whereas the other two races are more helpful in rendering spontaneous help.

What an interesting observation from the eyes of a Caucasian! Now I am getting more worried about the forthcoming casino in our little island. I remember Tan Sri Jeyaratnam from Ipoh had brought my friend Jennifer Soen and me to Genting Highlands to thank us for our help rendered to his Spastics Association. It was my first time in a casino. Tan Sri gave us some coins to play in the jackpot machines, but I declined. "Nobody comes to Genting without some form of gambling" the magnanimous gentleman asserted." "Sir, my mom was a gambler. Gambling destroyed her health, and we children grew up, hating card games and any form of gambling". Interestingly, I observed that most of the crowd in Genting were Chinese!

I remember when I was in Melbourne, my relatives took me to visit the Crown Casino. Again, I noticed that the majority of the gamblers were Chinese! My dear fellowmen. Let us steer a little away from the game of chance. Gamble a little if you must, maybe once a year during the Chinese New Year, but do not make it a habit. Buy a little Toto or a Big Sweep ticket if you must, but do not spend a chunk of your salary on them. For if you are really lucky, even one ticket will win you a prize! Like the Indian national who won the first prize with a 50 cents ticket!

I guess unltimately it is balance and priority. All of us cannot be saints. We can drink and gamble a little. Too much of anything is not good. Too much alcohol destroys the liver. Too much gambling will destroy a person's health and break his family. Take drugs only for medical purposes and not for getting high.

Let us never be too busy or nonchalant to help someone in distress. If we see an accident, let us take time to help the victims. If we constantly hear a child crying in the neighbourhood, let us take time to investigate a little. It could be child abuse.

As I have said, we are not saints. But we can all play a part to help make Singapore an even better place to live in.

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