Sunday, 14 February 2010

Submerged Gambles

One has to feel a bit sorry for the Malaysians.

Last month they discovered to their horror that a couple of their airforce's jet engines had been illegally hocked off to Argentina and this past week comes news of a more recent purchase; a submarine that is unable to submerge.

Not that they are alone in buying dodgy subs from European sources.

A few years ago the Australians purchased some Collins Class submarines. The noise from their operational 'drive shafts' ensured that any enemy would not have to deploy sonar or acoustic monitoring to detect their movement many fathoms distant.

Today is Chinese New Year, our fourth in Singapore since arriving here in 2006. We have a ticket in the $10 million Hong Bao lottery which will be drawn tomorrow, as has the rest of the population. The odds of winning a prize are therefore not great.

With the odds firmly in mind it should also be noted that today signals another milestone in Singapore's gambing history. The first casino at Sentosa opened for business (or 'integrated resort' to mask its real purpose).

Having to front up with $2,000 for an anuual fee to enter it quarantees that we will not be visiting. Compared to Las Vegas where one can enter any number of casinos free and dress down in the process, why would a punter want to pay for the privilege of entering the Singapore version?

If this entry tax was designed to stop the compulsive gamblers amongst the locals and PR's I really cannot see it working. They will simply resort to taking the ferry from Tanah Merah to one of the gambling boats in international waters off Batam (which the 'Aunties' do on a regular basis according to a taxi driver I travelled with recently). The vessel in question is called the Leisure World.

One final comment about Chinese New Year; it is very difficult to find any food places open as most of the hawker stalls are closed.

Even our local Indian stall is closed as the coffee shop proprietor he rents from is Chinese. We had to resort to an Ikea meal of baked chicken after a quarter of hour walk in the mid day heat.

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