Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Public Reading?

After visiting the Airport Freight Forwarding Center for a project last Saturday, we went to the mall in TungChung for lunch. There I was surprised to find a large number of people reading. They were mostly reading newspapers, not books. Still, it was rather unusual to find so many people reading in a public place, except perhaps in a library. Some of them were even making notes. How odd!

Then I looked up. And as slow as I was, I had to notice the Jockey Club Off-track Betting Center (賽馬會投注站). These people were not really reading. They were studying the horse racing or soccer betting pages! This was a Saturday after all. But studying is the right word – they were totally concentrated and serious about it.

Image these much energy being put into more productive studies such as information technology, engineering, science, business, literature, music, arts, design, …, Hong Kong would have been transformed into a truly knowledge-based society in no time!


Anonymous said...

So it's not an exaggeration to say that the Chinese are very into gambling: even Macau has surpassed Las Vegas in terms of betting revenue. If we are willing to better channel our energy and our resources, ours will be a great nation.

StephenC said...

In the early days of soccer betting, I overheard a young lady talking excitedly and knowledgeably about Liverpool and Arsenal in a KCR train. I was quite surprised for a short while. Then I realized she was probably interested in the betting, and not necessarily in the game itself.

an old friend said...

Well, our government forces us into gambling through all means...

We pay our tax, but the nine years of 'free' education for our children takes off from a lottery game.

We are forced to 'save money' for our coffin. However, it's not a bank to keep our saving but the hands of a bunch of gamblers that may not even be doing better than the C9s who sit in front of the 'golden fish tank' every day before they go to the food market.


StephenC said...

I don't know for sure whether gambling is a uniquely Chinese weakness. But consider this:

From pre-history we Chinese have been very fond of trying to determine the gods' will by drawing lots, essentially gambling.

The Hong Kong movie industry produces an overwhelming number of movies related to gambling and crime.

Gambling on the soccer games in mainland China is so prevalent that people lose interest in the games as a sport. Soccer is stagnating in China partly because of this.

The government' attitude seems to be: it is bad if you do it by yourselves. But it is OK if I do (host) it.