Banking on Lady Luck
> Easy come, easy go, as they say to those who try to seek their fortunes by betting on chance
RECENTLY, someone recalled the story of that lucky man in Penang, who when faced with massive traffic jams and flooding two months ago, made a detour to a local betting outlet.
Lady Luck smiled upon him and he struck close to RM70 million!
In the latest round of floods to have hit Penang, I don’t know how many people became overnight millionaires following his example.
Talking about sudden fortunes reminds me of a quote by Prof Michael Mandelbaum, one of the world’s top 100 Global Thinkers, who said: “The windfall of great riches can, if mismanaged, make things worse, not better, for the recipients.”
I agree with him, as I had heard countless stories of sudden riches breaking up families and relationships. Here’s one story of financial mismanagement, lost opportunities and wasted youth.
There was once a man who worked in a coffee shop in one of the East Coast towns who later married the boss’ daughter.
This simple and happy-golucky man liked to bet on 3D and 4D numbers, and did strike on a number of occasions, mostly small winnings.
His streak of good fortune emboldened him to place even bigger bets, till one day, he struck big time. He even had to come to Kuala Lumpur to collect his winnings.
Then, the coffee shop from where his father-in-law operated had to be relocated. They found a new place, and lo and behold, it was next to a betting outlet – greater convenience for the lucky gambler, who continued to win.
It came to a situation where the more he won, the more he betted. Lady Luck continued to smile on him and he chalked up cumulative winnings of close to RM800,000!
The frequency of his winnings, big and small, made him believe that one could get easy money through betting. And that your luck won’t change – either for the better or worse.
But it gradually did make a turn for the worse. He made fewer strikes. No more big winnings.
By the time the punter realised this, it was too late. He didn’t even save for a rainy day.
He had taken the view that if he didn’t win during weekdays, the weekend may be a different story. And if this week he wasn’t lucky, he believed that he would in the following week.
And so it went on and on, until there wasn’t anything left for him to shout about.
I was told that at the height of his winning streak, he was asked to consider buying a three-storey shophouse costing half a million ringgit.
Banks were willing to lend in view of his good financial standing, while the building’s tenants would pay for the balance of the property through rentals.
Call it naivety, lack of wisdom, experience or education, but he declined to make the investment.
Today, his son, who is in his mid-30s, can only lament with tears in his eyes as he stands in front of the building that his father could have owned.
It was unfortunate that his father didn’t come across Nelson Mandela’s quote: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, or Benjamin Franklin’s saying: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interests”.
Sadly, the desolate young man is now working as a security guard, living with his aged parents in a low-cost flat, as they also didn’t pay heed to his education.
Jeff Yong, after making his mark in the twisty maze of mainstream journalism, has finally decided to enjoy what he does best – observing the unusual and recounting the gleeful. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.