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Friday, October 26, 2007

Picking up the flak

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Related post: In Memoriam: Lim Goh Tong (1918 - 2007)

Walski doesn't mind flak. He's used to it. But when he picked some up, via the comments, for the Lim Goh Tong obituary post, Walski felt a few things needed to be clarified. No big deal, really. But when one is faced with writer's block (or blogger's block, in this case), any opportunity that crosses the mind gets addressed.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe road to FLAK is sometimes paved with good intentions...

First off - Walski's admiration for the late tycoon lies in how he managed to develop something out of nothing. And also the synergistic diversification of related businesses that make up his empire. That's all - nothing more, nothing less.

Granted, the development of Genting has somewhat damaged the mountain top. However, compare it to the utter devastation of Cameron Highlands, and you'll probably find that Genting is still relatively well-preserved. Reminds Walski of Norway, actually, where development is done in harmony with nature, rather than against it. Must be the feng shui that went into building Genting... who knows...

Secondly, about the casino and gambling. For the record, Walski doesn't believe in gambling. But neither does Walski think that blaming the Genting casino for some of the social ills that commenter Anonymous had mentioned, is accurate, either.

... but the fact is many people had killed themselves becasue they had lost everthing in Genting casinos, many women were forced to prostitue themselves to pay off their gambling debts too, how many families and homes were broken, how many went bankrupt, how many commit CBT....

Now, without any quantitative proof that any of these could be attributed to the Genting casion, per se, Walski will reserve comment. Also, without quantitative evidence, the fact is that what Anonymous has stated as a fact, in fact, isn't. Walski's not saying that it's entirely bullshit, though, because he's heard similar stories - so somewhere along the line, there's probably some element of truth someplace.

But think about this for a moment: the real root cause of road accidents and fatalities, like it or not, are the motor vehicles themselves. Take away motor vehicles, and immediately you irradicate road fatalities. But would anyone in their right mind even consider doing this?

Similarly, sugar kills more people daily than marijuana does - a Harvard study has shown that 3.16 million people die every year due to high blood sugar. Do you see any attempt to make sugar illegal, since it's so deadly?

Same goes for gambling. Nobody put a gun to anyone's head and forced them to gamble their life away at Genting, as far as Walski knows. It was purely greed, and perhaps lack of self-control. Okay, chronic gambling is a disease, Walski admits. But then again so is chronic anything.
(fastening the verbal flak jacket, and more, in the full post)

Interestingly enough, the Quran has this to say about gambling:

They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say, "In them is great harm, and a benefit for people; but their harm is greater than their benefit."
(first half of Verse 219, Surah 2)

Similarly, in Surah 5, Verse 90: "O you who acknowledge, intoxicants, and gambling, and altars, and arrows of chance are tools of affliction used by the devil. You shall avoid him so that you may be successful."

In other words, the harm of gambling outweighs the benefit... so approach it at your own peril.

Besides, Genting Highlands is a lot more than just the casino. Don't know about the hoes though - Lord-Panda-from-the-future seems to think they're abundant there. Personally, Walski's never bumped into any hoes. Seen a few tractors, even shovels and spades. But no hoes.

So, bottom line is this - Walski does not condone gambling, nor does he condone prostitution. Neither does he think criminalizing both activities are going to irradicate them - so why waste so much resource in trying to achieve something that's unachievable?

As Brighteyes rightly indicated in his comment on the same post: "a prohibition on gambling will only drive it underground, where there's no regulation and the government will be unable to tax the income".

In the end, tho - it's all up to us, to use our common sense and intellect that's been bestowed upon us. It's the gamblers themselves that ruin their own sorry lives and the lives of those around them.