Monday, 27 August 2012

Do Addicted Chinese Gamblers Deserve All The Punishment They Get?


Peter Chan at the Christian Centre for Gambling Rehabilitation in King’s Cross
Peter Chan, of the Christian Centre for Gambling Rehabilitation in King’s Cross

RECOVERING gambling addicts this week joined activists calling on the government to toughen up gaming laws that will restrict the soaring number of betting shops.

Members of the Chinese community, who say their lives have been ruined by gambling, added their voices to a campaign being orchestrated by figures including Peter Chan of the Christian Centre for Gambling Rehabilitation in King’s Cross.

The sufferers, who agreed to speak to the Tribune, told of how they had lost a fortune in betting shops and casinos.

Their intervention comes as the government examines whether to amend new legislation brought in by the previous Labour administration, which has allowed large numbers of bookies to open up in areas including Archway.

In a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary screened last week, Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman admitted that her party had been “wrong” to liberalise gaming legislation – a move which has allowed increasing numbers of betting shops to open on the high street.

Members of the Chinatown Gambling Concern Group, which believes Chinese people are particularly vulnerable to getting into debt through gambling, wants a consultation being run by the Department for Communities and Local Government to result in more obstacles being placed in the path of companies wishing to open new betting shops.

If Casinos and Betting shops are the only social option for Chinese who feel left out from  mainstream British Culture, and a lack of strong British Chinese leadership cannot provide a better social alternative for our community , then is the Christian religion the only solution for addicted Chinese gamblers?

Read more:  http://www.islingtontribune.com/news/2012/aug/addicts-taking-bookies-campaign-curb-rise-betting-shops

Other reading: http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/dear-nat-wei-british-chinese-dream-or.html

67 comments:

  1. The culture of gambling within the Chinese community - mostly the old - needs to change. The fact that there are few if any social gathering points for ethnic Chinese to socialise without encountering racial problems is part and parcel of the wider issue.

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    1. its mostly fobs that gamble regularly in bookmakers and casinos, they dont speak much english, in far east many of them would probably buy stock or shares, but they cant do that in the Uk, they need to open accounts with stock brokers, their english prevents them from doing that, their limited english also limits their access to organisations that can help their gambling addiction. I think its sad that they have to rely on help from a Chinese Christian organisation which obviously has an ulterior motive of recruiting them into the church of Christ.

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    2. also, these types of chinese tend to be quite lower class, uneducated mostly from catering industry, theres lots of places they can go in central london for cultural entertainment, there are museums, galleries, music halls, theatre, but theyre so FOBBY as perpectual foreigners, so low in cultural capital, this is beyond their understanding. It kind of goes back to the other argument about Chinese parents being 'anti-Art.' They dont understand art, they dont understand music, they dont understand theatre.

      http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.com/2012/04/chinese-parents-art.html

      what do these people do once theyve finished slaving away in the kitchen in their retirement? They basically have no artistic culture to fall back on nor indulge in, gambling loss is the price they pay for being anti-art.

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    3. @Anonymous25 August 2012 11:13

      Agreed that we need a bigger variety of social venues, what do we have apart from Casinos and restaurants but will council do anything about it? Nope, Chinese have money, and bookmakers/casinos see an easy target, end of story.

      I actually enjoy going to the casino now and again, and what is noticeable is the amount of other BBCs.

      But BBCs have, in my opinion, more discipline than elder cantoFOBS in their gambling. Its the elders who have nowhere to go or stay to kill time who end up getting sucked in.

      But for a relaxing night out in town, If you had to choose a mostly-Chinese ambient environment and chat with friends , or a pub full of raging drunk white rugby fans, which would you choose?


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    4. haha are you implying casinos and bookmakers are ambient?

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    5. The sound of FOBS thumping tables and cheering over roulette to some 90s handbag beat can be relaxing, yes. But then im weird that way.

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    6. @BBCz id agree with you to a point re: Art, but then most of the art in London is white art unless you count the antiques that the Brits looted from the summer palace that are in the national gallery.

      If Chinatown forms such an important part of Chinese community, why don't we have our own Chinese cinema to watch latest China films or some HK classics, if we are too lazy to create our own?

      How much of our lack of cultural appreciation is to blame FOBS and how much to blame local council? Bit of both, but in regards to the excess of bookies in Chinatown , I blame FOB leaders for playing along with it.

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    7. Here's the Chairman of the Chinese Community Centre in Gerrard Street

      http://www.chinatownlondon.org/category/my-chinatown/2/122/8

      Q:What is your favourite thing about working in Chinatown?

      A:It's that Chinatown is not just a commercial centre. Chinatown embraces strong community life, the conservation of Chinese tradition and culture, and a mixture of the East and West sprit that's very unique.

      haha more like, 'our' own chinatown has been reappropriated for western consumption so that in gobbling up western culture, we are in turn tolerated in the name of multiculturalism , whilst educated to see ourselves as either exotic or as honorary whites.

      But can we actually ever have a genuine British Chinese social identity? Oh no, now go bring me my crispy wontons there's a good chap.

      And everytime you stroll through chinatown, without that social identity, you are actually celebrating this fact.

      Problem is the brain-lock is so deep, amongst the FOBS and those that are still asleep, that it'll probably take a long time to un-learn, if ever. Esp if we keep thinking the huge gaping hole in our British social identity as 'okay'

      Groceries, Herbal shops, Massage shops, Our British Chinese existance is to solely to serve non-Chinese community and be good little kowtowists and dont make a fuss. End of story.

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    8. I agree with how it's sad that the only avenue of hope for the disadvantaged, addicts etc. are Christian centres, which of course have their ulterior motive to follow the teachings of christ and subscribe to the religious indoctrination.

      we need chinese businesses, organisations, communities to self fund worthy initiatives for our people, free from religious or outside interference

      Delete
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      Delete
  2. I remember reading this posted on a forum populated by majority white Brits - and no surprise the majority were unsympathetic, with them writing "its not the bookmakers fault".

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    Replies
    1. what site was it posted on? some poker gambling site maybe?

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    2. TheStudentRoom

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  3. Personally I know two FOB elders - one a relative and one dad of a BBC mate whose gotten into serious trouble with gambling - one went into serious debt, threatened with divorce, other, mates dad had to sell the family house in foreclosure, as a result, he only speaks to his dad with a distant approach.

    In both instances, what do our British Chinese' leaders 'have to say about this? Go to Christian church?

    Institutions such as the Christian Centre, or CMHA for worse situations treat the symptom directly, but if our leaders did more to promote interest and engagement in the lives of ordinary individuals and promoting the idea of an actual British Chinese social identity, and not on the 'exotica' default that we have, we probably wouldnt be in this mess we are in now

    A community needs to be nurturing interest in each other as individuals , rather than being represented by dimsum and the like of some glossy boring life of some owner of twenty restaurants or a british chinese policeman, these same addicted, lonely, bored working class FOBS /OAPS who need to see that there is a sense of community for them, so they dont have to either spend their retirement all day long watching TVB or stuck behind a computerised roulette wheel screen on their own all day.

    http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/accidental-hero-of-hk6000-handouts.html

    If we arent going to be honest about our lack of interest in other Chinese may as well forget any sense of Chinese pride. Because saying you are proud and then not giving a crap about others doesnt quite match.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happybritishchinese, I believe that limiting betting shops will not curb the problems of addiction. If someone is addicted, he/she will find another place. It's always about spotting early signs of addiction and losing control. If anything, gambling is really deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. I always wonder whether that is a symptom of past struggles and having very little to live on, so when given half a chance, gambling seems like the perfect option. SF.

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    2. My point above wasnt so much about limiting betting shops rather creating an alternative for a community to share in. Again theres that imbalance. Is that really it money and food for British Chinese 'culture'? We are the most unsociable ethnic minority in the UK, and so far theres nothing else to break us out of it and unless there are alternatives, BBCz mentioned 'art' above, it can only create more ( if its even possible) fragmentation and disinterest and distance from the idea of a 'community'

      In fact, do you even see us as a 'community'? what does that word mean to you?

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    3. Happybritishchinese, there is a community for FOBs, mainly those who first came here in waves over the sixties and seventies. Whereas, the next generation (BBCs), there is less of a community because of merging in with this country's culture and not bonding due to people moving away.

      I personally believe FOBs have a bigger support network, and as for communities, I know my parents go to daily ballroom style classes purely created for the Chinese with Chinese instructors. They have special dinner nights like Karoke and half price tickets to westend theatre shows at least once a week. In fact, many are enjoying the theatre for the first time. So, it's not always a night at the casino. SF.

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    4. ahhh, good for them.

      What about us? facebook?

      Delete
  4. i guess the casino is the only place where Fobs and the like can forget their sad existence, for a brief moment it provides the excitment of winning (losing in most cases) and forgeting their limited tragic life, where else can a FOb who can't speak english go in the wee hours of the late night to meet other fobs and socialise and have free sandwiches, I am shocked by the amount of chinese in these places. I am aware of numerous of low paid TA workers who can't break the habit, and spend all their time-off and their wages straight to gambling, it a cycle they can't break, very tragic.

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    1. It's even worse when you are sitting right next to one, like the lady i sat next to who asked me how to cash the money out from the machine.

      I thought she was done, but no she was back, with more and lost again.

      Funnily enough, I was on an unusual winning streak but as crass as it may sound, at the same time, I was feeling really bad for her trying not to watch her lose, then feeding it more twenty pound notes over and over , like no tomorrow.

      Almost made me feel guilty about winning, hard as that may believe to sound. And yes mean that honestly, not with a BBC moronic clown patronising tone.

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  5. Before people shoot me with this comment, but it really is part of the culture to gamble. From the horses to Mah-jong. Someone mention stocks and shares, it's all the same. It's all about gambling. Like all things in life, some can become addicted and that's when it becomes a problem.

    Is it socialising? I don't think so. I know some FOBs who will happily turn up to a Mah-Jong venue run as a business, playing with people they don't know. They bring pack lunch with them. Is that addiction? Maybe it's culture. These activities may remind them of what it means to relax, the Chinese FOB way. It's not sad, it's their generation. SF.

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    Replies
    1. Okay but then so what about the increasing number of betting shops and new casinos that have opened up near Chinatown? Should they be a restricted in number or are they just making the most of a business opportunity ie suckering in FOBS?

      And unlike the far east,these Casinos are the only 24-hr 'socialising places' that are open. Surely you would've have thought this plays into the the idea of 'socialising' esp when these FOBS have little where else to go? Bright lights, drinks , lots of noise,slots, testing your luck. If they wanted to just gamble couldn't they just go to someones house and stick to mahjong...or game of cards.

      I've seen whole FOB families taking out their elder FOB folks to make a big night out of it and dress up, which some of them do. Not socialising?

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    2. Happybritishchinese, as I said before, I don't know too many Chinese people other than a few families, so can only go by those few, and gossip I hear here and there. Yes I have heard about some people making a whole date for the casino where whole groups meet up, but it's probably for show amongst friends when they dress up. My mum dresses up just to see the doctors, it's this facade thing that I will talk about in (one day) one of my topics.

      The culture of gambling is very deep rooted. There are plenty of sayings in Chinese related to gambling or acts of gambling. That can only mean one thing, it's part of the culture and history.

      As far as I'm concerned, FOBs will rant about going out to nightclubs and getting addicted to drugs and alcohol, and we are concerned about gambling and its consquences when addiction takes hold. It's all about seeing things from different viewpoints. FOBs were brought up around gambling, and most see it as harmless sport, just like how many BBCs might enjoy a drink or two and go out late to clubs to the dismay of our parents. That was their generation, and their thing, so I don't see it as some kind of dangerous tide about to sweep a whole generation away.

      As for the gambling laws, I'm all for shortening their hours. But I don't personally think it will sweep away addiction which affects a small portion of gamblers. SF.

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    3. SF can you see the correlation between low wage FOBS difficulty to integrate in british society and increase of bettingshops/casinos?

      It's nothing to do with 'shortening hours'. In an ideal world it's about protesting against the opening of these new bookmakers that have been allowed to suck the blood from these lonely lower wage FOB victims who really need community support, but don't get it because there ISN'T any.

      Do you think the article exaggerates how many of these FOBS are affected?

      'They often don’t have family support,” he added. “They can feel lonely and isolated. Popping out for a bet helps to break the tedium.”'

      Even if these FOBS have their own FOB club, i'll guess that once these same victims get into addiction problem the same members of that 'club' suddenly stop wanting to know them because it's 'money-related trouble'

      And you seem to endorse all this with a 'let them hang by their own neck it doesn't bother me' selfish attitude.

      http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/british-chinese-identity.html

      Cant you see the root of the problem here is not 'gambling' per se, but companionship and friendship and social warmth and those things that we are supposed to hide behind a stoic exterior.

      Gambling for Chinese is never soley about money anyway, in my opinion,it's about 'testing your luck'. Logically why would these down and out low wage fobs want to test their luck when they're so obviously devoid of it?

      They aren't doing it to win money, they are doing it to fill the gap in their life.

      I'm not saying ranting on here will change anything but hopefully someone influential from the FOB community reading this can help e.g: social activities such as gambling games (with less money), activities that get these victims to know each other - not a Christian way, and not getting discount tickets to see white theatre.

      When you are down and out, I imagine, discipline is the last thing you exercise when going to a casino.

      But does 'not knowing many Chinese families' give you an excuse not to take interest in the lives of some of these sufferers?

      With the typical self interest attitude we display to each other,combined with a real sense of community, it's unsurprising the plight of these kind of victims go unheard.

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    4. Happybritishchinese, so you feel they are going unheard. Is that unheard from the Chinese community free from Christianity?

      I'm all for closing down all these seedy betting shops if it was possible, but sensed that addiction was happening long before 24 hour casinos etc. Having said that, I have no figures to hand so can't be sure.

      As for gambling with low amounts of money, they exist and maybe should be promoted more, but apart from shopping, going to theatre and karoke nights, I don't know what else can interest FOBs. SF.

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    5. ' Is that unheard from the Chinese community free from Christianity?'

      Yes, obviously.

      There should be a rehab social alternative for these addicts provided by the Chinese community that has nothing to do with religion.

      This is a Chinese problem based on Chinese culture, with Chinese people helping Chinese people in need, and there should be a solution that comes from the Chinese community.

      You can tell how strong a community is by how its weakest members are treated. Obviously if you think shopping going to the theatre and karoake is the solution for gambling addicts, then you dont seem to have much of a clue about helping people in need.

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    6. "My mum dresses up just to see the doctors, it's this facade thing that I will talk about in (one day) one of my topics. "

      i want to pick up on this point. it's not just our parents generation either, you see chinese women with white guys, the women are dressed up with short skirts or clubbing gear, as if out to impress - the guy is in dirty clothes, torn jeans, scruffy hoodie. and the one chinese guy i've seen with a white woman, it was the same - he was looking pretty dapper in a crisp shirt, she had baggy jeans and a worn jumper.

      I know for a fact that no chinese girl would date (or even make contact with) a chinesr guy in similar attire, so why the need to impress scruffy people?

      i suppose it goes back to the white is better than us chinese inferiority complex that many of us have

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  6. The only time a FOB dons a suit is either he is going to a wedding or he must be going to the Casino...

    I don't gamble anymore its a mugs game, my teenage years were briefy misguided on fruit machines, later i was introduced to the casino by a BBC friend, and with fools's luck i won a lot the first few times and went crazy with the money dining at top restaurants, purchasing bling... then i took up poker and lost very heavily and was choked with disillusionment. As a remedy, I took up going to lap dancing joints to get my kicks NO no not really ! Bad idea LOL.
    When one of BBC mates go this dream job in HK and left UK his mum, suffering from empty nest syndrome, spends all her time at the big C alone, she looked ashamed and pretended not to see me, when i saw her leaving.
    China town weekends for many BBC family isn't just dimsum family meal anymore, but lets got to the big C. It great cynical business for the owners.

    ... Agreed a new social space and place is needed, a place for example where community politics, social activites and non-religious volunteering can flourish, i have been involved in a few social projects (not olmypics) but none are "bbc" orientiated but there are few bbcs present, these are and have been worthy social learning experiences.
    Gambling has a long chinese history, George Orwell observed that the chinese are great gamblers, some of the earlist photos of the chinese in cruise liners are of them gambling "pie gow" and Fan tan. I think all cultures have their vices, casino happens attract Fobs for the reasons above.

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    Replies
    1. Nice one on the volunteering, and I agree as long as its a fun and exciting part of our culture, things probably wont be changing any time soon.

      Theres a new one opened up recently - do you know the old Hippodrome Nightclub? It's now a three floor casino. Looks like it on the inside too- bar, etc. Doesn't really do much for me, but when I checked it out, just what you said,FOB families night out. Strange.

      But like your BBC mates mum, with nothing to do, thats when the addiction hits.

      I dont know, I still think theres something sinister about this huge increase of betting shops and whatnot taking advantage of Chinese love of gambling. Almost like saying' we've no problem accepting you as being British, but we dont mind taking your money'

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  7. Not long before London's Chinatown becomes Gamblingtown

    http://www.westendextra.com/news/2012/aug/campaigners-say-west-end-being-turned-gamblingtown-another-betting-shop-gets-go-ahead

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    1. 'The society’s licensing chair David Gleeson said “vulnerable persons” were at risk of falling victim to gambling addiction – views that have been echoed by influencial figures in the Chinese Community including Edmond Yeo of the Chinese Information and Advice Centre in Charing Cross Road.'

      Not sure who the ' PROMINENT amenity group' that article is refering to, but as I suggested, It's our own community leaders that should be protesting. And if FOBS, who make up the large part of the gamblers cared about others like other ethnic groups, they would rally at this gross excess.

      Course, reality is Chinatown is an oriental attraction for white people, FOBS are self interested and BBCs have little voice, so yet another tactic to further disperse an already dissolved British Chinese community via ruining susceptable low wage earning culturally segregated FOB goes unchallenged.

      Chinese obsession with the sole pursuit of money at the cost of empathy and compassion towards each other will be our downfall. Tragic.



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    2. Chinese community leader should advertise sponsored ( free) group team-building classes, to improve our sense of solidarity and trust amongst each other. Like the ones that companies pay for to improve your job skills. Course for enough people to sign up we'd need to have 'saving our british chinese identity' as a strong enough goal.

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    3. chinatown is not an oriental attraction for white people, the chinatown supermarkets, the betting shops and the travel agents are used almost exclusively by chinese people, the numbers of whites in these places are tiny. now the restaurants are mix of chinese and non-chinese customers. And its not just low waged people who gamble, havent you read the article? there are examples of people who gambled away two houses that they owned. Some of the gamblers are restaurant owners.

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    4. Fair enough, but if some of the gamblers are restaurant owners, and even the chairman of Chinatown runs a restaurant herself, with that much clout, why don't they protest?

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  8. Chinese can go to Gambler's Anonymous and appear to be the majority race in most casinos I've ever entered. Yet Gambler's Anonymous meetings do not have Chinese in them (few and far between). Addiction is addiction. Chinese can recover too!

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  9. Happybritishchinese, whilst it's a nice idea about getting a community together and trying to create courses on being open and sharing, isn't that in a strange way changing the Chinese culture altogether?

    Aren't a lot of Chinese people closed and want to keep problems closed or simply only within the family? Even a simple idea like courses to learn about being honest and trusting might be one too many.

    As another poster says, in Gamblers Anonymous, you will see virtually no Chinese. Not because it's not open to them, but more about shame and not letting others know. This is the Chinese way. The western way is to share and create a culture of being humble and accepting a problem, whilst the Chinese way is to hide and hopefully, if you think less about something it will no longer exist. SF.

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    1. Too late for FOBS maybe, but for those already adjusted to western ways for BBCs such as

      Anonymous28 August 2012 07:32

      who has actually done some volunteer work,obviously not impossible.

      Ive actually had some experience with some of these gov paid organisations and lets just say some of these FOBS dont have the best people skills.

      Learning to listen and developing empathy is a major thing lacking in Chinese culture, but as western born Chinese shouldnt we try and adopt some of those things if we know we are lacking?

      Today, I emailed the head of chinatown's restaraunt to see if i can speak to her directly, regarding this matter.Because the Chinatown website is just some webmaster with a non-Chinese surname. Probably wont get a response, and If i really wanted to, I ought to call her to explain.

      Point is, I'm not a fluent Cantonese speaker, Im not a FOB, and yet I'll try and step out of my self interested Chinese bubble once in a while to attempt to make a tiny difference in addition to typing comments on here all day long. It's not difficult, one just need to think less of your one's own precious ego once in a while.

      As you say in these situations a FOB will likely tend to share with another Chinese, than a non-Chinese,its probably all the more reason we need to master these kind of skills of support and empathy in our culture. Let's face it, pride is one thing, taking time to develop skills like empathy and listening are something else.

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    2. HBC I respect your pro-action, my feww thoughts, about gambling addictions, FOBs don't or can't deal with it like western peeps by a talking therapy cure or with some self-improvement program, they are cynical of psychobabble. Chinese culture has no wishy washy psychology tradition, its philosopy it to cope life as it is, and deal with it.
      About the chinese class divide in these matters, uneducated FOBS have no appetite for intelligent books, awareness of global politics, ideas, serious arts etc things that one can engage with mentally and socially, they don't have the cultual capitial so they just live in a crude instinctive means.
      Its becomes even more tragic when these ilk decide to have children and when the children grow up have to pick up the pieces of their flaws. Many BBCs are from dyfunctional families without being aware of it, because the parents are not aware of it themselves. If the parents don't speak english and have a gambling addiction, your coping mechanism is working overload to survive, thats without even dealing with racism and identity issues... so its important to nip the gambling bug before it becomes an addiction, anyway thats my quik rant see if other BBCs think.

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    3. 'Many BBCs are from dyfunctional families without being aware of it, because the parents are not aware of it themselves.'

      Okay, not much to add to that one, your comment hit me like ton of bricks, except to say if BBCs are going to create any clout in British Chinese social identity, its up to us who ARE educated to empower ourselves, as a group, to try and convince FOB community that they need to listen to our opinions.

      As for the head of Chinatown's reply, I'll keep you all updated, but if London based FOB Chinese gamblers and restaurant owners, won't even speak up for issues that affect their own wallet, as a concerned BBC individual with limited social impact, there's not much I can add, except sit on the sidelines and say nothing as more Chinese become hapless victims of white/white subcategory corporate greed.

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    4. Update: Was surprised to receive a nice reply from Christine Yau , Head of Chinatown, who would like me to share this message with any of you guys who are interested in protesting with me :-

      '8 betting shops ,9 including the 1 in Charing Cross Road. Last month, for the very first time, the extended application by William Hill was turned down, that’s our first victory with the support of the businesses in Little New Port Street.

      The council is fully aware of the problem and they are taking action to address that, plse submit your view and encourage whoever you can by post to :

      Chris Wroe, Licensing ,Policy Manager, Westminster City council 64 Victoria Street London SW1e 6QP. Only by changing the law, betting and gambling could be curbed a bit.

      It is very nice to have your email of concern. Best wishes cy '

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    5. excellent, thank you and christine for the dedication to stopping this disease

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  10. Betting shops are getting out of hand for all people that have come across gambling in their life.

    Its dangerous for a lot of reasons , more-so we'r not being educated the real facts enough on what gambling (especially FOBT's) do to the brain.

    Its causing ADHD and Mental issues on mass.

    As someone who was unfortunate enough to develop an immediate addiction to gambling after winning £500 on the roulette from a fiver, in only the 2nd time ever i'd been in a bookies , i'v felt how much of a power hold this has on people.

    Not only felt, but saw directly the huge numbers of young people getting hooked on fixed odds betting terminals.

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