One of the first things young Edward asked was if I wanted to buy his sunglasses.
“They are of a good brand, were expensive,” he said.
I was not very interested. He said he needed the money to buy food. Sorry, still not interested.

Edward was staying in the same hostel I was and later that night we got talking.
“I’m going for a job in China soon,” he explained. ” Work for a friend of my father.”
I should come and visit him if I was ever in China. We befriended each other on facebook.
I told him how I stayed near KL before I came to Kuching. Something about Gunting Highland came in the conversation.

Gunting Highland is a place about 30min drive from KL. It is on higher ground so the temperatures are much cooler there than in the city. That is not why most people go to this place though, it is also a casino. A big one according to the stories.

The shear mention of this place had an effect on Edward. His eyes started to twinkel and in the next two days he told me “all” about his gambling escapades. I had before me a true gambling addict. 26 years old and he had gambled away more money than I have ever seen together. I had never met a gambler before. Here are some of his stories.

It all started when he was in college. From the moment the classes where over he would go to his part time job and work till late at night only to get up early the next morning to go back to class. Something happened with the job, I have forgotten what it was but at a certain point he was no longer working. He had saved a nice sum of money by that time and was bored. Why not go to Gunting Highland? He had a car, he had a friend, he had the money.
At first he didn’t really know what to do. He walked in with his friend and walked over to a place where a lot of people where standing. Hundreds of Ringits where traded in for chips, so he just did the same. He walked over to one of the tables and started playing, he won, then he won again. He walked out with 3 times the money he had walked in with, humble amounts but he had won. That is how they reeled young Edward in.

His sister had asked him to stop. His sister was not his sister, but his boss. They where such good friends he called her his sister. The gambling had gotten out of hand. Not only his sister but many other people close to him had pleeded him to stop. It had worked, one month already he had not gambled.
One afternoon he was hanging out with his new girlfriend, they only had been together for about a week. Bored as they where they had decided to go to Gunting Highland, just to enjoy the cool air, not to go inside. Of course, 5 minutes after they had arrived young Edward had taken the surprising amount of cash he had on him into the casino. He gambled it all away in minutes while his girlfriend was waiting in the car. She was only 18 years old and you have to be 21 to get in. He came back to the car where he had another 20000 Ringit stashed away. While his girlfriend was counting the money, they walked in the casino again. You see, he new that when you show them the money,they will not ask any ID. They traded in the cash and started playing. He was in luck that night, his girlfriend not so much. Whenever she would put 10 ringit on red, he would put a 100 on black. He always won, she always lost. They played for hours, till all they had left was one chip of 50 ringit. I don’t remember if they won or lost but they played untill 7 in the morning.
They went to their car but Edwards girlfriend was worried he was to tired to drive. They would sleep in the car for a few hours before driving home. This was not according to Edward. He took the last cash his girlfriend had left and went back inside. He won some of the money back, not everything though.

He new very well how the system worked.
“At first they give you and then they eat, eat, eat.” The bank always wins. He even tried to explain me something about how the cards get scanned so the casino knows what cards have been played, or something like that. I didn’t really understand the entire story. He could not stop, he new it was bad for him, he new he could not win but he could not stop playing. He very well new he had an addiction. He had played away his laptop, his car,… everything. So much so that he didn’t even know where he was going to stay when his days in the hostel were finished. When he told me this, that was the one time I saw true desperation in his eyes.

He had stopped playing in the big casino’s, he convinced me but that didn’t prevent him from playing online. Just small amounts, he assured me: anything between 10 and about 400 MYR (2 to 90 euro). He played his games till deep in the night, never stopping when he was ahead.

I hope young Edward can find the motivation to stop playing one day, maybe working in China, where gambling is restricted by the government, will indeed help but then again, I am sure that he can find his way to the back alley games quit easily.


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