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BIG 2 SMALL - THE GREAT MALAYSIAN DREAM
by TV Smith
a week, millions of Malaysians of all races, from
all walks of life congregate in tiny 10 by 20 feet
places. Men and women who will elbow you out of
the way at train and bus stations, queue patiently
at hundreds of betting shops scattered across the
country. The KTM (Kuda
Toto Magnum) shop is as ubiquitous as the neighborhood
Seven Eleven, a theatre of dreams for the average
Malaysian. Teenagers in shorts, yuppies with ties,
women with hair dyed blond, policemen in uniform
indulge in the great Malaysian tradition of betting
on 4 digit numbers. It was speculated that our Formula
One ace, Alexander Yoong fared miserably because
he slowed down to look for debris with numerical
significance whenever a fellow competitor crashes.
Can't blame him though, his sponsor was after all
Magnum, one of the leading gaming operators.
other popular Malaysian preoccupation of setting
senseless world records coexists happily with
this national pastime. The patriotic desire to
preserve Malaysia's record for having the world's
highest incidence of road accidents provides punters
with a limitless source of numbers and inspiration.
If broken vehicle license plates are not available,
Malaysians turn to the roadside "Datoks";
mythical shrines and statutes erected underneath
trees and big rocks. Opportunists appeased the
"Datoks" with ornaments of street worship
and received spiritual predictions in return.
Those blessed with winning numbers repay their
benefactor with fruits, slaughtered chickens or
a concrete shelter, depending on the size of the
windfall. If venturing into the darkness is not
appealing to you, "nombor" prediction
is now available online 24/7 from the "E-Datok".
Others, interpret their dreams with the help of
the pinkish Dream Book. A picture book designed
with the illiterate user in mind, it contrasts
sharply with the higher tech statistical analysis
software, books and websites
draw days, near closing hours, you'll find
a mess of triple parked cars and motorcycles
slotted haphazardly into every available space
outside the lottery shop. Oddly enough, there
is courteous social interaction in 11th hour
gambling. The encountered greetings are indicative
of the individual's hopes and motivation.
When you meet a Chinese acquaintance at the
gaming shop, the likely greeting is an optimistic
"Fatt Choy" (Prosper). The Malay
hopeful, on the other hand, sheepishly explains
his presence as "Berlabur" (Investing).
The guilt of deviating from sanctioned investments
is compounded by the ever present danger of
encountering religious department officers
on duty. The Indians would greet each other
with a redundant Numberela?" (Buying
Number?). A kind of mutual reaffirmation that
they are both at the right place, at the right
IN 1 STREET: A punter's paradise
Broken number plates often transformed into broken
dreams. At coffeshops, the morning after, it's not
uncommon to overhear someone cursing "Phui!
Chou Hye!" (Smelly Female Genital!) when he
discovers the winning number is 'terbalik' (reversed)
that of his forecast. Undaunted, another intrepid
gambler scans the results in the newspapers like
a diligent proof reader. Headlines and front pages
are ignored along with the fact that the odds are
mathematically against him in this game of chance.
For him, no odds are too big and no dreams too small.
version of this article appears in the January
18 issue of StarMag (The
© 2003 TV SMITH
Link to this article: http://www.tvsmith.net.my/duasen/270403_2big2small.html
See also: PLATE
| MBR - MALAYSIA BOLEH
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