What am I talking about? Gambling on the World Cup...
( For the benefit of my NZ readers, who seem to be blind to anything but Rugby, we are talking SOCCER !!)
Whilst the Vietnamese Govt may have some inexplicable (to me) rules & regulations, one of their more sensible is on gambling...the populace are not allowed to do it !!
For good reason...at the risk of sounding racist (anyone who knows me, knows this is far from truth) , not just Vietnamese,but most Asians, lose every ounce of good sense when it comes to gambling....it must be a quirk , in the genes!
Of course, just as with anything illegal, in any country, people will find ways around these restrictions...Vietnam is no different !
(At the border where I go to renew my visa, there are dozens of Casinos on the Cambodian side...every day, thousands of Vietnamese flood through to lose their monthly wages !)
Sooooo....along comes the World Cup!
Even though Vietnam is a Soccer loving country, they dont have a dog in the fight, so I have been pretty amazed at the level of interest, given that the matches have been televised very late at night & into the early hours of morning....
But, you can only watch it if you have cable TV, or stream it through your computer or phone (resulting in the internet slowing to an absolute crawl...grrrrr)...
Every cafe/bar showing the games, have been heaving with people until 2/3/4am for the past 3 weeks....with some pretty subdued faces the next day....not just with tiredness!
Yep....a lot of people have been indulging in some heavy duty illegal gambling, on the games...resulting in some heavy duty LOSING!
People whose monthly income is around $US150 (thats the average income here) are betting $100 a game....the moneylenders are doing a roaring trade!!!
There have been newspaper articles about the problem happening at the moment....houses/motorbikes etc being wagered....all good sense has left the house!
(a For Sale sign has appeared on my neighbours house...a widow with very little money to start with...she makes her living renting out her 5 spare rooms...apparently she is now in deep shit with the Saigon Mafia, for thousands she has borrowed off them...she is going to lose her income & a roof over her head, from betting on the World Cup...WTF???)
Everyone is being affected, not just the gamblers...WHY?
Theft is at an all time high....burglaries....muggings...handbag snatching..pickpocketing...you name it, its being done...all for money to pay debts, or more gambling stake...
Expensive dogs are being stolen, & actually snatched from people walking them...then sold to petshops or ransom asked !
This is a Facebook post...
Saiga's HouseLike Page
June 30 at 4:32 PMATTENTION: There have been many reports of stolen dogs this week! Especially in Thao Dien, but it's happening throughout Saigon. This is related to gambling on the World Cup. Please pay extra attention with your dog!
I have been advised, by my guesthouse family, not to go out at night...because they are worried that tourist snatching will be next !!!
(LMAO...I pity the fools that would try & snatch this large, stroppy , loud item...)
We have big security doors that Poppa closes at 11pm, but because three of the family work in their beer bar, out on the main street, every night...they come home in dribs & drabs from midnight on, with Hanh being the last, at 3.30am...so to avoid Poppa & Be (no:1 son), who sleep in the foyer, having to keep getting up to unlock, they never actually lock them..
But...the big padlock is going on, at the moment....which is a pain in the neck for me...I go out at 5.30-6am each morning, for my coffee...I am having to wake them, to let me out! Tuan (No:2 son) also goes out to University around this time, so him & I are synchonising our exit at the moment, to make things easier...
Poor old Poppa & Be are having to get up every couple of hours, from midnight on, to let people in or out....there is a lot of daytime sleeping going on!
Not that we are getting much sleep either....
Every bar, out on the main street, has huge screens showing the games, & with thousands of tourists, & Vietnamese, the noise level is incredible...
My alley is usually quiet in the wee hours, apart from some faint bass thumping of music, but the shouting & screaming from soccer fans, in the past couple of weeks, has been unbelievable....when South Korea played, my god, I thought I had a hundred screaming fans, in my room...LOL (Vietnam is a popular destination for Koreans)
Then, of course, you have everyone, en masse, going home after the matches are over...loud drunk shouting...angry people bellowing & smashing things...
Roll on the next two weeks, when it is all over !!!