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Merry Chinese New Year

It's the year of the Ox. Which means that I am no longer "fan tai sui"-ing. For those english speaking people out there, "fan tai sui" is a term that the chinese always use to describe a year of bad luck. Every year, certain zodiac animals of the lunar calandar will "fan tai sui" because they so-call pissed off some big shot god or something to that extent, and therefore will have a bad year ahead of them.

People who "fan tai sui" usually go down to temples to pray for their safety and forgiveness for the year ahead during the first few days of the Chinese calandar and have to go back to give thanks for a safe year at the end of year.

Looking back, it did seem that there were many unfortunate incidents that happened to me last year. I don't know if you can call them unlucky events caused by the gods or just plain old bad luck. I do know however, that I have the gambling luck of someone would would probably be very well-liked by the gambling den owners and loan sharks.

As the age old saying goes: "When Indians get together they sing and dance. When Malays get together they eat and talk. When Chinese get together they gamble."

Every Chinese New Year, no matter which corner of Singapore you go to, you will find Chinese gathered together around any form of flat, surroundable surface with either a deck of cards or a box of mahjong tiles, trying to double the amount of money in their wallets. As such, although I know I'd be better off memorising the serial numbers of the notes in my wallet, I have no choice but to be obliged to join in the fun, which usually results in me going home with shallow pockets.

Although I'm a sceptic that doesn't believe in the existance of luck, or more specifically unluckiness, it has been tested and proven time and time again that my hands are not ment for gambling.

I still remember an experiment I once did when I was bored. Spreading a deck of cards face down on my bed, I drew out 4 random cards hoping that they would be "big" cards. What did I get? 2, 4, 5 and J.

Now for the second test. After reshuffling the deck, I again drew out 4 random cards in hopes of them now being "small" cards. Any guesses for the results? 5, 10, Q and Ace. That's a double confirmation of my 25% drawing accuracy on any random game. And yes, it has stayed true for many decades.

But being the overconfident bastard that I am, this lifetime streak of "bad luck" has not really affected me much throughout my life, apart from distancing me from my money. Maybe it's because I've never taken luck into consideration in anything that I do.

My philosophy in life has always been "If you want something, give 101% effort in achieving it. And do it in style." If I really want to do something, I will only put in all my effort to get the best possible result or not do it at all. As I always say, I don't do half-fu*cked things.

I don't believe in luck, but I believe in chance. Luck is when you hope to strike lottery by buying $100 worth of ToTo tickets during the Chinese New Year Ang Bao draw. Chance is the entire flow of events that allowed you to have that $100 to spend on your ToTo tickets.

Instead of buying 200 ordinary pick ToTo tickets and checking them against the teletext results screen until you get papercuts all over your fingers, I would rather take the chance to invest that $100 in something that would definitely reep benefits in the future like taking up a course or buying something that you like. It doesn't have to produce monetary gains but at least you get a sense of achievement from that $100.

Some people have all the luck, while others just stand by the side in envy. But don't forget, luck may not be fair to all of us but chance is always fair.

Here's another example. Some people might have the luck of having rich relatives who give them $50 hong baos every chinese new year. You might not have that luck but chinese new year is always a chance to collect hong baos. Make an effort, visit more friends and relatives, be nice to your relatives so that they will give you bigger packets next year. And you will find that that $50 hong bao will soon be peanuts compared to your stack of $4 hong baos.

Hong Bao Collection

And that's my Red Packet Collection for this year

Anyhow written on Jan 30, 2009 at 6:59 PM

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