At least some of the Thai people have embraced the true spirit of Euro 2008 and have opened betting schemes. 99 people have been arrested for illegal gambling activities, although the amount of cash apparently recovered seems a little low. Thais, to generalize, love gambling and there are all kinds of ways in which they can seek to gain instant fortune. Young people are starting even younger, if this research is to be believed. A few years ago, when football was shown on the television people could text in to predict the final score and the man of the match (they don’t show women’s football) – there would be a lucky draw from those who predicted correctly and the winner would receive a new mobile telephone or a buffalo or something. This has all now been stopped because it promotes gambling and, for reasons it would take too long to explain here, we are currently going through a moralistic phase in society, in public at least.
No doubt we will shortly start seeing newspaper stories blaming late night football watching for students falling asleep in class, being disrespectful to parents and teachers and having sex with each other. By this time next week, I would have thought.
Anyway, people use all kinds of pretexts to gamble. Any time a famous person is hospitalized, for example, people try to find out the room number in the hospital concerned and use that number for the lottery. People will use the date on which people die as another message from heaven or just about anything which can be even loosely construed as a sign (it is, incidentally, a bad tactic to follow, assuming that these messages are not genuine because if then umber does come up, you have to share the winnings with all the other people who followed the same sign. Then again, reasons for certain numbers cropping up are often difficult to understand. This is Thailand).