Saturday, May 19, 2012


Last night I was at the Jupiter Casino in the Gold Coast. This casino is smaller than The Star in Sydney (which is smaller than the Crown Casino in Melbourne). There are plenty of poker machines in Jupiter.  Gambling tables start at $5, which is a lot lower than the minimum at The Star ($25, I think). Jupiter was not filled to the brim – plenty of tables were not in use, and plenty of vacant machines too. Most of the patrons were of the older generation. White hair and all. Most were fat. My guess is that they don't have any other form of entertainment available to them.

Sitting down in front of a poker machine is pretty mindless, I reckon. I don't know how the game works, but from what I could see, you just sat there and pressed a few buttons, while putting some money in. These days, casinos use membership cards. I bet this is because they want to dissociate gambling with money by removing the necessity of putting in real money in the machines. The same reason applies as to why they use casino chips. Everything feels so detached from real life. It is like the casino is offering a world of its own, whereby it is very possible that your luck will change in a snap.

I always wonder what the appeal of the casino is. I think this is mostly because I am not a gambler. In fact, I guess I am not a risk taker at all. Or maybe I am, just not in the casino gambling sort of way. In short, I don’t find the gambling floor in a casino appealing  at all. I find the restaurants and shopping areas in the casino complex more exciting. The hotel and/or apartments are fine. The food tends to be cheaper. I guess all those revenue from gambling is being put to good use after all.

I reckon casinos must be one of the most depressing places on this planet. Or maybe I should say, Jupiter is. I did not see a single patron who was happy. Everyone had this gloomy look in his/her face. No one was happy. No one was smiling - because no one was winning (ha!). At Jupiters, though, a lot of ladies were dressed to the nines. Full make up, highest heels, shortest, tightest dresses. By 11pm, the one of the bars at Jupiters become a night club – DJ playing some awful techno and middle age ladies conquering the dance floor. I was not an eye witness to this, quite unfortunately, but I could hear the music from my room in Level 10. If I had not changed and started my trip down dream land, I would have probably joined them. But, my laziness took over and after listening to a few terrible technos, I faded away.

Whenever I write about things like this, I always revert back to this thing called human connection. I think we all crave for human connection, the kind of connection with other human beings that make us feel alive. What this boils down to for individual persons are different from one person to the next, from one time to the other. These days, with smart phones and social media, Facebook, emails and everything else, we are made to feel like we are so connected. However, are we really connected? If it is true that we are, then why do we feel so empty inside?

I don’t know why people go to casinos, my guess is that they are bored and they want to be entertained. A deeper version of this guess goes along the lines of people feel some form emptiness inside and they want to fill this void with instant gratification, or at least, the possibility of an instant gratification of earning a massive amount of money without having to work hard. This emptiness, I think, is the resultant effect of a lack of human connection – the kind of human connection that we yearn for on a day to day basis.

Sometimes we have so many people in our lives, and we spend a lot of time with them, yet we don’t feel satisfied with the connection. I think this is because we are not connecting in a way that we want to be connected it. For example, my preferred connection is one that borders on being too intense for a lot of people. But I like that because it makes me feel like I can finally understand them; when they share the things that I cannot observe, like their dreams, their aspirations, what motivates them, amongst other things. Some of these people are so courageous and brave that they are willing to share their fears and tears. I call these high quality connections, the kind of connections that I look forward to in life.

Of course how you prefer to connect can be different than how I prefer to connect. There are other ways that I like connecting – discussing fashion, clothes, jackets, shoes, handbags. Some people think that this is superficial, that’s fine, and that’s their prerogative. For me, that’s just my hobby and it is nice to share that with someone who is as enthusiastic about it as I am. Some people bond over sports, others bond through music. The key is to find the thing that makes it work for you.And I don't think this sort of things can be substituted by a machine or robot. Not yet, anyway.

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