Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jueteng

Jueteng.  It's so much in the news nowadays.  It was so much in the news in days and years before.  It's like... my eczema, like a disease that keeps coming back and you don't know what to do about it.  I haven't directly bet on Jueteng, but the people around me have.  It's not rampant here where I live, but who knows?  I'm not one to standby on the streets and judge the lady with the shoulder bag who has a pad of paper as a jueteng collector.  But it is rampant in the provinces.  Shall I dare name these provinces?  Well, the likes of Archbishop Oscar Cruz and reporter Anthony Taberna dares to name names and bring out into the open what almost everyone knows is already out in the open.  Except for the officials who are supposed to be apprehending the operators and the "lords" of this illegal numbers game.  "Eyes wide open", is a term that comes to mind, and this is what these politicians and policemen are doing in keeping watch over jueteng.

When we went to the burol of my aunt in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, almost after the people just wake up and before they even to get to wash their faces, there is someone taking the "numbers" for the morning draw.  Mom got into it, asking for numbers all around, even from the kids.  She paid for their bets and one of my aunts ended up the winner for one of the draws.  But no "balato" from the winner, even for mom who paid her bet :)

Innocent game you would think, barya-barya lang for most of us.  But those barya (coins) when collected and counted sum up to a big amount.  Millions, even billions.  And those that I know who bet are poor - the money they bet are hard-earned money that they hope will bring in a jackpot.  Little do they know that they put out much more than they would ever take in.  It's a pasttime and without it, it seems that the already quiet small towns, will be quieter still.  People who sweat and toil over their crops, retired people getting meager benefits, housewives who happen to have a few pesos to bet.  All of them play the illegal jueteng game in the hope of bringing home that jackpot, at least for the day.  But if their numbers don't come out, there is always hope for the next draw.

Their hope is in the wrong place.  Keep the money you would bet and let it grow.  It will sum up to more than that jackpot.  What should we do?  What can I do?  For one, I should not play the game, however tempting since almost everyone does at one time or another.  Let me set an example first.  This much I can do. ... but it doesn't seem enough.

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