Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Pathological Gambler

Recently a "not-so-close" family member called and asked for my help.

She hoped that I can "save" her by lending her a few thousands ringgit.

She is a notorious gambler which is always debt-ridden.

Other family members have helped her to pay off her debts in the past but she somehow will get back into debt again and again.

And she never pay back the money she "borrowed".

What will you do if you were me?

My answer is a definite and firm NO.

If she asks me why, I will tell her the truth that my debts are hundred times more than hers.

I spend the minimum I can everyday, I work hard and save hard for the future of my children and family.

Do you think that I will give her the money to throw into the river?

There are other people who are more deserved to get the money.

To be frank, I hate gambling, even though I am not totally against it.

For me, if you want to gamble, please use your own excess money.

If you borrow to gamble, then you are digging your own grave.

I believe that there are lots of "pathological gamblers" around us.

These are the people who are so addicted to gambling until it becomes a disease or disorder.

Most of them are in the lower socio-economic group such as hawkers, renovation/construction workers, small business owners, drivers, salespersons, operators, housewives etc.

They all have financial difficulty and naturally they want more money. So gambling will be the easiest & fastest way for them to get rich.

If you advise them to save their money every month and learn to invest wisely so that they can have a chance to live comfortably in 20-30 years time, they will laugh at you.

For them, they can have a chance to get rich in few days time, why need to wait for so many years?

Sometimes they win but most of the time they will lose.

They will finally succumb to the euphoria of winning small and just cannot stop from gambling after that.

Since they are basically poor, where to get the money to gamble then?

The easiest way is to borrow, from relatives, friends and even Ah Long.

The fact is, they will lose all the money eventually. What will they do next?

They will borrow again from other people to pay back the earlier creditors, and then gamble again and hope they will have more luck this time.

If the creditors are too kind and not going after them, definitely they will not pay them back. They would rather use any available money to gamble.

More money in means more chances to win.

If you don't have a pathological gambler around you, then you are damn lucky.

I'm not that lucky though. I have a time bomb very very close to me.

I know what those gamblers' behaviours are like.

They will give you one thousand and one reasons on why they need to gamble.

They are expert in telling lies especially when borrowing money and when dealing with creditors.

They will steal when in dire need for money.

They can have more than 10 debtors at a time.

They always make empty promise on quitting gambling.

The best part is, they will never learn. They never learn the fact that the more they gamble, the more they lose.

Even though they are hassled by Ah Long, they will also never learn from that bad experience.

These are what we call "pathological".

Can they be treated with counselling etc? It is easier said that done.

If I rule the country, I will ban gambling.

There will be no casino, Toto, Magnum, online gambling and those stupid internet cafes etc.

Gambling has made the poor poorer, reduced the productivity of our workforce, ruined the future of our teens besides giving rise to so many family and social problems.

How about the stock market?

For me, stock market is a heaven for gambling, but it just cannot be banned, right?

Gambling in the stock market is absolutely legal.

I can foresee that in the near future more and more young people will engage in stock market gambling.

In casino, we play Big & Small. In stock market, we play Up & Down.

People can easily get addicted to this excitement, operated just by a few clicks in front of computers, or a few swipes on the smartphones.

Not enough money to "play" stocks?

No problem. We can legally borrow money to gamble in stock market as well.

Again, I'm not totally against gambling in stock market, as long as one is disciplined enough to control their greed and use only excess money.

Sometimes we read news that gamblers lodge complaints because they are being harassed by Ah Long or their family members want to cut ties with them.

I think they probably deserve that.

Please forgive me for being harsh to such gamblers.

You may not share the same feeling with me may be because you never face such gamblers close to you in real life.


  1. Your are right not to lend money to her, I would have done the same thing for sure. Lending money to her won't help her, but just helping the one whom she will lose the money to.

    I would like to ask a question, though it may not be suitable to post my question under this article :P
    Have you taken a look at Thong Guan before ? If yes, would it interest you ?
    I have done some studies, below are the findings in brief :
    TGuan's is in the midst of 2-years expanding plan, started since mid'14 and will last till 2016 with 100mil capex. The earning in Q4'14 was at loss due to bad debt & forex loss but started to recover in Q1'15 and Q2'15's earning back to "normal". The USD dominated debt is reducing thus the subsequent Q should see improvement in earning as forex loss will be decreasing + the effect of capex will come in + export-oriented business.
    The management claimed in 2014 that the output would increase by ~40% in next 3 years.
    If i annualise last Q's earning, it would be 27 sen, and if i give it PE=10, the target price would be RM2.70 vs the current stock price at RM1.93.
    It has disadvantages too, such as low profit margin, high competition in plastic industry and main customer, i.e. Japanese market, is not doing well.

    1. I have studied Thong Guan not too long ago, just didn't write it out :)

      I would say that its growth prospect is rather exciting. Yea, subsequent Qs results should be great I guess. I just do not like its ICULS & warrants.

      I will write a post on my view about it.

    2. I looked at the basic EPS and diluted EPS, both are 6.75sen and 6.41sen respectively. I suppose diluted EPS calculation has taken into account both the warrant and ICULs effect if being converted (correct me if I am wrong). If that is the case, I would think the extend of dilution is not alarming. TGuan needs the loan to expand it's business, I hope the growth can justify the cost of the loan.

    3. Actually I still do not understand how the diluted EPS is calculated in financial reports. I hope that someone who knows can enlighten me. I tend to use the maximum dilution effect from all warrants/ICULS etc, though I know it's not fair if the expiry date is still long. However, if I feel the growth from the cash raised can exceed the dilution effect, I will still consider to invest in it.

      As for the case of TGuan, its potential dilutional effect is relatively high, from both warrants & ICULS. Its FY15Q2 report shows little dilution (6.75 to 6.41), I'm not sure why. May be it is time-weighted. It doesn't include the ICULS as they are still not convertible at this time. I really need to understand this so that I won't miss stocks like SAM again...

    4. After some research online, now I know how the dilution effect for warrants is calculated. It adopts treasury shares method, which I can't accept at all.

    5. How is the calculation method you just learned ? Can briefly describe or point to me which website you refer to ?

    6. Basically it assumes that the company will buy back its shares with all the cash obtained from warrant conversion. Surely I will also write a post on this to keep as a note for myself.

  2. You have done a great job by not lending money to gambler. I'd rather give to people who need it like the poor, orphanage, handicapped and etc.

    Recently I noted the sales of smartphone is getting slow and perhaps the market is saturated. So is it time to sell the semiconductor stocks like Inari, Gtronic and etc?

    1. I personally feel that smartphone market still can grow, but more slowly. There are still many developing countries to tap in. But surely there are more competition among those brands. Now the sales is slow may be due to poor consumer sentiment in the country, with GST and price hike everywhere... If you own semicon stocks and feel worry, you can always sell some first. I might also do so. In 2016 I am confident that Gtronic will do well financially, Inari should do OK. But we never know whether big bear will strike next year.

  3. let me teach u my way of handling this kind of situation, BD:

    When I hv grown up, I no longer balik kampung to meet the 姨妈姑姐 during any festivals,I tend to stay with my core family only, which are my parents only. Then u can stay away from the not so closed, but blood is thicker than water relationships.

    During the old days, when the society is closed and not much communication, relatives are very important when u met troubles, kind of u help me I help u.

    But nowadays are all different, anything can google and diy and help urself, so what's the points of hving so much relatives.

    I really dun buy the traditional family of values of Chinese eventhoug I am raised in a Chinese-ed environment.

    I tend to stay with persons who can benefit me and synergize with me only. For example, interact with ppl who're good at buying stocks, who share the same hobbies with me, or Lenglui only.

    1. Haha, you have your own way. Sometimes we just can't escape the situation. For me I'm also only close to core family, but that doesn't mean that relationship with others not good la. It seems like all successful people only mix with positive people, I think we should do so in order to have better chance to be successful.