In a further development of the sudden closure of travel agency “Asia-Euro Holiday”, the Chinese media reported yesterday (25 May) a stunning disclosure by an insider.

According to the revelation, the boss of the Asia-Euro is said to have been patronizing the casino in Marina Bay Sands and incurred a gambling debt of about $5 million, besides his purported liabilities in property investments.

Since the sudden closure of Asia-Euro Holiday on last Friday (22 May), Mr Tay Jwee Hiang has not appeared in the public nor made any statements of explanations. He has left it to his wife, daughter and the spokesman of his travel agency to talk to the media. It is revealed that he has also sought counselling at Adullam Life Counselling.

A regular patron of the casino, 46-year-old deliveryman, Mr Tan, called the Chinese media hotline. He informed that about 2 to 3 months back, he started to notice a male subject resembling Mr Tay inside the casino of Marina Bay Sands at least 5 nights a week. Mr Tan said, “Usually he would come at about 10.30 pm, and sometimes could still be seen at the jackpot machine at 4 am when I left. I started to take notice of him, as he would be seen alone at the same corner with the same jackpot machine, and does not mingle with anyone else.”

Mr Tan added, “His bets were big. Every round was in the tens of dollars. He wins some and loses some. From the way he played, I guessed on a single night the winning or loss can run up to $10,000.”

About two weeks ago, Mr Tay was no longer seen at the casino. When Mr Tan saw his photo in the press, only then he realised that the said person is Mr Tay.

No doubt, casinos have brought in huge tax dollars to the government coffers, and are said to have created jobs to boost our economy (it’s not known if casinos have a larger number of Singaporean or foreign staff).

However, the social ills of casinos need no further introduction. From the day Singapore opens its casinos, every now and then ‘stories’ of careers, personal life, and families being ruined by gambling habits have sprung up.

In the case of Mr Tan, the boss of Asia-Euro Holiday travel agency, probably dozens of jobs were also wiped out with the closure of the agency.

Has our social fabric built on core values of hard work and family bonds, being eroded slowly but surely into a game of chance?

Who is the real winner?

What do you think?

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