Saturday, August 14, 2010

Football Overreactions

This post was a draft from a while back.  Sorry that the info is 1 month overdue...

In Vietnam people enjoy football tremendously (soccer to those of us from the States).  Like many countries around the world football is the most popular sport in the country.  As with many soccer-obsessed countries, the world cup is a great time for celebration and watching matches with friends.  However, Vietnam suffers from the same problem that plagues many other football adoring nations: gambling.  Gambling here often goes along with unpredictable consequences such as bankruptcy, loss of valuables, and even loss of one's home. Many football gamblers have gotten into serious financial troubles due to World Cup gambling.

There was a story here during the middle of the World Cup about a young man who was found drowning in a part of the Saigon River near downtown Ho Chi Minh City. The young man was rescued by some passersby and once he regained consciousness he was taken home.  After talking to the man, it was found out that he had lost so much money from World Cup gambling that he had to borrow money and couldn't pay the debt. Thus, he decided to kill himself to remove the burden from his family. 

He was not the only person who made this kind of decision to die to escape gambling debts. There was another attempted suicide via drowning that happened near the same place in the river during the World Cup. After being rescued, the victim explained that he gambled all of his family’s money away in football pools. He wanted to relieve his guilt for what he had done to his family so he went to the bridge and jumped into the river. 

Not everyone who goes into massive debt take their own lives, though.  I recall reading about someone that lost too much gambling on the Cup. He tricked his colleagues into loaning him thousands of US dollars and dumped the money into bets. Ultimately, he lost all the money and then he fled his life completely.

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