One evening, seated opposite me inside a Japanese restaurant at Wheelock Place, my sister in her supreme cuteness and child like innocence squeezed her fists hard, gesturing in annoyance and said to Cynthia who was sitting next to me, “Does he always play with his phone at the dining table? Do you feel like grabbing his phone and throw it away?” For a moment, I thought my little sister meant business.
I was innocence, of course. I was planning to bring my mother from Hong Kong to visit Resorts World Sentosa tomorrow. No, the tickets to Universal Studios Singapore were sold out, as the website on my phone said so. Deep inside, I agree with my sister. I have spent way too much time on my phone. Perhaps, in the not so distant future, most of us will be road hazard to one another. We walk with our eyes on the phone, we drive with our eyes on the phone.
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Even as a non-gambler, I am curious. Our very first casino branded under the concept of integrated resort. Followed the rather cheap looking sign “Casino”, we walked down the dark tunnel. I heard a futuristic musical tune that reminds me of the game Mass Effect 2. Strange! Looking at the entrance of the casino (see picture above), imagine masking out the word “casino”, I thought I was inside a Cathedral. Quite the opposite, of course.
As a Singapore Citizen (or Permanent Resident), we need to pay a S$100 levy per entry (24 hours). Or S$2,000 for an annual pass. What a joke that I had to stand outside waiting while sending off my mother (as a foreigner) into the casino. I wish I could accompany her. But spending S$100 in order to tour the casino does not worth my hard earned money. At the entrance, I took out a S$50 note, passed it to my mother and said, “Mom, take you time inside the casino. Try out the slot machines and win some money for me!”. I waved to her as she went past the security checkpoint, just like what I used to do when I send her off the airport, which I will tomorrow.
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What a disappointment, which I was not surprised. At the exit, my mother said to me, “I won S$50 by not gambling it away!”. As it turns out, the slot machines are too high-tech for her. What happens to the good old days of putting a coin inside the machine, pull the lever, and if you win, you hear the coins falling onto the tray underneath? Well, mom, if you visit me this July, just when you think that you can on the television and watch F1, mioTV will need at least 5 minutes to ‘boot-up’. That is technology for you.
Besides, the machines are in English and she can only read Chinese. How come I am not surprised? Not long ago, I was at the station topping up my ezLink Card. One Chinese girl approached me and asked if I could help her to top up her card because she could not read English. I tried to teach her on how to top up the card and I gave up halfway. Too many steps, too many inputs. No way she could remember what to do. This is Singapore for you.
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Resorts World Sentosa does not look grand, I must say. I could not find a seat to read my book while waiting for my mother to tour the casino. There were house flies inside the toilet. For a mere 3 hours parking, I had to pay S$10 (on top of S$6 entrance fee to Sentosa). Peeping at the Universal Studios from the entrance, it does not seem to have the extraordinary feel of, say, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. Elsewhere in the world, casinos do their best to attract people to visit. Free and frequent bus rides, free or cheap food and drink, free souvenirs, and tons of entertainment. What does our casino 1 of 2 have?
Very beautiful cars for sure (and there is a Victoria’s Secret inside!).