Jack Black

jb0522-1The chances of pulling off a hole-in-one in the sport of golf are 250,000 to one. Legislator and businessman Chan Meng Kam did it last weekend. He celebrated the extremely rare feat, also known as an “ace”, by showering dozens of caddies and staff at a mainland golf club with HKD1 million. Mr Chan, 52, legislator and member of the Executive Council, also serves on the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the mainland’s highest political advisory body. In 2013, he won the direct-seat election for the Legislative Assembly with a landslide victory. Some caddies were not impressed, saying he “is a mediocre amateur player.” We don’t know about that, but if he doesn’t run out of luck, the president of the Golden Dragon Group might even get one gaming license – of the extra two the government is said to be considering.

jb0522-2Annual gaming expo G2E Asia has shifted its focus this year to display non-gaming products and services as Macau’s gaming revenue has been falling every month since June last year. Despite the steep decline, Reed Exhibitions Greater China President Hu Wei, organizer of the exhibition, said that the three-day networking event which included a string of conferences, drew more attendees than last year – 9,000 vs last year’s 8,200. Hu pointed out the iGaming segment of the show was key to attracting more overseas visitors. On Macau’s current downward gaming trajectory, Mr Hu said he expected non-gaming revenue to show strong growth. “In places like Las Vegas where non-gaming revenue, like dining and entertainment, is actually as much as gaming, if not slightly bigger, we expect the same trend to happen [in Macau],” he said. This sounds like music to government ears, from here to Beijing, which is betting big on “non-gaming” in Cotai 2.0. Will it happen? Galaxy II and Broadway openings next Wednesday will test the waters.

jb0522-3Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said this week that the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras is meant “to boost public security” and to help the police solve crimes, adding that the installation of the public surveillance cameras follows the guidelines laid out by the Personal Data Protection Office. On talk-back radio, Mr Wong said that 820 cameras would be installed in the first three phases while the remaining 800 cameras would be installed afterwards. “We can’t say that all crime-related issues will be solved,” said Wong. “Therefore, if necessary, there may be [more cameras] in the future.” Some callers to the show expressed concern that the installation of CCTV cameras means that personal lives will be under constant scrutiny and their privacy may be infringed. Secretary Wong may restate that the surveillance will be in accordance with the law, but with all that jazz it’s hard to not recall Orwell’s “Big Brother” and feel shivers down the spine.

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