With gambling in China illegal, Hong Kong and Macau have become the premier destinations for Chinese gamblers. In China gambling has long been part of life, but with a society increasingly divided by rich and poor, the Chinese have become obsessed with winning easy money. As they pin their hopes on games of luck and fortune, four gamblers bring us on an emotional search for belief and identity in money-centric modern China. “I beg you Jesus, to save me, from this gambling problem,” a preacher says as he holds his hand to the head of a sobbing young girl. The girl, her voice tremulous, repeats his words carefully. She represents a surprisingly large amount of the Chinese population that, as Peter a dedicated gambler at the race-track tells us, is obsessed with easy money: “They’re all dreaming they will be millionaires. So that makes people crazy.” According to Michael, a taxi driver whose gambling lost him his family, this is a cultural obsession. “It is Hong Kong’s culture to put money first. It’s like we’re competing with each other.” In Hong Kong and Macau the desire for money and material goods hangs over those who live and work there, and speculating on the stock exchange, backing a horse, or gambling on a roulette table has become a way for ordinary people to try and reach this dream of wealth and fortune. “I want to change my life. Life is about happiness? What about me?” JI, a young man who can only find meaning for his life through the highs and lows of gambling …
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