The Die-Hard Habitual 十二支 (Chap Ji Kee) Gambler


Image Of Chinese Oil Man (Not Actual Mr Choy)

chinese old man2

Photo of Old Chinese Man (Not Mr, Choy)


十二支 betting slips

The die-hard  habitual 十二支  Chap Ji Kee gambler


When I was in primary school, old Mr. Choy was already in his 70’s.  Old Mr. Choy or Low Choi in Cantonese/老蔡 as he was known affectionately to all  was the most senior in age among his friends and contemporaries. He was one of the many clans-men which our grandfather helped migrate over   from Guangzhou to Singapore. He worked as a membership  subscription collector for the Choy Clan Association which was said to be located in the Bendemeer area. Every week he came by our shop, walking from Bendemeer and collecting subscriptions from members along the way.

Lao Cai was not a heavy gambler. He was more like a die-hard habitual gambler, as he staked on “chap ji kee – 十二支“ a very popular illegal lottery, every day without fail. His daily stakes was as low as 10 cents and  seldom exceeded a dollar. More often than not, he lost.. When he did  occasionally win, he was very generous with his winning. He would buy extra food for everyone.

I am reminded of the following episode of Lao Cai’s gambling. It seemed  for a stretch of a few months, Lao Cai did not win at “chap ji kee”. He was upset with his stretch of bad luck in gambling  and decided to change it “by design”. In “chap ji kee” there were  144 combinations. For a stake of 10 cents, the pay-out was $1/- . Thus, if one were to stake $1/- on every possible combination, the total cost would be $144 while the pay-out will only be $100/-. The odd was in favour of the operator and it did not pay to stake in all combinations. But, Lao Cai wanted to “wash the factory or in Cantonese 洗厂“ ie he wanted to make sure that he won, to change turn his streak of bad gambling luck around even though it meant he would lose in his “investment”. So, he decided to stake 10cts on each combination. For some unknown reasons while writing out his bets, , he decided to leave out  one particular combination. As luck would have it, the next day, the combination which Lao Cai left out, was the winning combination. He was dumb folded. The odds of losing with 143 eecombinations out of 144 combinations was phenomenal.

From then on, he quit betting on “chap ji kee”.




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