Title: All that Glitters is not Gold. Hotel Lisboa. 2–4 Av. de Lisboa, Macau

NB: Quasi-Fictional Street Photography Series.

©richard mark dobson

It’s not that difficult to spot the losers. For example, stand around in the ornate lobby of the Lisboa hotel for a while and soon enough one or more comes slouching along, often hands in pockets, with a sort of dead pan expression, neither smiling or grimacing. Their faces sullen with a wax like complexion from lack of sun and fresh air, resemble that of a dead person. They certainly don’t notice the gold trimmings on their way out. And probably didn’t notice them on their way in either.

However it’s a good bet, that while heading for the casino, they most certainly had gold on their minds. The golden hues of the Macanese 1000 Pataca notes. They came in dreaming of winning as many of those as they could. Puntopia stats however claimed that after spending an average 8 hours huddled around the gambling tables, the so called hard core punters would then slouch away, with far less golden patacas in their pockets than when they arrived. It was a numbers game alright.

The stats on the homicide rate, recorded by the police, especially around silly season, which in Puntopia was Monday to Friday, January to December, was quite staggering. The Macau-Taipa bridge a mere 400 yard slouch away from the Lisboa was a favorite jumping spot. Punters would prefer to wait for one of the passing steel hull cargo ships to pass underneath, before they leaped, worried that the murky waters just 114ft below might not be enough to end their misery. For the captains of their ships it was a big inconvenience. They had to stop their boats. Send down a few deckhands to go scrape off the remains of the now almost unrecognizable mangled punter, and hand the bits of him/her over to the harbor police.

It was ionic really, for those who arrived dreaming of gold, that for many, the last thing they saw before before they departed, was not gold and sparkling at all, but rather the dull grey of merchant ship steel.

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