Of gambling and taboos


It’s that time of the year, when you get a little down because you have no money to spend on a proper holiday. So a few weeks back, I tried my luck in online bingo and I won myself a few dollars to buy gifts and stuff for friends and family.

And it got me thinking about how much gambling is frowned upon in our societies. I remember, as a teenager, we used to go to a disused stadium in our little town, and play cards for money under the crumbling pavilion. The most popular game was matatu, which I think is played only in Uganda. Recently, someone developed a software and you can play it online via Google, without having to worry that askaris will pounce on you and drag you off to jail. In those days, as the gang gambled away their pennies, a couple of boys would be on the lookout. Being a football stadium, it was easy to see anyone entering from a mile off, and we knew the faces of the askaris from the Municipal Council, so it was easy to see danger long before it arrived, and we would flee to the safety of the surrounding bushes.