MY colleagues and I were feeling sorry for a friend last week even though he had the good fortune to be RM6,000 richer.
When playing Supreme Toto 6/58, the poor fellow missed the RM28 million jackpot by just one number, after getting the first five numbers correct.
Lady Luck did a number on Ah Foo Chai, that is the punter, getting him all excited only to deal him the biggest frustration of his life at the last hurdle.
It is hard not to feel sorry for Foo Chai, if you know the overwhelming odds that he had to face to even get five numbers correct.
I still find it mind-boggling that he actually got five numbers correct.
The odds for that are not one in a million or one in 10 million. It is much more. According to some mathematicians, the odds of winning the Supreme Toto jackpot are one in 40,475,358. I just can't figure out the punters who think they can defy such odds.
Among the remarks from Foo Chai's sympathetic friends were: "I will go crazy if I missed RM28 million like this", "I will go into depression..." and "I won't be able to sleep..."
Foo Chai got the consolation prize of RM6,000, which is quite a bit of money, but no one was congratulating him. They were talking about the RM28 million that got away. I consoled Foo Chai by saying he was still luckier than other punters who find it hard to get even one number correct.
Despite the stupefying odds, many lotto players claim that when your luck comes, nothing is going to stop you from hitting the jackpot.
Beggars and charity workers are cashing in on punters' dreams. They stand in front of betting shops, asking for aid. They play the mind game and the number game. Do good and you shall be rewarded, goes the mantra. So, punters readily donate some money, hoping it will improve their chances of winning the jackpot, 4D prizes and others.
They also play on your guilt. Come on... can't you spare a ringgit for charity when you can put RM50 on a bet?
Foo Chai took me to a watering hole downtown to drown his sorrows and buy me a drink for the 6k that he won.
As we sighed over the "jackpot miss", Foo Chai said he would have treated me to lobsters for life if he had won RM28 million. Later, when we were dwelling on the subject of luck and destiny, I asked Foo Chai how he was feeling.
Foo Chai, a happy-go-lucky bachelor who ran in the KL Marathon last month, was quite philosophical about it. He said he wasn't really feeling sad about missing out on the RM28 million.
I have never spent RM2 on a 6/58 ticket, and that is because I just don't have the luck. I have never won a lucky draw prize, and if I were only one of two persons in the draw for one prize, chances are I won't get it.
Years ago, after a nasty accident that left me half dead, I attended my company's annual dinner. There was a lucky draw and the emcee shouted out my number. I was thrilled to bits, winning the first prize, a Hi-Fi system.
Later, I found out that they had fixed the draw for me to win. They had done it out of pity for me.
Foo Chai said he would use the RM6,000 to go to Myanmar, take a cruise on the Irrawaddy River and travel up north to relive Rudyard Kipling's poem, The Road to Mandalay.
I hope he won't be depressed over his RM28 million disappointment and stays on the boat.