Monday, January 22, 2007

獅城邊開賭邊補漏

新加坡一聲開放賭業,形勢即時改變,因為可以進一步強化其旅遊業,更重要的是,不讓馬來西亞的賭業在東南亞區專美。但香港特區政府似乎在開設賭場這個問題上左思右想,考慮十足,果斷不足,有否考慮嘗試在馬場內開設博彩設施,如增設拉老虎機試試反應呢?

禤中怡近日與從新加坡來港旅遊的朋友談起,朋友也覺得賭業對其國家帶來顯著的變化。不過,對社會的影響有多大就不敢想像。其實,開賭確是一門令人既愛且恨的行業,因為一方面為政府提供龐大賭博收益,並可推動相關行業發展,提供就業職位,進一步疏導從生產業轉型至服務業的過剩勞動力。但市民沉迷賭博所產生的社會問題,就成為令政府頭痛的副作用。還記得特區政府為設足球博彩而推出甚麼病態賭徒中心,以釋除市民的疑慮。

言歸正傳,新加坡政府一向愛民如子,自然明白賭業產生的負面影響,所以也要想法子,不讓國民被賭所拖累,但若果像摩納哥著名的蒙地卡羅豪華賭場般,禁止國民進入賭場賭錢,又似乎有點過份,所以當地內政部制定法案時,想出建議市民進入賭場就要繳付入場費,每次收100坡元,即約500港元,或每年付2,000坡元,即約1萬港元,便可無限次進入,雖說金額講多不多,但也不是一個小數目,試想每天入一次賭場,單是入場費已相當不菲。不過,新加坡朋友認為對賭徒來說,入場費或許當作賭本部分,只要有得贏,那怕多付一點?

此外,為免國民爛賭不能自控,甚至可向法庭申請禁止家屬或親人進入賭場,實行一刀切方式解決問題,但針對家人所採取的行動,會否引發家庭暴力問題或者破壞家庭關係,確有待時間驗證。此外,安排輔導受影響的家庭自然少不了,如果問題嚴重,受影響家屬也可申請人身保護令,那麼是不是斷六親呢?其實,馬來西亞著名雲頂高原距離新加坡不遠,新加坡自己開賭,當然可達致肥水不流別人田的優勢,更可吸納祖國同胞光顧,但更叫禤中怡佩服的,還是新加坡式的「家長賭業發展方略」,認真有新意。

理財教育刻不容緩
英國伯克郡一間中學開設開心班,教導同學控制情緒及處理感情關係,成功帶出新教育方法,難得該校更願意為其他學校的老師舉辦試讀班,希望擴展這種教育理念,香港的教育大臣不妨考慮,可能會減少青年輕生情況。

不過,在改善人際關係的同時,教育界其實可能也要想一想去提升學生對理財的觀念,否則分分鐘步英國後塵。據英國中央銀行最近一項研究顯示,當地人負債金額正快速增加,每4分鐘就增加100萬英鎊(約1,541萬港元)!其中必然是房屋貸款佔最大負擔,估計平均每一新屋房貸金額為14.2萬英鎊(約218萬港元)。話雖香港人腰纏萬貫,父母甚至喜歡替子女支付物業首期,讓子女自行供樓,但也需為自己灌輸財概念為上。

所謂積少成多,有統計指今日英國的學生像成年人一樣面對債台高築情況,畢業就變成債仔,有些更已拖欠1.5萬英鎊(約23萬港元),其中大部分來自學生教育貸款,及信用卡貸款等。這種情況與香港的大學生也類似,因為學生貸款容易借,分分鐘先使未來錢,以為畢業後,一邊工作一邊還款,輕鬆應付,忽視未來還款需要外,日常支出會隨著工作而上升,最大問題更是儲蓄能力大大被削弱,即使有任何理想和目標,如果沒有第一桶金,又怎能實現呢?

不要看輕這些貸款,英國央行在過去半年三度調高利率,尤其是兩周前突然加息0.5厘,利率提高至5.25厘,屬五年多最高水平,意味借錢度日成本愈來愈高,利叠利就更是天文數字。理財教育慈善機構Credit Action亦計算如不包含樓按,英國每名成人負債達4,510英鎊(約6.9萬港元),包括信用卡、個人貸款及汽車貸款等支出。如包含樓按,個人負債金額增至2.71萬英鎊(約41.6萬港元),每月平均增加210英鎊(約3,236港元),當然包含有力供款人士,但年輕時若不早早妥善安排,問題只會惡化下去,最終入不敷支的結局當然只有破產一途。有破產服務公司統計去年第三季約1.2萬人破產,增加1.2倍!其中以40多歲的中年、已婚有子女男性居多。所以,香港的教育頭頭,應面對現實,除了甚麼通識外,亦應看看世界趨勢,例如從小開始灌輸正確的理財概念,如怎樣運用貸款、收入分配使用,如何使錢等,否則屆時只見滿街都是求救的訊號。若想多了解理財小知識,不妨往www.moneybasic.co.uk挑些合適的內容看看。

(1月22日刊於《am730》)

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