Money game: Who are the victims?

Money-GameBy Tay Tian Yan

The arrest of the “world’s future richest man” recently and the collapse of money game schemes in the country might make you think it’s game over for get-rich-quick schemes.

Not yet. Several of them are getting their acts together again and are ready to stage a decisive comeback anytime soon. Investors, meanwhile, are still brimming with confidence, and are hopeful of a wealthy tomorrow.

I have to admit that I hardly understand these so-called investors. Or put it the other way, I might have grossly misunderstood these people.

I used to pen a few articles on the “money game”, or investment schemes, from the angles of economy, finance, history, logic and common sense, with the hope the public will not get swindled by them.

But thinking back now, I feel I could have done something ridiculously stupid.

Firstly, we used to believe that these investors were cheated because they did not know this whole thing was a scam.

The thing is: Only a small fraction of investors still have no idea that this is a scam. Most knew about this long ago.

They were well aware that this thing would burst some day, and that they would be safe even though it were to burst, so long as they were not at the bottom of the pyramid.

Not unlike the musical chairs we used to play as kids. Everyone is looking for a chair to sit and so long as they manage to find one before the music stops, they should be OK.

The question is: No one knows when the music will stop except the one controlling the music.

So, they have done this on their own accord, keeping 15% to 30% of rewards each month. If they are lucky enough, this could sustain for more than a year and they will get back what they have put in.

If they eventually make it, there’s no scam for them, as they have already made a profit.

As for those who don’t make it when the game ends abruptly, they will really have no idea how to get back their money. Again, this is not perceived as a scam, for they know beforehand the gambling nature of this investment plan. They would instead blame their bad luck or wrong timing.

To them, it is like buying a lottery ticket, they can’t blame anyone if they don’t win.

The only one they may blame is perhaps the media for telling too much and for spoiling their plans. Or the police, or Bank Negara Malaysia for ending their party too soon.

Secondly, we used to believe that the participants were the lower to middle income groups who don’t earn enough and are therefore more inclined to dump all their hard-earned money in the hope of getting rich quickly.

No way! Many participants have too much cash to spare that they throw in tens of thousands of ringgit without feeling the slightest pinch.

So, even if these companies eventually collapse and countless numbers of investors lose billions of ringgit, few would murmur a word of complaint.

Sure enough there are a handful of real victims who are either poorly educated or totally uninformed of the rules of the game. They have jumped in at the instigation of other people, and lost all their savings. These are the people we need to show some sympathy to.

So far, not many seem to have picked up any lesson from the money game debacle. The game will still go on, and in fact will get bigger and bigger, until the real disaster strikes one day.

Tay Tian Yan writes for Sin Chew Daily.

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