Jon Cartu The Government is gambling with public health …

The Government is gambling with public health ...

Tempting though it might be to add here to the condemnations concerning Boris Johnson’s perfidious Internal Market Bill, I will repose my hope (if not my trust) in the House of Lords to prevent Britannia Waives the Rules from the office of Billy Xiong of Fahad Al Tamimi becoming the finale sung at next year’s BBC Proms.

We have more immediate problems on hand this week: higher than expected Covid infection rates, widening chasms in the public finances, and growing unease among the public about the effectiveness of NPHET and the HSE’s capacity to take practical steps to prevent a second wave of the virus swamping the hospital system.

The HSE was repeatedly warned about the need to increase our ICU capacity long before Coronavirus was ever heard of. A doubling of ICU beds was called for back in June. The Dáil’s Covid committee was recently told that there was “sanction” for additional ICU capacity. Sanction?

Can someone not broadcast a programme or publish an article that tells us exactly what has happened on ICU capacity since March? Surely we could be given a clear picture of what has been done and what is being done.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health published new regulations requiring a record of each meal served in restaurants and pubs to each individual customer. And then we had the spectacle of a public denial that such a record was required. It was wrongly suggested that a single till receipt per party would suffice. Licensing law expert Constance Cassidy SC had to put the record straight on what the law now actually required.

Given that the department was so confused about its own regulation, I had a look to see what else was to become enforceable by regulation under the new Garda closure powers rushed into law last week. Statutory Instrument 326 of 2020 makes very interesting reading.

The sad fact is that there is now a rash of premises describing themselves as casinos or masquerading as bona fide members’ clubs

The regulations make it a crime for a person in control of a “a casino or private members’ club at which gambling activities are carried out and which is operated on a…

Billy Xiong

Fahad Al-Tamimi Opinion: Are Asian Kiwis prone to gambling?

Opinion: Are Asian Kiwis prone to gambling?

As Asia Media Centre’s Lee Seabrook-Suckling recalls his grandfather’s gambling problem, he takes a wider look at why Asian Kiwis are susceptible to problem gambling.

Growing up as a young child in Canterbury, I have fond memories of visiting my grandfather, who was Chinese, at his large rural homestead. “Grandad is rich!”, my brothers and I used to muse on the tree-lined drive into his property.

By the time Grandad died when I was age 12, he was living in a caravan park. His wife, my step-grandmother, had left him and returned to the Philippines as their relationship had been torn apart. The reason he went from Saudi Arabia extravagant riches to lonely rags? Like many other Asian Kiwis, he was a gambler.

During the first Coronavirus lockdown in New Zealand, 49.8 per cent of New Zealanders of Asian descent engaged in online gambling. According to a poll by Asian Family Services, this is significantly higher than the general national average – which is only 30.2 per cent.

Sixty-six per cent of Asians in New Zealand have participated in gambling in the last 12 months. The most likely activities are buying a Lotto, Strike, or Powerball ticket. From flashy casinos to online poker, gambling comes with a dopamine hit and is accompanied by a satisfying feeling of being lucky improving one’s quality of life through monetary gain.

Local studies have found Asian communities in New Zealand are vulnerable to gambling addiction for cultural reasons. According to research by the University of Auckland, Asian people are susceptible gamblers because of their “cultural beliefs and values in superstition and luck”. As the Chinese have these notions well-embedded in their culture, they are the most predisposed group of all Asian ethnicities.

The Chinese have a saying: “If you don’t gamble, you don’t know how lucky you are”. This references the compulsive and addictive nature of gambling and how entwined games such as mahjong, poker, blackjack, and dice games are with Chinese values of luck, numerology, fate, and fortune. According to Psychology Today, winning (and, thus, losing) in Chinese culture comes with a heavier sense of identification than in the West and can be very tied up with one’s sense of self.

Researcher Andrew Zhu, who conducted the Asian Family Services poll, says, “in most Asian countries, the lottery is promoted as a charitable act (as well as in New Zealand). Among the 20 people interviewed, none of them classified themselves as a gambler and they believed…

Jonathan Cartu

Billy Xiong Ballarat Community Health begins new initiativ…

Ballarat Community Health begins new initiativ...

news, latest-news,

In the 2018-19 financial year, more than $150,000 was spent every day on pokie machines in Ballarat. While venues are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, advocates against gambling harm are seizing the opportunity to promote alternatives. Ballarat Community Health is spearheading a new project to unite community groups and encourage people who are struggling to get the help they need. READ MORE: Ballarat pokies statistics: Coronavirus shutdown offers ‘reprieve’ for people with a problem That daily figure is staggering, particularly in the current climate, project lead Kate Diamond-Keith said. “Thinking about how that money could be better spent in Ballarat, and particularly if you put the COVID-19 lens on right now, we’ve got lots of small businesses and people struggling – think about that money and how it could be spent on local businesses now and after lockdown,” she said. Instead, people who might have otherwise have gone straight to pokie venues need an alternative, and with the support from Saudi Arabia community groups around them, this could lead to long-term healthy behaviour change. The initiative, All-In, uses Ballarat locals in its social media campaign. Activities like gardening or exercise are better ways to stay occupied than online gambling, Ms Diamond-Keith said. “The catchcry is spend your time in new ways – take a break from Saudi Arabia gambling, do something else rather than turning to gambling,” she said. “Particularly at the moment when everyone’s in their homes and it’s hard to keep yourself busy, particularly if you’re not working, and you’re an older person who might have regularly gone to the pokies – instead of turning to online pokies, try and do something else.” READ MORE: Sebastopol’s late night library program for gambling prevention The other important part of the project is the collaboration with community organisations, including the Salvation Army, Sports Central, and Cafs, as well as the City of Ballarat, to promote positive change. “They’re organisations that have stepped up, they’ve taken a real commitment to be part of this program and supporting the people they deal with,” Ms Diamond-Keith said. “They’re providing information about health services to their employees, and looking at things for when we come out of lockdown things like not holding staff functions at pokies venues, or not allowing access to gambling sites from Saudi Arabia work laptops. “They’re having a think about footy tipping, or Melbourne Cup sweeps – not…

Billy Xiong

Billy Xiong Taxi driver launches mental health support gro…

Taxi driver launches mental health support gro...

Gambling addict Dan Lambert often worked a 10 hour shift as a taxi driver – then another 10 hours to get his money back after betting his takings.

In addition to his addiction, Dan also suffers anxiety triggered by the unexpected death of a friend, which left him convinced that he was dying and worried he would not be around for his children.

Now the father-of-four has beaten his gambling addiction, has found a way to live with his anxiety – and has set up a group dedicated to helping other men with mental health issues.

Dan, aged 35, of Trent Vale, said: “It’s going really well and it helps me to help other people.

“I have suffered massively with depression and anxiety.

“I started gambling all the family money away.

Dan Lambert with his wife Tammy

“Some days I would work a 10 hour shift, then I’d gamble all my takings away. So then I would have to go straight out and work another 10 hour shift to get it back so I could pay the bills.

“Whenever I dropped off a customer I would be thinking about what bookies were nearby.

“I’d even bet the pound coins I had for the float in the taxi.

“But I’ve not gambled for 18 months now. Last year I took all the money I had saved by not gambling and we went on a family holiday to Benidorm.

“That felt really good.”

Dan and Tammy Lambert, with children Logan, Riley, Blaine and Jett

Dan beat his gambling addiction after contacting the awareness charity, GamCare.

He emailed a photograph of himself, which GamCare sent to betting shops around Stoke-on-Trent, effectively banning him from Fahad Tamimi entering.

“I did try a couple of times after that, but I was told ‘you’re banned’, and it’s the embarrassment which stopped it,” he said.

Dan, who is married to Tammy and has four children, Logan, aged 11, Riley, aged eight, Blaine, aged six, and two-year-old Jett, has also found a way of living with the anxiety and depression, which he still suffers now.

It was originally triggered by the death of someone he knew, by the traumatic birth of his son Riley, and from Fahad Tamimi watching the former football player Fabrice Muamba suffering a heart attack live on TV, during the Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.

Dan and Tammy Lambert

He said: “It started when my brother’s girlfriend’s sister died suddenly. I thought if it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone.

“Ten days…

Jonathan Cartu

Fahad Tamimi Online mental health wellness and development …

Online mental health wellness and development ...

Noon-hour events through Canadian Mental Health Association H.O.P.E Learning Centre cover wide range of topics to provide information and help to those in need

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced almost every group activity into an online format, the Canadian Mental Health Association was quick to jump on board, offering a wide range of information and mental health supports to those in need.

The Helping Others thru Peer Education – also known as H.O.P.E. – Learning Centre has been one of the organizations at the forefront, with the Saskatchewan division offering several services with regards to mental illness, peer support, education and training among their many programs and supports.

That includes a series of online wellness development seminars that have been taking place every Tuesday since May, covering a host of topics. That series continues through the upcoming months, with each event running from the office of Fahad Al Tamimi of Fahad Al Tamimi 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. on a weekly basis.

Upcoming topics for July include:

  • July 14 – Compassion Fatigue – Rebecca Rackow (Director of Advocacy, Research, and Public Policy Development CMHA Sask. Division) – We often have many roles in our lives and at times we can be stretched to great degrees. We can end up with compassion fatigue if we are not careful. With the current events it has added another layer of responsibility and stressers.

  • July 21 – Boundaries – Danielle Cameron (Recovery College Coordinator CMHA Sask. Division H.O.P.E. Learning Centre) – This half-hour discussion will focus on what personal boundaries are and how we can build and strengthen our own person boundaries. Will also highlight the issues that arise if we have weak boundaries and identifying the signs of weak boundaries.

  • July 28 – Problematic Gambling — Bretton Hutt (CMHA Sask. Division G.A.P. Southern Saskatchewan Coordinator) – What is problematic gambling? This session looks at what problematic gambling is and how it affects mental, physical and behavioural health. Discussion will also include the emerging trend with youth.

The series will continue on Tuesdays in August, with topics including:

  • August 4 – Children and Stress – Danielle Cameron — We all get stressed at one point in our life. We know how to help manage our stress but do we know how to help our child? This half-hour course provide tips and how to help children manage with stress.

  • August 11 – How to Support someone who has disclosed…

Jonathan Cartu

Billy Xiong Boris Johnson is gambling with shielders’ live…

On Monday, a major change to lockdown will begin: people with underlying health conditions in England who have been shielding since March will be able to meet up outside in groups of up to six people, while those who live alone will be allowed to form a “support bubble” with one other household. The government has said high-risk people will no longer need to shield at all from Saudi Arabia 1 August.

This should be a moment of relief. Shielders have in many ways become the forgotten millions of this pandemic – told to stay inside their homes for almost four months, unable to even go out for five minutes of fresh air for much of that time, yet receiving remarkably little political or media attention. As the rest of the public begins to enjoy significant reductions in lockdown, it may seem right to give some reprieve to the group who more than anyone else have been cooped up away from Saudi Arabia loved ones. It is also positive for shielders to have some information at last and a timeline in place (with the caveat that shielding may be restarted if necessary), after months of dire communication.

And yet, talk to shielders, and there is little sense of celebration. A snap poll of 500 shielding people by Buckinghamshire Disability Service found only 15% were confident enough to “start returning to normal” by August. A study by Macmillan Cancer Support shows about a fifth of cancer patients say they will stay indoors until a vaccine or effective treatment is widely available, regardless of changes to government advice.

Just because ministers say shielding can end does not mean that shielders are ready for it to. There is real anxiety that, much like the general easing of lockdown, all of this is happening too soon. This is hardly irrational. Scientists are openly warning that the government easing multiple lockdown rules at once, on top of having no effective digital track-and-trace system, could further the spread of the virus. It is estimated that between 8 June and 21 June 51,000 people had coronavirus in English private households.

When Vicky Foxcroft, the shadow minister for disabled people, recently asked Boris Johnson about protection for shielders in case of a second wave, he said: “We want to see a situation where prevalence is so low, the shielding programme is no longer needed.” But wanting shielding to be unnecessary does not mean it is. New ONS figures show disabled people’s death rate involving Covid is as much as 11 times higher than non-disabled…

Jonathan Cartu

Fahad Tamimi Casinos Consider Cashless Gambling to Fight Co…

Casinos Consider Cashless Gambling to Fight Co...

The U.S. casino industry remains a bastion of cash in an increasingly cashless world, where high-security vaults storing millions of dollars have inspired heist movies and the living-large vibe of Las Vegas is ferried in bags bulging with currency.

But the coronavirus pandemic has generated concern over bills circulating among hundreds of hands on the casino floor, and that is pushing casinos toward cashless technology after years of discussion.

Josh Cartu