In a video for the National Council on Problem Gambling, well-known local actor Mark Lee has opened up about his addiction to gambling.
In the eight minute-plus video, the 51-year-old Lee tearfully shared how he used to spend up to S$5,000 a week on 4-D lotteries and how his addiction hurt his loved ones and nearly ruined his life.
Lee said the idea that money was easy to come became imprinted in his mind after his success on the Comedy Night variety show in the late 1990s, in addition, to his profitable business ventures.
Recalling his early gambling days, he said: “The feeling of winning is exciting. I bought every set (of 4-D) in 24 permutations.”
His expensive gambling habit, however, soon began to consume his thoughts causing his business to falter.
Even though Lee “had to let go my employees one by one until there was no one left,” he thought he could turn things around and borrowed money to bet again so he could recover his losses.
“I ignored advice from everyone”.
While Lee vowed that he would quit gambling if he pulled off a big win, gambling became too alluring to him to quit and the greed to make more money entrapped him.
Even though he had “lost everything” in just two years, Lee told the Chinese daily: “If you win $10,000 today, you (think you can) win more next time so you’ll place bigger bets.”
In the video, Lee said that his friends and loved ones urged him to stop gambling but couldn’t change his mind. Recalling how Jack Neo berated him when he saw how low Lee had descended, Lee said,“I ignored advice from everyone”.
It was only when Lee’s mother confronted him that he felt remorse for his actions.
His mother told him: “Mark, I have two sons. Your brother died young, unfortunately. I really thought, for the rest of my life, you would look after me but now, even the only son I have left will be lost.”
Revealing that this proved to be a wake-up call for him to change his ways, Mr Lee said, with tears in his eyes, “What my mum said then was true.
I shouldn’t lose myself too. If I did, I would have lived my life in vain.”
Watch the video in full here: