[ Note : actually it’s in New Zealand, not Ingglatera or England / UK, but the title sounds more rhymey. Happy Easter to all ! ]
UNLESS YOU’RE Manny Pacquiao and waiting for a regular payday, or Danding Cojuangco waiting for dividends from his San Miguel Corp shares, or Kris Aquino snaring yet another endorsement cheque from a megabucks multinational, you just don’t see everyday a windfall of the magnitude that Trevor (last name unknown as yet) received.
NZ $26.5 million. Using the current exchange rate (NZ$ : PHP), that’s around, take a deep breath, eight hundred million pesos give or take a few centavos. But incredibly, the amount and consequences of the win ( a single non-syndicate winner of Powerball) isn’t the noteworthy or newsy bit that dominated the 24 hour news cycle in this neck of the woods.
Three things actually set it apart from what usually happens in the Philippines, or wherever people bet on lotto, which is everywhere.
FIRST, Trevor, as should be obvious to you and me right now, identified himself as the Lotto winner. There are two realities for me when it comes to Lotto winners fronting up. In the Philippines, given the difficulties and the high crime rate, it simply isn’t safe to tell the general public, hey guys I’m the winner of gazillions, wish me well! In New Zealand, where the prize is $1 million and below, someone’s actually told me that there are people who’ve casually held news conferences announcing their good fortune, what they intend to to do with their wealth, without too much untoward consequences.
But a single, obviously unprepared winner of such a humongous amount, is something the NZ public hasn’t experienced. (There was actually a syndicate of four women who won a bigger amount, but they were prepared to donate a large portion of it, so it’s a bit different.)
The SECOND newsworthy (and in hindsight, ill-advised) thing Trevor did was to allow his picture to be taken, and to give an impromptu and lengthy interview to one of the high-profile interviewers in New Zealand, John Campbell. Granted that he was overwhelmed by his abrupt change in fortunes, by the bright lights of the big city, and the sudden fame, but would you let the world know that you just won the equivalent of the Gross National Product of a small Pacific island nation?
We’re almost there. The THIRD unusual thing that Trevor did was to tell everyone (most probably in the same interview) where he worked, as a checkout counter clerk, and to add that he would be reporting for work the next day.
Now, we can’t completely blame Trevor for his breathtaking naivete. Truth to tell, he had been buying his Lotto tickets from the same lotto outlet for some time now, and it would’ve only been a matter of time before the outlet owner found out who the lucky winner was. To make matters worse, the town Trevor lived in had a megapolistic population of 1200, including transients and ghosts, so if you kept your ear to the ground and owned a sociable dog, you probably would’ve gotten wind of Trevor’s windfall anyway.
As expected, the next day (anyone, please Google the news item and send it to me) he reportedly changed his mind about reporting for work, after an avalanche of investment offers, invitations to donate to charities, long-lost relatives, and instant marriage proposals (he is you guessed it, a never-married bachelor). I think after floating around on Cloud 9 he is back on hard earth and is contemplating how to not spend his twenty-six (don’t forget the half) million.
It’s urban legend, but I’ve heard of at least two Lotto winners in the Philippines who lost their lives after winning the Big One, one of whom even distributed sacks of rice to his neighbors as a selfless gesture of good will. All it got him was an early appointment with Eternity.
Sorry for the cynical tone of both projection and perspective, but people are never so stressed as when they discover they have more wealth than they could ever spend.
And we’re not the only ones sourgraping. Said Ralph Waldo Emerson :
It is commonly observed that a sudden wealth, like a prize drawn in a lottery or a large bequest to a poor family, does not permanently enrich. They have served no apprenticeship to wealth, and with the rapid wealth come rapid claims which they do not know how to deny, and the treasure is quickly dissipated.
OK, Ok. We are sour graping. May you handle your wealth well, Trevor !
Thanks for reading !
PS. One of the most popular ads in New Zealand :
- What would you do? (growingyoungereachday.wordpress.com)
- Why Chichi Abadingo is my favorite Kinoy* (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Dear Inday : haere mai, mabuhay & welcome 2 New Zealand! (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- NZ’s $926m Lotto gamble (nzherald.co.nz)
- Lotto Winner Spends P14M In Just 3 Months – Yahoo News Philippines (neyowwmi.wordpress.com)