Visiting Uncle Lim

Yeah I know. I’ve been missing for a while now. Not on purpose but work, business and social life – let’s just say the past 3 weeks have been both relaxing and yet, frenetic. And sometimes I just need a break from blogosphere. Bloggers do need a life beyond the PC and the ‘Net.
I took off to visit Uncle Lim.
Oh I haven’t been there in ages, maybe 10 years or so. I’m not that fond of cold weather (can’t even stand the freezer of an aircond back in my ex-work place a few years ago) and I dislike wrapping up in layers. But other people’s likes sometimes take precedence over mine so dutifully, I tagged along.
Well, what is there in Genting Highlands but the gambling and the theme park rides? So there’s really not much guessing what people do up in the highlands. Non-Muslims ALWAYS go for Uncle Lim’s casinos. If I am not mistaken, Casino de Genting was the old one or one with the high rollers. Now there’s also Starworld where the slot machines are, in addition to card games.
Genting Highlands is always a family-type of holiday. Where kids can disappear into the theme park for hours while the adults march happily into the casino.
I noted a couple of changes up there. The hotels have expanded and there’re covered walkways that link one place to another. Essentially you don’t need to walk out in the freezing cold if you don’t want to! It’s like a hamster’s maze, with escalators up and down and crowds of family and kids everywhere. Well I have a problem with the gaudy colours of the hotel – reminds me of kindergartens! But I guess the colour scheme fits with the ‘playground’ concept of Genting. Playground for the adults and playground for the kids at heart.
Another major change is that it’s a mini mall inside. 10 years ago, there wasn’t much choice during lunch and dinner but now I get to pick from the major fastfood joints to classy restaurants and cafes. Don’t expect prices to be down-to-earth though. This is Genting Highlands, after all. You’ll shrivel up and die of cold if you don’t put some food into your tummy! And the smorgasboard of choices boggles the mind – Chinese, hotpot, Malaysian, whatever you fancy. Just that don’t expect food to taste spectacular. All I wanted was a mug of hot tea. All I needed was to curl up beside the tea too!
And shopping! Forget your clothes? Or shoes? Why not buy some while you’re up there? I saw Padini there with some skimpy stuff which I wouldn’t wear because the cold might get me. Yet I saw fashionistas in the miniest of minis. Perhaps the heat of strangers’ lusty stares warm them. Or maybe they’re blessed with blubber. The Body Shop, Lovely Lace, heck, even Starbucks is there.
Finally (this is what you’re waiting for right?)… the casino. This is the thing about getting older. When I was pre-21, the objective was to get into the casino at whatever the cost. Wearing adult clothes, looking sophisticated, walking (okay, maybe swaggering a bit) confidently – all that. It became a game just trying to fool the guards into letting us in (you see, pre-21 year old girls love this type of nutty challenge). Once I was legally able to get in without the guards asking for IC, hmmm…the glitter wore off.
That was in Casino de Genting. The new one is called Starworld.
The Starworld Casino is located at the Genting Indoor Theme Park. At the very end of it but you’ll never get lost because all signs point there. As usual, guards are on standby in case you’re Muslim or underage. Most people walk in without even bothering to look at the poor guards. Once you’re in there, it’s smoky and warm. I guess there’s something about smoking and gambling. Machismo? While I was cold outside, I was peeling off my sweater inside. As I wore lenses, my eyes started to smart. Yes, because of the smoky atmosphere!
It’s easy to learn how to play the slot machines. Just hang around and watch the aunties play. And they’ll still be at it for the next few hours. They sit like zombies and keep pressing the buttons. You start with a minimum of RM10 which buys you a number of credits. Next start betting.
The slot machines are all computerised too so at the end of your play, just grab hold of the Starworld staff to “withdraw” your earnings. They’ll help you pop in a card, transfer the credit as ringgit into the card and you take this card with you.
Regulars have cards with their names on them, I heard. Then you go around, and find the lucky slot machine, pop your card in (with whatever remaining money aka credit) and start playing. If you lose everything to the machine, you can insert more money into the machine which in turn gives you more credits. If you’ve had it, just bring the card to the cashier and she’ll give you your money/earnings of the day.
But it’s easy to lose sense of time when you’re inside the casino. No windows so you won’t know if it is day or night. No one to tell you to go and sleep if you don’t want to (Starworld is open 24 hours). And you never really have to go out of the casino for anything – there are ATMs, bathrooms, and a cafe with a free flow of beverages. The day I was there, they even had a singing duo to entertain the aunties with Cantopop (good Cantopop actually). Someone even offered masseur services because one can get a neckache from playing the slot machines. Whether or not the masseur services are an euphemism for something else is another matter.
Of course if you get sick and tired (or can’t find an EMPTY slot machine to play – it’s highly likely because everyone wants to play the slots), you can sample the other games going on. Blackjack, roulette, tai sai (that’s big small in Cantonese for you) and more. But let’s leave those for the experts. Money changes hands faster at these tables.
Hint: Go for Xanadu, Zorro and Glamour Girl slot machines. Lots of fun but Xanadu is always hot with the uncles and aunties. You have to wait for your turn patiently because let’s face it, slot machines are addictive. You can’t peel yourself away!
* Everyone knows who Uncle Lim is. When Malaysians say they’re visiting Uncle Lim, there’s only one place to go. The casino. His casino.

4 thoughts on “Visiting Uncle Lim”

  1. One of the reasons Uncle Lim is so successful is because it is located on the Titiwangsa mountain range which is considered the ‘dragon’ backbone of Malaysia. Such formation is regarded ideal and it is no mystery that one of the the great feng shui masters and also a very well-known feng shui writer reside in Malaysia. In esoteric feng shui, such auspicious formations produced sheng chi or dragon’s breath when the ‘eyes’ of the dragon are dotted thus bringing it to life.

  2. I was up there…what…like 2 years ago or something. NOt as long as you lah. But yeah, tons of things has happened UP THERE. They’re really so much more COMMERCIALIZED (if there’s anything not commercialized there) now. YOu believe it or not, one room cost me about RM20 or something like that during one of their promotions, you know? Bloody cheap or what????
    But every other vice is my game…just not gambling. stingy like nobody else. Can’t even let go of a 1 sen coin without hesitating. So, if you ask me to gamble, might as well ask me to donate my kidney to a complete stranger. very hard to do.
    but apart from my sister, everyone else (including my husband) in my family are gamblers. My mother cheerfully dug into my sister’s first priZe winning of a microwave oven during a company dinner to look for warranty card number.
    I just shrug and grin…my family or what??

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