The East Asian Games is just five months away; everybody knows it is destined to lose money. It is unlikely that masses of tourists will want to watch this sub-regional sports event. In fact, many are starting to question whether it is worth paying 5 billion patacas to host it. On the other hand, Macau can afford it - just three months of casino direct taxes will cover the cost. The main event venue, the Macau Dome, was scheduled to open by March. We are still waiting. Construction of the bowling venue started only three weeks ago. A media and information centre, which was unveiled last year, is about to undergo renovations estimated at 1 million patacas. The original budget was 2 billion patacas; the massive rise has caused public outrage. But such anger is misdirected - Macau residents should be demanding more information about how the 5 billion patacas is being spent. This lack of information has allowed East Asian Games Organising Committee chairman Manuel Silverio to get away with a vague explanation: that budgets should be flexible. 'To start with, there is no fixed budget,' he said. 'We spend according to our needs. There was some budgeting but, of course, we cannot rule out technical adjustments and follow-ups.' Spending 5 billion patacas on an event that lasts just two weeks is the equivalent of asking every Macau resident to pay 11,000 patacas for no apparent reason. But there has never been any budget document published. If people had seen some figures, they might understand why the organisers need to spend more. The organising committee has no obligation to provide the public with details of how the money is being spent; it has to answer only to government auditors. Also destined to lose money are several other tourist-oriented events, such as the 12 fireworks displays held between September and December last year. That is traditionally a slow season, so the tourism bureau had to come up with something to try to get the tourists to stay longer. Again, data on the cost of the fireworks is not available. No one can tell whether the displays, each lasting about 20 minutes at the Macau Tower waterfront, effectively convinced tourists to stay one more night in Macau, or how many knew about the fireworks before they decided to visit. But events such as the East Asian Games or the fireworks displays were not designed to reap economic benefits, said Glenn McCartney, a lecturer at the Institute for Tourism Studies. 'You have to clearly define what your goals are when hosting these events - is it to attract tourists, to promote volunteerism, or to leave a legacy of infrastructure?' he asked.