Nov 24, 2015
I visited the pet shop and saw bottles of 2 eco-shrimps/bottle selling at S$58. There were eco-shrimps and bigger bottles with eco-shrimps and snails, all miniatures. The shrimps were less than a year old and measure around 7 mm long while the snails were around 7 mm across. They do not need water changes, feeding and sunlight as they feed on the algae. They can live up to around 8 years and are mature at 4 years of age. Entirely maintenance free except occasionally to top up water.
"In January, I was selling these shrimps like hot cakes," Agnes said to me. "Many buyers had become lucky to have won 4-digit draws. So, if the buyer feels happy to buy the selected bottle of eco-shrimps, they can become rich by winning the 4-Ds draw." For a $10.00 bet (big), the winner must get any of the numbers in the draw from lst prize to starter. He will win $20,000. For a similar $10 bet (small), he must get the correct number from the top 3 prizes. His prize will be $30,000.
"Buying eco-shrimps will bring me wealth in 4-D sounds very much like sales talk," I said to Agnes, a pleasant fair lady. She laughed loudly.
"I won $20 for a $2 bet when the recent first batch arrived," she related her own luck. She had been selling eco-shrimps from the American suppliers from January to April when there was no stock for the next two months. Many teachers had purchased from her for educational purposes and that was why she sold them like hot cakes. She dared to take risk to introduce this new pet to Singapore and had been rewarded by the great demand. The other shopping malls were selling at a much higher price and few Singaporeans are aware of this new type of pet.
"What number did you pick to bet?" I asked.
"My van number. Some driver hit me from behind in June, along Braddell Road, turning into Raffles Institution. I was trembling and had whip lash. I still go for physiotherapy every week but I just do not feel well as before."
"Since you don't indulge in 4-D bets but now you had a personal experience (of being lucky to win the 4-D) on only one purchase, it must be true that eco-shrimps do bring good luck." In Singapore, you need good luck to win the 4-D. As Agnes does not indulge in 4-D bets, this win of 20X for her bet was considered very lucky. She was betting on the combination and so the payout would be small, at $100 for a $10 bet.
So, do eco-shrimps make you win 4-D? Anecdotal evidence from Agnes and many of her buyers seem to support this supposition.
Agnes was traumatised and had not received counselling after this first vehicle accident. It can be very stressful to be banged from the back when driving. She found she had green fingers as she planted sunflower seeds which grew well in her pot and spoke to the plants. "This is plant therapy," she smiled happily. She showed me the images in her smart phone. Then she gave me some sunflower seeds to grow. I am glad she has mostly recovered from the accident as she had to run her pet shop with one aunty helper only.
She told her Primary 3 student son to come to Toa Payoh Vets to work after 2 weeks of holidays.
"He is so young," I said. "Let him work in your shop more often than occasionally and he will be happier and more confident when he meets various customers."
Her educational philosophy is tell her 5 children not to aim for high marks in their studies. Just pass their examinations, not to get As. "This is what the government tells us," she said. "Do not stress the children and let them enjoy their childhood."
"So your children will not bother to study hard. After all, mummy said so. If the parents do that by telling the children that they only need to pass examinations and not excel," I said. "Will the local university accept students who have mediocre grades?"