China, due to unfair trade practices and a wild-west approach to capitalism, all overseen by President-for-Life Xi, has seen many really lucky Communist Party Officials become fabulously wealthy. Being incredibly rich in China means that one proves it by owning an exotic aquarium, filled with arowana fish. This prized fish is also known as the “long yu” or dragon fish for its resemblance to a dragon, a completely fabricated animal that most Americans and Chinese believe really existed sometime after the dinosaurs and before the wooly mammoths.
According to the Singapore Journal (the first newspaper the Clown reads of a morning), Eugene Ng, a veterinarian trying to save enough money to buy a vowel from Wheel of Fortune (he could use a long yu) has cornered the market in arowana fish plastic surgery. The eye lift is $90 while the chin job is only $60. Considering that one wealthy Chinese businessman (and, no surprise, a Communist Party Official), paid $300,000 for one of his many arowana, the cosmetic surgery cost isn’t even pocket change. More like pocket lint.
A Singapore “hobbiest”, Kenny Lim, has spent more than $600,000 in building up his arowana collection. According to Kenny, the arowana bring good luck and wealth. Of course, one has to get wealthy before one can afford an arowana so it’s kinda a cart before the fish deal. For Kenny, the fish are an investment. The Clown has some property south of Houston that he would like to sell Kenny before the next hurricane season.
According to Kenny Yap (no relation to the previous Kenny), executive chairman of Qian Hu Fish, a premier arowana breeding outfit, there are stories of faithful arowanas sacrificing themselves by leaping out of their tanks to warn their businessmen owners of potentially bad business decisions. In these cases, the lucky businessman walks into his office where a $300,000 fish lies desiccated on the floor, thus warning the businessman not to invest $100,000 in that tech start-up. The Chinese are, indeed, inscrutable.
One of the things that struck the Clown about the Singapore Journal’s arowana story was the combination of western first names with asian surnames. Eugene Ng, Kenny Lim, Kenny Yap. Were American parents to adopt the reverse practice, the result would be something like Hung Lo Johnson, Ho Chi Miller or Mao Ze Douglas.
But I digress.
If cosmetic surgery for fish is a successful business model, why not expand the industry? For instance, why not offer to turn the wealthy sheik’s one-hump dromedary camel into a two-hump Bactrian? It would make them easier to ride because the rider can nestled down in the swale between the humps instead of precariously perching on the summit of a one-humper. Just think of the market for turkey chin wattle removal or cosmetic testicle construction for dogs that have been unceremoniously neutered. These dogs could then go to the dog park with pride, albeit without the real goods. There are a ton of things that could be done to improve the looks of such animals as octopi, dangler fish, warthogs, elephant seals, proboscis monkeys and pugs. I’m sure that there are many more, but the Clown is too lazy to look into it.
In any case, if you are ever in China trying to swing a deal with a wealthy Chinese Communist Party businessman and one of his fish suddenly leaps from the aquarium and flops around on the incredibly expensive carpet, simply close your attache case, rise, bow and leave ’cause you ain’t gettin’ the deal.
Observoid of the Day: America used to be an inspirational story. Now it’s a punchline.