Tuesday, 23 September 2014
What a waste of time. And I had to witness an old uncle kissing the right cheek of a 28~9ish, thick make-up foreign prostitute at a bus-stop after that (*shivers* I grimaced & looked away while sitting in bus 100). The location of this aquarium shop is after all near Geylang area. (What a bad location).
After going to a few other aquarium shops so far, this is one stop that I left out. I had initially wanted to go there at the start of my shop hunt 2 weeks ago after checking their website, but it somehow fell off my list, and I have been going to other shops instead. Somehow, I didn't think it was worth the trip. Turned out I was right.
2.5 hrs gone. In the hot sun. Returned empty-handed (left the house at around 2.10pm, returned 5pm, there goes my entire afternoon). Was prepared to spend but there's nothing to spend on. I brought 2 banks with me. My bank card & my bro's.
Spent about 15 mins in the small shop & the moment the guy started coughing, I immediately walked out. I was done browsing anyway. I had picked up a packet of soil & was looking at it when he coughed at his counter behind me. (The guy is the 2nd from the left in their Facebook photo.).
The problem with all these small, "boutique" shops, is that they are small, sell very few things & you always get asked what you're looking for. (I like big shops with the more things the better).
The moment I opened the door & stepped in, the 2nd guy on the left of their Facebook photo said "Hi". Plus point. I said "Hi" back.
After some quiet browsing starting from the left side to the back, the first guy on the left of their Facebook photo asked in Chinese if I was looking for anything. He looked like an Ah Beng, looked & sounded uneducated. (I overheard that he has a girlfriend who wants him to eat Hokkien Mee with her. I bet she looks like an "Ah Lian" to have chosen him.).
I replied in Chinese that I was "just looking" (even though I came for their aquatic plants & Italian bloodworms that I saw on their website). It was uncomfortable to look at his face so I flicked my glance aside as I spoke. His face is what is called in Hokkien "Bo Lang Yan". (literal meaning, no people fate. An unappealing face.).
If you're staying in that area, it's probably the only convenient shop there. But if you're from somewhere far away & thinking of going there, forget it.
If you're looking for rocks, they have quite plenty compared to other shops. Koke, Okio, Brown river & whatever rocks. Plenty of clean, light brown twigs (Green Chapter has plenty of rocks & twigs too but dirtier & dustier.). For a piece of Koke rock that I put on their weighing scale, less than 250g, about $5. Reasonable price for the size.
If you're looking for aquatic plants like I was, forget it. Very few varieties & expensive. Presumably imported $14/$20. The local plants are $4 but small & poor. Get better, cheaper & more at Clementi Florist Blk 328 (C328). [beware of rootless ones that won't grow & will die.]
When the 2nd guy (the 2nd one on the left of their Facebook photo who had greeted me when I first came in) saw me lowering to look at some moss in the tanks in front of the counter & asked if I was looking for something, I said I came looking for aquatic plants but theirs are few (I think I might have offended him by saying they have few plants). He said they have more in the fridge.
In their fridge, they have cups of jelly substrate-grown ($14) & Anubias brand of plants ($15). Those jelly substrate plants can also be found at Clementi Florist shop (also $14). When I asked if those jelly substrate types die more easily than the normal plants, he made odd looks & said the jelly types are hardier.
Hardier? Plants grown in man-made substrate under controlled conditions may be disease & pest-free but they cannot possibly be hardier than natural & normal plants. If they are so hardy, why are they kept in the fridge? At Clementi Florist shop, the exact same cups of such plants left outside, have turned yellow & died. These jelly-substrate lab-grown plants are weaker, not hardier.
I didn't mention what I was thinking.
Perhaps I offended him again when I returned to reading a brochure after concluding our talk. Seeing that I was back to the brochure, he went to sit at his counter. I went to the fridge, looked at the plants through the door, noticed the jelly substrate plants were $14 & asked if the plants from Anubias were also $14 & he replied in a rather hard tone with a hand over his mouth, "Fifteen".
All the while looking through the fridge door, trying to see the types of plants in their cups, I was thinking he should say it's Ok to open the door for a better look. But he never said a word. Minus point for that. An uncle would straightaway tell me to go ahead & open the door for a better look. It's impossible to look properly at the individual plants without opening the fridge door.
Uncles are better at doing business. They are more natural, jovial & practical when interacting with customers. Young people lack experience & exposure to do a business well when it comes to people. There may be exceptions, but not here.
If you're looking for ADA materials, Green Chapter has more.
As for shrimps... their shrimps are few, small & not well. I saw a red one just laying slumped on the soil. I think it's dead.
As for fishes... the prices are low, around same price as other shops, but few variety & few in number in each tank. Chocolate gourami, Tetras & one or two others.
It seems the shop is not doing well. One guy told the other guy not to order a certain item until "better times". Well, with the competition around, it's not surprising.
I think the aquarium business is difficult for young people to do in SG without the experience & knowledge. It's not for young punks to play.
It would seem that it's the father who has given his son/s this shop to play. These 2 guys don't look or behave like owners. One guy asked the other guy, "Ask your father about" a particular type of wood. "He'll know what I mean.".
Clementi Florist has been around for so long & has many customers because 1) cheap 2) variety 3) nice aunty (if she's there) 4) give discount.
The Clementi Florist shop is so small that customers have to squeeze past each other, but that's just part of the charm. The low lighting with all the jam-packed stuff is the ambience. Go on a hot Monday afternoon & the place suddenly becomes spacious without most customers around. Bro gets a headache & must keep himself outside the shop & hence has stopped following me there.
Ah! Fishy Business has Bettas (Fighting Fish) that they show on their website. Beautiful but very expensive in the actual shop. $90. $100. Who the heck wants to buy?
Just 1 shrimp, the other day I was at Polyart Clementi, one male customer told his friend before walking off, "So small $6.".
The key to success is to follow Clementi Florist. Sell plenty & cheap. Nobody is going to buy a $90 fighting fish/Betta. (What's the likelihood that some rich person will buy? Mascot Crowntail Betta. $100).
Clementi Florist (I'm guessing it used to sell terrestrial plants) sells common & cheap fishes that everyone goes fishing for when it's crowded. I saw a guy standing in a half bend with his butt sticking partly out along the main narrow aisle fishing on one crowded afternoon. How he is able to even fish in such crowded condition, I have no idea.
As for the Italian bloodworms that I was hoping to buy after seeing the Fishy Business Facebook that they had imported this Italian range of food... well, those are not bloodworms. The ingredients description on the container says it's 100% insect. For fishes that like to eat insects. I really don't know how the Italians can label it as "Bloodworms" when it's 100% insect. You know what are bloodworms, Italians?
I'm not saying don't go to Fishy Business. I'm just saying that if you live far away from that area, it's not worth the trip. I'd rather drop by Green Chapter which isn't perfect but at least has more things to browse & more tanks to admire & better shrimps that can be bought (even if rather poor variety of plants).
Usually, when I enter a shop for the 1st time, I am quiet. At most, if the person greets me, I will return that greeting, but other than that, I remain quiet. I observe rather than speak. If I need to ask about something, I will. But not after some thought first. So, if you're in the shop, you'll see me slowly looking around, very quietly as if I am not there. If however, you're talking to someone, I will be listening without looking. My bro however, if he's around, he will look as well as listen. And he is better than me at listening & observing.
Update 7 Oct 11.08am: The shop specializes in ADA products. Expensive brand. Seems that they are the only ones stocking ADA tanks. As a guy from Green Chapter told me a few days ago, not many shops stock ADA products because such shops have to be able to take the lack of sales. Due to the high(er) price of the brand, only those who have tried & know the brand will be more willing to buy (fans of the brand).
So now I know why Fishy Business isn't doing as well as expected (from what the guy said about "until better times". That guy, I think is the young boss from what I've been picking up online.). And that's why I haven't been able to find any shops, except for this one, that sells ADA tanks.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
What does Goro-san wear inside his white shirt? White sleeveless V-neck singlet.
At a baseball game in the hot summer heat, he decides to copy that plump man in front who takes off his T-shirt. This is what Goro-san looks like after eating all that food every week...
Did he work out before this shoot?
Ta da... Are you sure you're not going to get heat stroke?
Bear in mind he is 51 years old. Doesn't look it. Pretty good skin tone. Damn strong voice too as he shouts his cheers for his favourite team.
Who finds this sexy?
They even start doing a special cheer together, led by Goro-san... Wait a sec... Did they shave their armpits?
I think this is really The best thing Goro-san has ever tasted. It's not acting. It's real. He can hardly say how good it is. "Hon...Hwahhhh....". Crispy spare ribs. (earlier, he ate a chicken and was surprised the bones could be eaten!).
For the first time, I see his face is red from chewing this. And he really doesn't care how he looks with his mouth stuffed up. As if the camera isn't even there. In fact, he looks like he's gonna choke on it coz he can't wait to stuff it all in.