Many Asians count on their pet fish for good luck

Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:31am EDT
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By Eveline Danubrata

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - During these tough financial times, some Asians are seeking solace in faith. Others are pinning their hopes for a turnaround on their pet fish.

In the Chinese culture, owning a fish is considered a good investment because the Mandarin characters for fish and water are associated with wealth and plenty.

And a Singapore-based firm which exports more than 500 species of ornamental fish to 65 countries around the world says its business appears to be recession-proof. It even expects to turn a profit this year.

"In tough times, you tend to believe in religion even more, but you may also keep some fish," said Kenny Yap, executive chairman of ornamental fish breeders and suppliers Qian Hu, one of the biggest in Southeast Asia.

"Many different types of fish are about luck."

One of the most auspicious fish species in Chinese culture is the arowana or dragonfish, which is believed to have the power to bring luck and prosperity.

Some Chinese believe they are descendants of a mythical dragon and place high value on dragon symbolism. The red and gold arowana variety are especially prized, as their colors are seen as being traditionally lucky in China.

Yap said arowanas contribute 60 to 70 percent of Qian Hu's total sales volume of ornamental fish in China, its major market.   Continued...