Sunday, September 07, 2008

Would you pay $10 for a cricket?

From time immemorial, travellers have often labelled strange practices as "exotic" in order to sound more politically correct. Well, I'm going right for the jugular to declare that yesterday, I stumbled upon a market in Shanghai that is just plain *strange*

The Flower, Bird, Fish & Insect Market is located on Liuhekou Rd, just round the corner from the Dongtai Lu Antiques Market. The market has a pleasant facade of flower & plant shops in the front, but the real curiosities lie way in the back. Here you'll find row upon row of small clay jars containing live crickets! Crowds of people squat around these jars in animated conversation, while poking away at the insects with reed sticks. There are also huge rattan baskets filled with large bugs and other creepy crawlies.

My parents immediately understood what was going on and tried to explain that cricket competitions are a form of gambling. I suppose the gambling part makes sense since this is China after all, but I still don't understand why anyone would want to pay up to RMB100 for an insect. Do you?

Customers shopping for the best crickets at a market in Liuhekou Road

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is similar to paying RM 400 - RM 500 for fighting cocks in Malaysia.