When I was a kid, my elderly relatives would ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember answering them, “A doctor”. Back then, nobody, including myself, thought of a fallback in case I didn’t pursue. Now, I am a doctor by day, and a fish hobbyist at night.
Caring for pets, particularly fishes, has been my hobby for almost 25 years. When I was in nursery school, I would ask my parents to bring me to the pet store and buy some guppies and gold fishes. It went on until I was able to buy fishes and spend on their food and maintenance on my own. Back in 2002 during my 2nd year of medical school, I realized that there was a big variety of exotic fishes that weren’t sold here so I decided to import from the U.S. Importation meant a big volume of fishes, so inevitably, I did my marketing over the online forums and met some members, who eventually bought these fishes from me. It helped me profit a little and after which, I began importing from Africa, Peru, Colombia, Thailand, and Indonesia, too! My fish collection grew as well as my network outside the medical field. Now I know that there are lots of “crazy” people out there who also shared the same passion. Some of them became really good friends up until this day.
I entered residency training in Ophthalmology at The Medical City in 2007. Not that I am complaining, but as a resident, we only get a measly allowance/salary that was just enough to spend on parking, gas and food alone. Fortunately, I was still able to import and sell fishes despite the schedule, and pay off my expenses.
Last October 2009, I got married. My ever loving and supportive wife, being a pet lover herself, allowed me to continue importing fishes. She even fed them when I wasn’t around. My training ended December 2010 and most of the patients then were relatives and friends. Being a father the following year, I needed to earn more for my family, thus, encouraging...