Snakes Bring Fortune to Farmers

July 4, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. profit (v.) [prof-it] – to get something good in return (such as money)
Example: People living near the shore profit mainly from fishing.

2. backyard (n.) [bak-yahrd] – the space at the back of a structure (usually of a house or a building)
Example: My mother turned our backyard into a garden.
3. pan out (v.) [pan] [out] – to be successful or to have a positive result
Example: Because he was patient and motivated, his business plans panned out.  

4. influence (v.) [in-floo-uhns] – to have an effect on (somebody)
Example: My sister’s love for cooking influenced me to take cooking classes.

5. vital (adj.) [vahyt-l] – (something) really important or necessary
Example: The lung is a vital organ for breathing. 

Read the text below.

Farmers in a small village in China are earning hundreds of thousands of Yuan just from breeding snakes. One hundred sixty (160) families from Zisiqiao, also called the ‘snake town’, profit from breeding cobras, vipers and pythons which are sold to restaurants and traditional medicine manufacturers in the country.

Snake-breeding business in Zisiqiao started decades ago when a farmer named Yang Hongchang started breeding and selling wild snakes. Worried that wild snakes might run out, Hongchang began to experiment on raising snakes in his own backyard. Years later, his business panned out, eventually influencing his neighbors to follow his example.

Zisiqiao now provides various snake products—from snake wine to snake powder—not only to China but also to places as far as the US, Germany, Japan and South Korea. Snake is  known to be a vital ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. Snakes are also said to strengthen the immune system when used in soup or wine.

The growing demand for snake products partly comes from the plan of the Chinese government to support traditional Chinese medicine.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         What dangers do you think the breeding of snakes pose on people and the environment?
·         How can people or the government prevent such dangers?

Discussion B

·         What other factors do you think affect one’s success (in business or life)?
·         If you were to come up with a business using what you have around you, what business would that be?

July 4, 2011