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Reeling in good fortune
Publication Date : 31-01-2013
Chinese New Year sees a trend to buy ornamnetal koi fish as gifts as these are believed to bring good fortune
Forget about bamboo plants, live koi fish are proving to be popular this Chinese New Year.
Many people are buying the fish for themselves or to give away as gifts as these are believed to bring good fortune.
Sales of the ornamental fish have increased recently, say dealers.
Kepong Koi manager Kenny Wong said his shop had received over 50 requests.
“More people are interested in koi and the less expensive ones are priced at 300 ringgit (US$96.97),” he said.
Atarikoi Tropicana branch director Andrew Gan Wah Seng said his regular customers are from the older generation.
“They buy koi because it is tradition,” said Gan, adding that the price ranges from 60 ringgit to 130,000 ringgit.
Universiti Malaya Chinese Studies department lecturer Prof Dr Yam Kah Kean explained that giving koi would improve the career prospects of the receiver.
“In Chinese folklore, it is believed that koi will turn into dragons as they jump over a gate called the Dragon Gate, hence symbolising the ability of one to go up in life,” he said.
The pronunciation of fish in Chinese is the same as abundance.
“Therefore one can carry over riches from the past year into the current year,” he said.
Malaysian Institute of Geomancy Sciences founder Master David Koh agreed, adding that it is believed that a fish brings financial prosperity.
“The Cantonese word for fish and balance has the same pronunciation which is yu.
“Some people associate fish with prosperity because it means you would have extra cash to spare,” he said.
However, Koh clarified that buying koi for Chinese New Year was purely commercial as is not linked to geomancy.
“At one time it was also believed that the arowana fish would bring a person luck, and many bought them hoping they could win 4D and the same is true for koi.
“But there is no harm in thinking it brings luck” Koh said.