The mark of a good koi

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The Koi Effect

I have been keeping Japanese carps, or koi, since 1999. They are the last thing he sees before he leaves for work and the first that greets him when he arrives home.

When I open my car door, the first thing I hear is the pleasant sound of the waterfall. I instinctively walk towards it and the koi ponds. The water in both ponds is crystal clear, and I see my carps swimming towards me.

They have a wonderful effect on me. The stress of a long workday rolls away, and I feel refreshed and rejuvenated. I spend the next 15 to 30 minutes feeding them and enjoying the serenity, before I go in to see my family, calmed and very much relaxed. Hong is among a growing pool of koi collectors. It is an interest that became popular in Malaysia about two decades ago, when koi were first imported into the country.

Today, there are koi from Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and China. Breeding them has developed into a huge industry here, with most breeders located in Selangor, Johor and Perak,

They come under Malaysia's multi-million ringgit ornamental fish industry. Gan is one of three traders to specialise in carps from Japan, when they first became a rich man's hobby in Malaysia.

Today, koi from other countries are available here. However, Gan claims that these are of a lower quality and they cost very much less. "Beginners are easily hoodwinked because they do not know how to tell the difference," he says.

It is an interest dominated by men, something of an extension of the lad growing up with gold fish. It is also because they have the means, most of them being corporate figures, doctors or politicians. Ten out of 10 say watching the koi helps them to relax.

Another developer, who wants to be identified only as Sam, sits by his koi pond as often as he can.They drive the day's pressures away.

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