Goodbye Fish

The Silent Splash...

Photo from Borneopost 4 Oct 2007

I would have shrugged off the news of the Dead Fish At Friendship Park in the Borneo Post's 4th October 2007 report until I read the next morning's 5th October 2007 Who's Dastradly Act I am brought back to the time while I was reviewing a book called The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson during undergraduate days. Rachel took on the chemical industry and raised important questions about humankind's impact on nature. The book described along the line on how the uncontrolled pesticide use led to the deaths of not only animals, especially birds, but also humans. Its title was meant to evoke a spring season in which no bird songs could be heard, because they had all died from pesticides. Back to the point about the dead as this may seem quite a different matter all together - but if we change the so called 'pesticides' in Rachel's book with 'human ignorance'. Ignorance killed those fishes and maybe if what is said by the MBKS spokesperson is true "everyone is responsible for this dastardly act". The public, the relevant authorities - basically, all of us. I hope the shocked tourists that was mentioned in the newspaper don't snap pictures of the floating dead fishes and circulate that worldwide - its a minus point for the way we take care of our public parks and the living things there.

Excerpts from the Borneo Post 4th October 2007 edition:

"A city council spokesman says fish could have been choked by oil from food public give fish".

" Kuching City South Council (MBKS) spokesman said the pond was not designed for fish and therefore, never released any fish into it.

“It’s the public who released the fish into the pond and feed them. Our security staff even said some people bring along sacks of bread and buns, probably from a local bakery,” he said when contacted for comments."

He said while the intention was good, oil from the bread and buns like butter and coconut buns would probably cause the water to turn oily and murky.

Overtime, he said the fish population, comprising tilapia, ‘kaloi’ and Japanese carp, multiplied to such an extent that they caused the water to become murkier and the water pump to malfunction.

“We have to service the water pump regularly and in the process, would normally drain the water from seven to three or four feet deep. On Tuesday, we noticed one or two dead fish but when we returned the next day the fish were all dead,” he said.

He suspected that the fish could not withstand the murky water and therefore died due to suffocation during the night when the water was drained to the three or four-foot level for maintenance work.

“It’s a pity that the fish have died but we’re not experts in fish breeding and do not realise that they cannot withstand the murky water. They might have also died due to lack of oxygen,” he said.

He advised the people not to release any fish into the man-made pond after this episode.

“The pond is not designed to keep fish,” he said, adding that the council had no problems with other man-made ponds in its jurisdiction before.

Borneo Post 4th October 2007

Excerpts from the Borneo Post 5th October 2007 edition:

KUCHING: Fish in the pond used to be the main attraction of Friendship Park here.

"And the recent dead fish incident had caused disappointment to the public who frequently visited the park."

“And if the council never released any fish into the pond why were there signboards indicating no fishing in the park?,” she asked.

She said she used to see public releasing fish fry into the pond but never knew that the pond was not meant for fish and thought that others might not be aware of it as well because there was no signboard saying that the public could not release fish into the pond.

“Feeding the fish in the pond with bread and buns could have resulted in the murky water but at the same time being able to feed the fish was what made the park so special,” she added.

"She hoped that after the repair works were done, the fish should be placed back into the pond and proper maintenance measures taken."

"Not to forget, necessary signboards must be placed in the park to avoid such incident from recurring, she said."

China - Malaysia Friendship Park - Ongoing maintainence where the water was being drained on 30th September 2007

But having just visited the place last weekend I did notice that there was some ongoing maintenance activity at the park. The water level was lower maybe because of the draining of the water. I talked with the Security Guard at the place and to quote him "...he explained that the water is being replaced. Its always once a year event which costs RM20,000. The fishes will be stored by the Majlis Bandaraya Kuching Selatan water tanks." Well, that's just a chit chat session with a guard so I would not want to say if he is the expert reference point or its just layman's knowledge.

The water was greenish in colour

You get to see the greasy corner, floating debris and mineral water plastic bottles - the water was very still

The fishes were very alive on 30th September 2007

Except for some dead fishes in the Wishing Well portion - would you wish for something in here?

Due to the maintenance work and the draining of the water, I would have guessed at a glance that the fish might have died from the lack of oxygen (increased Biochemical Oxygen Demand - BOD) resulting in an increase in toxicity level (the greenish colour of the water). I would just end it here and let the proper authorities mull over what to do next. There could have been many factors which contributed to the death of those fishes and everyone had a hand in it and everyone could have had prevented it. But that is history now and there's always a lesson to be learnt from these incidents. In the words of my daughter when we left the park that Sunday, to the fishes that she grew fond of every weekend "Goodbye Fish'.


cyrildason said…
My God, Thats a lot of fish bro!!! A hell lot!!! (I've never been to friendship garden)*blushing*
Too bad about the fish. A pond should have fish, and whoever runs the place should have taken that into consideration. A Chinese themed place with a pond, without fish? That is unusual.
I think something is very wrong with the malaysian public. Our attitude towards littering is just unimaginable.

pat said…
aduh..kasih amai bala ikan..pond nyak sigi bau amai enti nda di cuci ai iya..They should've ngadu nyak enggau lebih profesional tanpa ngasuh bala ikan nyak mati.
Elsa Gabriel said…
that's seem like a one decade of fish supply..poor fishy :( y some people just so no moral...never been to school ah? said…
Poor fish. I've been there twice. Such a lovely place and the lost of those fish will definitely make the place lose it's luster ...