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Fynnmood Goldfish Club (FGC) Venture to Princess CUP

I shall start this article by introducing the different competitions available in Thailand. There are major 5 events. First 4 events judges are from Thai government department, Fishery Board, and the fifth event judges are from international experts.

The first event – MARCH period

This is known as “The Start of the Season Competition”.
This event is usually grace by (Daughter of the Prince)
Among the Thai hobbyists and commercial, this event is view more as a preliminary activity before the following competition to come. It is like Emmy Award before the Academy (Oscar) Award in America show business.
For tennis fan, probably you can see this event as Australian Open (hard court). It is one of tennis Grand Slam event. However it has the younger history (1905) as compared to the other three Grand Slam events.

The second event – JUNE / JULY period

This is known as “The Princess Cup”.
This event is usually grace by Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
To the Thai this is the biggest and most looks forward event. This is the event, where commercials were battle out for the honourable prize. Nonetheless, quite regularly and not uncommon that individual hobbyist managed to edge out these giant players. At time the result is as expected and on other occasion, it totally takes everyone by surprise. It is an event that every aquarists focus intensively on in Thailand.
In term of tennis, this is considers similarly as the oldest and prestigious Grand Slam - Wimbledon Tournament (play in original glass court), which started since 1877.

The third event – OCTOBER period

This is sometime refers as “The Queen Cup”.
This event is sometime grace by (Queen or Ex-Wife of the Prince)
Perhaps after a big event, for some reasons, this event does not seem to captivate the Thai hobbyists as much as the Princess Cup event. Nevertheless, it is still one of the Grand Slams in Thailand.
In term of tennis, this would consider to be the equivalent of the French Open (clay court) which has one of the oldest tournament histories, since 1891.

The fourth event – DECEMBER period

This is called “The King Cup”.
However this event is not grace by the King, himself. It is the representative that graces the event.
Even so, because the event bears the title ‘King’, this event is also highly regarded by the Thai hobbyists. All the ‘big’ players would never satisfy until their Grand Slam collection includes The King Cup.
In term of tennis, the equivalent tournament would be the US Open (hard court) which started in 1881. It was only a few years short from Wimbledon Tournament.

The fifth event – DECEMBER/JANURARY period

This is a fairly new event, it is known as “Banpong Festival”
This event is graced by Her Royal Highness Princess Srirat, Royal Consort to HRH the Crown Prince of Thailand.
Although this event is very new, it excites many people. This is because this event is held at the heart of Banpong district where most of the goldfish farms are located! The standard of the event is really high too, as most of the competitors or participants are mainly top breeders and farmers.

The following photos are some snap shots of the Princess Cup event overview.

The event was held under a huge tent attached to the shopping mall.

Photo (1), (2): While walking in the mall, stalls were set up selling fish keeping equipments to different kind of fishes. These stalls almost covered the entire stretch of the mall .

Photo (3): Upon entering the main event venue, familiar giant brand name like Tetra and other popular fish food are being exhibited.
Photo (4): Magazine Booth
Photo (5): Eheim Booth
Photo (6): Landscaping Booth
Photo (7): 5 feet long Snake Head being exhibit
Photo (8): Three 7 feet long shark were being exhibit too
Photo (9): Tank of big ‘fake’ piranha
Photo (10): Alligator Snapper Tortoise (Turtle?)
Photo (11), (12): Baby and adult crocodiles
Photo (13): After the exhibition booths, there were stretch and stretch of competition tanks showcasing different species of fish contesting. Notice there are many ladies that show interest in fish keeping compared to the ladies back in Singapore.
Photo (14), (15), (16): Trophies; Stage set up for prize giving; Prize winners
This Princess Cup event was very impressive, and naturally, it reminded me of the Aquarama that we are familiar with back in Singapore. Personally, I feel that Aquarama focus more on international (commercial) trading where they have booths after booths of different fish products, covering up to 75 percent of the event space. Whereas the Princess Cup event tends to focus a lot on showcasing the different varieties of fishes, in reverse, 75 percent of the event space was used on fish competition rather than products exhibition. Even among the booths, a number of them are purely information sharing, no commercial trade.

The following photos were the different kind of competitions that took place in the Princess Cup.

Photo (1), (2), (3): Tank Display competition, even for this particular competition, there were different categories available.
Photo (4): Water Plant competition, this is new for me!
Photo (5): Snake-Head fish competition
Photo (6): Cichlid competition
Photo (7), (8): Marine Fish competition – grouper and clown fish
Photo (9): Gourami competition
Photo (10): Flower Horn (Luo Han), one of Thai all time favourite fish
Photo (11): Discus competition, I must say that Singapore Discus Club did a good job back home, I feel that the standard of Discus competition is higher in Singapore.
Photo (12): Betta competition
Photo (13): Guppy competition
Photo (14), (15): Koi competition
Photo (16), (17), (18), (19), (20): Princess Cup also includes top-view goldfish category, which is similar to Fynnmood Goldfish Festival - Open Class top-view category. However, for the Club event, the fish were displayed in enamel basin while the Princess Cup event had it on a standard glass tank (but all the side are covered).

Fynnmood Goldfish Club constantly encourages club members and goldfish hobbyists to take part in a competition. It is a form of exposure and also helps to sharpen one’s eyes in goldfish appreciation. With that said, the Club had decided to join the Princess Cup competition. We sent in two fish, one ranchu and one oranda.

Fynnmood Ranchu Entry

For any competition it is always an added advantage if the fish is attractive in term of colour pattern, it would attracts the judges to take a second look. There are hundreds of fish to be judge on a competition and it is natural that judges usually pick up those fish that give the good first impression on round 1. The club very much wanted to enter a patterned ranchu, however, the club does not have a ‘good-enough’ patterned ranchu at that point of time as we did not really prepare for the event. So the Club selected this particular ranchu for the competition. The reason was that this fish has a perfect deportment (in stationary), it balances well, without head pointing down or up. It is a stout and robust fish. My only two concerns were that this is a very young fish, hence it tends to swim in a speedy manner, losing out in the gracefulness and the tail set is position a little too high to my personal liking. But overall it is the best fish the club had on hand during that time of registration. The club didn’t expect to win, but had hope to get perhaps a third placing or consolation.

Fynnmood Oranda Entry

For the passed competition held in Singapore, the Club would very much wanted to show-off this ‘secret weapon’, however, since these competitions were organised by the Club, it would not be appropriate to go into the competition with the Club fish. Nevertheless, we finally got a chance to flaunt in Princess Cup. i, personally had high hope for this fish, expecting to take at least one placing for sure.

The Club believes that competition is about being there, taking part and celebrate the beauty of goldfish appreciation and winning is secondary. However, I would be lying if I would enter a competition without the expectation to win. As much as the Club was full of confident, not able to win any prize back has humble me (personally). Dishearten and beaten flat, i hope Fynnmood Club would be stronger and readily to take up the challenge again. The club look forward to the next Prince Cup or perhaps the King Cup. Taking a moment to get over the disappointment, the Club bounced back with enthusiasm to celebrate the beauty of the winning fish. The standard of these goldfish contenders for this competition is very high. The Club was joyful to have experienced the event. SPECIAL “THANKS” to the Thai counterpart who had help the Club to register for the competition!

The following photos are the prize winning fish. Not every year the Princess would be there personally to give out the prizes and this year winners were very lucky to able to receive prize personally from the Princess.

Surprisingly and not-so surprise in a way, we met some Singapore die-hard goldfish hobbyists in the Princess Cup event. Surprise as in I didn’t expect to see these individual hobbyists would and had come all the way here to compete. Not surprise as in, this particular hobbyist is somebody that we are familiar with – James Png. If you can recall, James Png was the Grand Champion, First Prize winner of the City Cup held early this year in Singapore. His continue and constant success in different competitions has definitely made him a strong competitor in any event. He swiped First placing for two major varieties, buffalo and oranda. Other international hobbyist from Brunei who had taken part in City Cup was there too.

Note: Red Tag – First Placing; Blue Tag – Second Placing;

Yellow Tag – Third Placing; Pink Tag – Consolation

Buffalo Head (Side-view ranchu)

Blackie (Thai black ranchu)

Oranda

Note:
* Two of the consolation prize fish are giant fish (including tail fin about 12 inch)
* Bigger and deeper tank is used to exhibit these fish

Ryukin

Lionchu

Open

The highlight of this event to the Club was the successful campaign by Weerapong farm. In the passed one year, the Club has been seeking out good farm in Thailand beside the famous NK farm. It was a nice feeling that this small humble farm that so-called ‘spotted’ by Fynnmood Club has a great potential. In fact, in the naughty way, I look forward to see how this ‘David versus Goliath’ would turn out in the future. In this event, Weerapong has a clean swiped of 4 out of 5 placing for the ryukin category. Weerapong also takes ‘First’ placing in oranda category. While NK farm (where James Png bought his fish from) took ‘First’ placing in ranchu category,

On our way back from Bangkok, the vice president of Fynnmood Goldfish Club (Alan Goh) raised an interesting topic for discussion that is:

“What is my viewpoint of hobbyists that purchase goldfish for competition?”

Before I go into that, I would say perhaps the most satisfying win for a hobbyist would be one that breeds his or her own fry, and establishing one’s own bloodline. Subsequently using his/her personal bloodline to compete and ultimately win the prize. I salute such hobbyists. Nevertheless, they still need to purchase a pair or couple of parent fish from some farm before they can achieve a good bloodline.

With that said, we must NOT take away credit from hobbyist that being term as ‘buy-fish-to-win’. I dare not seek everyone to agree with me completely, but possibly to able to see or understand from another viewpoint.

(1) The act of purchasing a goldfish to compete is like a soccer management that buy international players to play for the team. This is usual and nothing abnormal, it is commonly practice among many major Grand Sam competitions (Including the famous, All Japan Ranchu Show)

(2) In fact, may I say, most entries for any competition, most fish are bought rather than breed by the hobbyists. A competition is about celebrating the most beautiful fish at that event one possesses and not celebrating the history of a particular fish. So whether the fish come from home or direct from the farm, it should not be the determining factor to down-play any hobbyists’ win.

(3) The ability to select, the eyes for a champion. This is one credit that we cannot take away from these hobbyists. They have the eagle’s sharp eyes to spot a good fish that need years of experiences. Single out a fish that have the potential to win among hundreds of hundreds of choices is definitely not many hobbyists can do it.

(4) The passion for going all out to seek for the winning fish. To travel long distance, stay under the hot sun, non-stop of screening through fish after fish, etc. Putting aside the aspect of dollars and cents, this is a respectable effort that a hobbyist has put in, again he or she should be credited for.

(5) These hobbyists that seek out the best fish available in the market or region actually in a way contribute heavily to the standard of that particular competition they take part in. Imagine, if you have win over their ‘specially’ selected fish, wouldn’t that win make you feel even greater or proud? Win among the winners is always better achievement than win among the common, that’s why a Grand Slam event always stands up among the smaller shows.

Nevertheless, let’s give our earnest congratulation to Mr. James Png for his great success and achievement in this Thai Princess Cup, making Singapore proud.

As usual, with this I leave you with the rest of the (not all) competition fish for your pleasure viewing.

CHEERS!
Steven TONG

 
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