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Coverage of 2nd Singapore Goldfish Festival 2008

In any competition, aside from the judges, the judging system is very important too, different judging system can gives quite a different set of results. The other factor that affects the result is the entry categories. The more categories a competition has the higher the chance for a participant to win.

Allow me to elaborate the above two points further, if the judging system is designed to emphasize heavily on the size, eventually bigger fish would get more points with an great advantage over the smaller fish. Subsequently, it is hard for these smaller fish to get enough points to catch up with the big fish. Hence, coming out with a set of judging sheet that enables a balance for a deserving fish to win is crucial.

Let’s take a calico goldfish as example for the importance of categories. A nice and unique calico is really hard to come by and to further compete with a regular coloured goldfish, in body shape and fins formation, it is almost impossible for a calico to win. Likewise for a black ranchu, in nature, black ranchu does not have the gene to produce high percentage of smooth back-curve and also their caudal fin (tail) are usually big which make the fish loss out in the overall balancing.

Setting the categories for a competition is very dependent on those local hobbyists. If there is a big group of hobbyists particularly interested in calico, the organizer should have a categories cater for it. If not, then it would have to depend solely on the judging system. This year, Fynnmood Goldfish Club has decided to combine dragon eye, pearl scale, and the other minor varieties to go under one category. Despite that, in the judging system, there is a clear different set of marking system for each individual variety. Furthermore, the winning fish is not base on the total points alone (as some varieties of goldfish tend to score higher points compared to the others), it also depend of the overall preference from each judge.

In short, Fynnmood Goldfish Club is constantly improving the judging system and modifying the categories to meet the hobbyists’ requirements and more importantly to bring the competition standard to its best. For 2nd Singapore Goldfish Festival 2008, the club has eliminated the size classification. Instead, a ‘minimum size’ requirement is set and the marking system is re-designed to award the bigger fish with the appropriate points respectively.

This year the categories are divided as:
* Ranchu Professional
* Oranda Professional
* Ryukin Professional
* Open Professional
* Open [Dragon Eye] Professional
(This category was split from the ‘Open Professional Class due to the overwhelming entries)
* Ranchu Amateur
* Oranda Amateur
* Ryukin Amateur

The classification of ‘Amateur’ and ‘Professional’ is to separate the commercial from the hobbyists. Basically all commercial entries have to go under ‘Professional’ while hobbyists can choose which class to go for depending on their confident level. By default, the Professional Class is expected to be more competitive compared to the Amateur Class.

Winners’ Tags and Trophies

Fynnmood Goldfish Club is very committed to promote goldfish hobby, at the same time, sharing our club school of thoughts for goldfish appreciation. In this 2nd Singapore Goldfish Festival, the club has included 4 awards highlighting the four major points of goldfish appreciation. Personally, I feel that these are very meaningful awards.

* Most Stout Award
* Most Robust Award
* Most Graceful Award
* Rarity Award
* Most Voted – Public's Choice Award

These 4 SPECIAL Awards are not consolation or inferior to the top 5 placing of each category. These 4 special awards are to honour and celebrate the uniqueness of a certain feature of a goldfish. These 4 criteria are the very fundament of goldfish appreciation documented in China (birth place of goldfish) hundreds years ago.

Beautiful plaque for the 5 special awards, wish I could keep them!

Stout Award:
A fish that demonstrates the aspect of fullest, this is an important feature because goldfish as an auspicious animal, hence fullest of the fish means 'containing as much as is possible' of good luck, good fortune. Note, stout means strong and heavily-body build, NOT fat.

Robust Award:
This award is given to a fish that is lively and health. Healthy fish means beautiful goldfish. A fish that remains active across interval time frames would then only be considered for this award.

Graceful Award:
This award focus on the way the fish swim. The word used by the Chinese is 'Charismatic' and to the Western, it is known as the 'X-factor'. How the fish carries itself while gliding gently, yet commanding manner in the water with its well spread fins can be poetry-emotion. To possess such characteristic is definitely not easily found in 'everyday' goldfish.

Rarity Award:
Any varieties of goldfish that exhibits certain uniqueness, example, a ryukin with nicely grey and yellow coloured body pattern, or oranda with 12 red pattern (2 red caudal fins; 2 red in anal fins; 2 red in pelvic fins; 2 red in pectoral fins; 2 red on the cheeks or eyes and 1 red on the lips and 1 red on the dorsal fin), or simply a ranchu with extraordinary 12 inch size!

One final Special Awards: Most Voted – Public's Choice is another important award. Goldfish appreciation is like appreciating an artwork, there is no exact definition of beautiful fish. Standard for goldfish is something of a 'current trend', it changes with time. Standard also means a certain trend acceptable by majority. Winning this award would equally significant.

The Public’s Choice goldfish goes to a calico ranchu.
SPECIAL thanks to CR Aquarium for sponsoring $300 worth voucher for the lucky winner that took part in the voting for the Public’s Choice.

This year there is a shift in powerhouse. One of the strong competitors is no other than Mr. Ivan Sim from Fish City. Fish City has been participating in Fynnmood events and other events quite regularly and their fish has improved along with the competitions, I’m not surprise to see Fish City a big winner in the future competitions.

Mr. James Png a hardcore goldfish hobbyist who competes regionally has recently worked closely with Mr. Steven Ling and Mr. William Lau to bring in high quality Thai goldfish to Singapore hobbyists. With a sharp eye for good fish, this team has helped some local fish shop to win the prizes in the popular categories like the Ranchu and Oranda (Professional Class).

Our very own Club member – Mr. Alan Goh managed to retain his defending title in the Ryukin category. Joking with him, I was commenting that it is time for him to seek and groom a new ryukin, as his current ryukin has reached its peaks. Humbly he agreed and I left him quietly as he was gazing his ryukin and went into deep thoughts. Thanking his fish for winning all the trophies for him. I saw a lovely bond relationship between an owner and his pet.

Yun Feng Pte Ltd didn’t have a lot of entries in this competition. One of the reasons is that most of their fish were sold. Nevertheless, with the limited fish, they were still managed to grab a few placing. Yun Feng is another commercial that has improved in their selection when come to importing quality fish to Singapore.

Although, Fish Haven who has recently changed their business focus from goldfish to other species of fish, they did took part in this competition. Despite they lost in the domination, they still managed to win a placing in the most competitive category in this year event that is the Oranda – Amateur. In my personal opinion, Fish Haven did have a few good entries, they failed to get a placing probably losing out in size. I hope to see these young oranda be showcased again in the future competitions.

Sam Goldfish, although did not take part as a commercial entry in the event, his customers have competed in the Amateur class and they have achieve an impressive result! Other hobbyist like veteran HN Lim who won first placing in the recent local competition, without fail, he managed to credit another Oranda-trophy into his pocket. The AG Home girls under the advice of experience hobbyists also bear fruits in this competition. New winners were born too - John Lim. He swept two trophies in a row with his pearl scale. If there is a separate category for pearl scale, it would mean that he got first and second placing!

The hall was clear from public, ready for the judging to start.
Judging is never an easy task, the judging started from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.
Fynnmood Club, both Vice-Presidents: Alan Goh (event) and Alex CKTan (operating) sorting out the certificate for the winning fish.

At the point, I would like to praise one of the Fynnmood members. He supported the Club event by entering a number of fish. However, one of his entries does not stand a chance in winning, when he came to realize that there is a overwhelming entries in the last minute, he quickly suggested to pull out, so to give other a chance, and more importantly to showcase the ‘high standard’ of the competition. To the club, a competition is about sharing the joy together and it is not so much about promoting the club standard, rather promoting a hobby. Furthermore, we should never feel inferior about our fish. It is through competition experience one would able to improve his or her appreciation skills.

Another member has entered a wakin in the competition, sad to say, it is really hard to have a wakin catching the judges’ eyes when there are so many other varieties in an open categories. Nevertheless, showcasing these varieties in a competition is important and also one good way of promoting different varieties of goldfish.

Last year Festival, though the prizes were not all taken up by the commercial, the overall entries were about 50% commercial; 30% Fynnmood Club members; 20% Public. This year Festival, the commercial entries was reduced to 30% with Public entries raises to 60% and Fynnmood members (giving way to Public entries) reducing to 10%. One of the causes for the raised in Public entries were the large participants from AGHome. It is really nice to see more public entries as this is one of the Club objectives – Promoting fish keeping.

With this, I would end the article with some of the other entries fish photo. Hope you enjoy the coverage of the Singapore Goldfish Festival 2008.

Steven TONG

Do join me at the next article: Why This Fish Win – Festival 2008
In the article we will look into the Festival winning goldfish from the appreciation viewpoint.

Ranchu Professional

Oranda Professional

> Ryukin Professional

Dragon Eye Professional

Open Professional

Ranchu Amateur

Oranda Amateur

Ryukin Amateur

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