GEORGE TOWN: A Chinese temple in Jalan Aziz Ibrahim, Sungai Nibong, has been drawing visitors from as far as Singapore for the past six months – thanks to four huge fish.
People have been queuing up for a chance to touch the fish after many claimed that it has changed their luck and allowed them to even strike a small fortune in 4D after doing so.
The Hean Leng Kong temple is especially packed if the weekends coincide with the first or 15th day of the lunar month, considered as “good days”.
The fish is of the Arapaima gigas species – which can grow up to two metres and 200kg – and is known locally as the dragonfish.
Considered one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, the species is not indigenous to the country and is from the Amazon basin in South America.
Waitress Alice Tan, 60, said that after touching the fish, she struck third prize with the number 4093.
The number 093 is for the goldfish in the Cheng Jee Tor (Thousand-Number Guide in Hokkien), a booklet of numbers from 000 to 999 representing an item or an action.
Tan said one must first offer prayers to the God of Prosperity at the temple before touching the fish.
“After coming into contact with the fish, you must use the water in the pond to wash your face, hands and legs.
“Don’t bathe or wash yourself until the lottery results are out. If you bathe, this means that you will wash away your ong (luck),” said Tan, who scooped a bottle of water from the pond to “clean” the number plate of her motorcycle in the hope of striking another number.
Stall helper Kee Bock Cheng, 55, said she struck a small fortune after a friend recommended her the temple.
“You must touch the fish from head to tail. If you only manage to touch the tail, this means you can only strike the bear sai (consolation prize in Hokkien),” she said. “If the fish doesn’t come to you, this means that you are luckless,
Kee said from her observation, only those who were lucky could come into contact with the fish.
Landscape worker B. Muniandy, 36, said he only joined in the fun after seeing so many people trying to touch the fish.
“Hopefully, I can strike it rich after this,” he said.
Temple vice-chairman Low Ah Lek, 70, said there used to be five dragonfish before one of them died after jumping out of the pond.
The fish, he said, were put in the pond by the temple’s former chairman last year.
“Word of mouth spread rapidly after some claimed that the dragonfish brought them luck. Even Singaporeans would come here to check out the fish. We’ve applied for a licence to keep the fish and it’s still pending,” he said.