Malaysians Are Like East Frisians

It was time for me to go to Japan for the All Japan Koi Show, where I had built up good contacts to Japanese koi breeders over the last few years. And once I found myself flying to Asia, I discovered other things to do there too. JBL’s importers in Malaysia and Taiwan both wanted to organise more seminars and so I flew to Penang via Singapore. Long-haul flights like this always make me wonder if anyone can actually sleep in a plane that sets off at 11:40 a.m.. My biorhythms tell me not to sleep; it’s the middle of the day. Four movies later it’s evening in Germany and I’m finally ready to drop off - directly before the arrival. I love long-distance flights!

In Malaysia it was straight to work. The seminar participants were already waiting for their fresh, well rested German. It’s not always easy being a speaker. You may have more knowledge than the participants, but in Asia especially, it’s best not to show off your advantage. So, in addition to specialist knowledge, a lot of rhetoric is also required. But it always works out well in the end and after an hour the ice is broken and there is a lot of mutual laughter and learning. It was interesting to hear that the aquarium and pond enthusiasts in Malaysia have the same water problems as the East Frisians. The tap water is very soft and therefore the pH value is not stabilised by the missing or very low carbonate hardness. But honestly, who understands exactly what carbonates or hydrogen carbonates are? I’m always happy to carry out this small experiment for the participants. They fetch a glass of tap water and I add a few drops of our JBL pH Test 3-10. The water usually turns green and shows a pH value around 7. Now I explain that there is hardly any KH in this water and the pH value is therefore completely unstable. I then add ONE drop of JBL pH-Minus. Suddenly the colour changes to red, which is equivalent to a pH fall. If there was a Guppy in there - it would be dead on the spot! Then I add a pinch of carbonate hardener powder (JBL Aquadur) and as if by magic the colour changes back to green. The carbonate hardness binds the acid and stabilizes the pH value again at 7. Now further drops of acid do not change the pH value any more. That's how I got everyone to understand and even enjoy it. Water chemistry can be exciting, but unfortunately it is often taught boringly and incomprehensibly.

Questions are unfortunately rare during training sessions, but some were finally posed over dinner. The Malaysian beer probably helped…

After two days of seminars we had some time before my onward flight to Taipei was due. Our importer was kind enough to give me a tour of the beautiful island of Penang in his car and drove me to a butterfly farm. It was the best butterfly farm I have ever seen! Apart from the gigantic hangar full of butterflies there were lots of other insects, plus amphibians and reptiles to see. I was thrilled! And then I got back on the plane for four hours.

Blog 2019: Malaysia

Going 300 km/h to the JBL Seminar in South Taiwan

© 04.03.2019
Heiko Blessin
Heiko Blessin
Dipl.-Biologe

Tauchen, Fotografie, Aquaristik, Haie, Motorrad

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