Numbering in thousands and millions, the fishes seemed infinite in numbers, allowing a booming fishing business. Fishermen strutted proudly around the dock, occasionally throwing a proud glance at their fleet of fishing boats that made the navy green with envy.
Now, fast forward a few years and we come to present day Melaka. An obvious decline is seen due to incompetent and corrupted leaders. Lousy leaders isn't my topic of the day though, but rather he is:
Meet Pak Cik Awi, a 47-year old fisherman who has been fishing in the Straits of Melaka the past 11 years. He's a father of 4 children and works his butt off to provide for his family. Every morning, as soon as the tide is in, he goes out to sea in his tiny little sampan hoping to return with a boat full of fishes.
But the opposite is usually true. After spending hours under the scorching sun, casting and retrieving his fishing nets, he gets nothing but dead leaves, rubbish,
and also miserable tiny fishes.
Long gone are the days where every cast ends up with a full boat of flipping and jumping fishes. With all the land reclamation process going on in the Straits of Melaka, the once infinite fishes has become finite, even bordering upon extinction.
Determined not to return home empty handed, Pak Cik Awi ignores his aching back and sore hands, feverishly casting and retrieving his net, hoping and praying to at least catch a fish that is worth something.
Fortune must have been smiling upon Pak Cik Awi that day, for after long last, his patience and hardwork finally paid off. The treasure every fisherman in the Straits of Melaka is hoping to catch is the Pomfret fish (ikan bawal). Selling at RM 60 per kilogram, catching a few of these fishes would have been worth all the hardwork at sea.
Well, Pak Cik Awi didn't catch a few but at least he manage to get one before he had to return to mainland as the tide was going down rapidly. Now his family doesn't have to go hungry for that night plus he can afford to buy petrol for the next trip out to sea. Real fortunate huh?
I wonder what happened to the former glory of the fishermen? How did it come to this?