Mystical ‘ikan puyu’ generates cash for tamu trader

A live ikan puyu on sale at E-mart community market.

MIRI: Although their look may not be alluring or attractive when compared to other ornamental fishes, many people keep climbing perch known locally as ‘ikan puyu or ikan karok’ in aquarium.

“Many locals keep them because they believe this fish possesses mystical power against black magic,” said a trader at tamu E-mart or E-mart community market who turned the fish as income generator apart from selling farm and jungle produce in her stall at Tudan, Permyjaya here.

Locals believe that the presence of ikan puyu in a house will protect the occupants against black magic particularly from ‘pukau’. Shamans or ‘bomoh’ also use the fish in traditional healing or in treating sickness caused by black magic.

To protect the house and occupants from black magic, the house owner will keep the fish in a bottle or aquarium at the front part of the house.

Selling at RM10 for two big size or for four smaller size puyu, the trader disclosed that she obtained her supply locally. The fish is abundant the drains and streams particularly in peat soil areas.

The most common method to catch puyu is by using hook and ‘bubu’ or fish traps.

“Whether they believe or not that puyu possesses any mystical power against black magic … some people keep them as they are cheap and easy to be kept as pet fish. The fish can also be eaten,” she said.