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Live Goldfish Keychain For Chinese Olympics

Fish but no chips?
Beijing Olympics unofficial bit of tacky merchandising - a poor bloody goldfish sealed in a plastic bag-come-keychain. Or perhaps, knowing the Chinese taste in eating anything that walks, swims or flies, it's an emergency snack item - just break the seal and grill it over your cigarette lighter. Or throw it down raw poisson cru style with some Japanese Wasabi on top.

The fishy keychains are on sale in the waterfront markets of Qingdao, home of the Tsingtao Beer brewery and the venue for the Olympic sailing competition.

The little guy printed on the plastic prison is Huanhuan - one of the five official Beijing Olympic mascots.

Fishy Facts

Your common or garden-pond variety goldfish, Carassius auratus, was one of the earliest fish to be domesticated and is still one of the most common aquarium and pond fish. It's a member of the carp family and was first domesticated in China, funnily enough. It was introduced to Europe in the late 17th century.

Goldfish can grow to a length of 23 inches (59 cm) and a maximum weight of 9.9 pounds (4.5 kg) - although I don't think this poor little bugger will see that. How long do you reckon he can survive in that bag with no oxygen and no food? BTW the oldest recorded goldfish lived to 49 years. The collective noun for a group of goldfish (trapped in sealed plastic bags) is a "troubling". Quite.

During the Chinese Tang Dynasty, it was popular to dam carp in ponds. As the result of a dominant genetic mutation, some of these carp displayed gold rather than silver coloration. And of course the Chinese have always been great lovers of gold - it represents wealth and good fortune. So people began to breed the gold variety instead of the silver variety and began to display them in small containers - not permanently - they would be kept in a pond and brought out for special occasions (like Olympic Games ;-)).

In 1502 the Japanese developed a taste for goldfish and began serving them up sushi-style. (No they didn't. I made that up. They actually bred more varieties.)

In 1611 goldfish were introduced to Portugal (through the Jesuits in Japan) and from there to other parts of Europe. But the goldfish didn't reach the U.S until 1850 where it quickly became a popular snack served in a bun at ball-games. Or was that the hotdog? I'm confused.

Hey maybe there'd be a bigger market for this keychain if the fish were piranha?

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Reader Comments (2)

InFACT, rightnow, I have a aquarium of 6 goldfish!!!
I hope some people who buy them are ssmart enough to actually cut the stupid sealed bag OPPEN!
May 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergoldfishrespectors
The Chinese are skilled people and they sure know how to get about things.
October 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbabyhawk

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