Pioneer, Founder, Father – Mr Wan Bock Thiaw, the JFF Story

“When Mr Wan Bock Thiaw goes to sleep each night, he usually hears a cacophony of croaking.

It is the mating call of thousands of bullfrogs in the backyard of his single-storey house in Lim Chu Kang.

To him, it is a lullaby which sends him deeper into dreamland. The croaking means more baby frogs will be produced for his family-run frog breeding business.”

This was an excerpt taken in 21 July 1997 from The Straits Times, entitled ‘Frog porridge anyone? – Jumping frog legs, aren’t they popular?’  

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Mr Wan during his younger days!

1997 was almost 10 years ago and now that his children are all grown up, he could finally take a well-deserved break. But does he? Farmers never rest and rest is for the wicked, words from Jackson and Chelsea respectively. Mr Wan certainly understands and embodies the value of hard work which he clearly imparts to his children.

His daughter Chelsea joined the business 10 years ago in 2006 after graduating from NUS with a Sociology degree. When asked if she feels that her daughter has “wasted” her degree, Mr Wan earnestly replied, “行行出状元”. Anybody can excel in any line of work and industry as long as they devote their heart into it. Now that his son Jackson has joined the business, the Wan frog family is stronger and more united than ever.

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Mr Wan conducting a tour in his younger days!

Now as JFF celebrates its 35th Anniversary, Mr Wan still remains very active in the farm. He still wakes up as early as 6am in the morning to check on the husbandry on the farm. Occasionally, he still delivers the orders himself to old and loyal customers in the wee hours, many of whom have become friends with him by now.

With his daughter and son working side by side with him now, Mr Wan understands and appreciates that everybody is an important asset to the company. Each individual’s actions are the building blocks to JFF’s vision for high quality frog products and the persistence for this vision need to be translated to the customers through these individuals.

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The JFF Family!

– Zheng Xun

From Frog Princess to Frog Queen: Chelsea Wan

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

This year has been especially life-changing for me, both literally and figuratively. In Sep 2015, our family welcomed a game changer- a Baby (!) into our lives.

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There have been so many firsts over the past year. First time bringing Baby back home into the farm. His first interaction with frogs; His first taste of meat;

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Baby looking skeptical at the meat!

His first smile (where people have commented on how much it resembles my Father’s smile); His first words; His first steps; his first appearance on mainstream TV.

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The Wan Family on MediaCorp Channel 5 “On The Red Dot: UNIQUE communities!

These moments certainly reminds myself of my first tour, first project, first hire, first interview, first renovation; these firsts made up the first decade of working alongside with my family on the farm.

This coming 29th Oct 2016, JFF celebrates our 35th Anniversary and it also marks my 1 year and 1 month  of motherhood. There have indeed been many firsts over the past year. And that should be much more firsts to come, not just for ourselves but for JFF as well.

While we are unsure about the eventual move out of this farmland,  we are also thankful for the lease extension to the end of 2019. As they say, rest is for the wicked. To stay relevant in this industry, we’ll have to continuously innovate, diversify, and R&D into new frog products.

Most recently, We’ve launched our Collagreen Mosquito Repellent Moisturizing Lotion. It’s a first of its kind of moisturizing artisan product with an added mosquito repellent function. It contains 10% bioactive collagen which are purified and extracted from American bullfrog skin. This idea would have been inconceivable and probably remained an idea if we haven’t met the right partners and married science and tech into a very conventional farming business.

Now we can proudly claim that our frogs used quite to the fullest to combat the mozzies!!

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Our new innovation! Collagreen Mosquito Repellent Moisturizing Lotion

Lastly, I will like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our customers who have supported JFF over the years and some of you who witness my transitions in life on this farm. To all the pre-schoolers hopping around our farm, primary school students energetic for herpetology knowledge, tertiary students getting in-depth insights to running a family business and the weekend visitors coming to JFF to escape the hectic city life with their families and their children to catch frogs or enjoy a sumptuous plate of frog meat. Thank you!

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From Frog Rescuer to Operations Manager: Mr Jackson

Hi my name is Jackson. I’m also known as Mr Jackson to the children and students who visit our farms for the school tours.

I have been working in the farm as the Operation Manager officially since last August 2015.

My fondest memories of my childhood was catching spiders, chasing (or being chased by) dogs, catching (and rescuing!) frogs. The whole farm was my playground. Looking back, I only realize now how blessed I was in being able to experience a very “Kampong” childhood.

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Like my sister, the Frog Princess Chelsea, I have never envisioned myself working in a frog farm.

Unlike my sister however, I have always been more introverted. Therefore, there was a huge initial struggle for me to conduct tours, especially engaging the pre-schoolers. I had to overcome my personal obstacles for my family business. Much like how tadpoles cannot be comfortable with the water in order to grow into a frog, I had to step out of my comfort zone to seek for “land”.

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Jackson conducting tour in Dec 2015. All smiles and confident!

Working in the farm myself has made me realize the amount of hard work and effort that my father and sister has dedicated over the years.

Things are probably easier outside as well. When a typical day of work ends, you go home and don’t worry about a thing. Over here at the farm, orders for frogs can come at 10pm and sometimes even 12am or 3am. You will wake up at 5am in the morning to process your orders so that the workers are able to process the fresh frog meat orders for the day. Work is always on our mind. Farmers never rest.

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Brother, Father & Sister together in Esquire Photo Shoot August Issue 2016

While work might be relentless and the hours might be irregular, I have also grown appreciative of the close proximity and time I get to spend with my family.

This 29 Oct 2016, we celebrate our fruits of labour for JFF 35th Anniversary! We commemorate and the effort continues to ensure another 35 productive years of farming frogs.

 Happy Birthday, JFF!

– Brother Frog Jackson