Meet Darren, our 22-year-old intern from #SMU

Meet Darren, a 22-year-old #SMU undergraduate who is spending his summer break interning at the farm. Part business student, part frog wizard, and all passionate about life, hear why he choose Jurong Frog Farm to learn lessons beyond the classroom.

I had to first identify the good and bad of the previous website, finding out what worked and what didn’t for the company. I then re-structured and organised content into different categories, such that navigating through the website was more seamless. Taking reference from other websites that are commonly used as models to learn from, I sieved out the key things that could be applied to the company’s website. Once the content was uploaded, I approached a number of people to feedback on what could be improved and what needs changing. This allowed me to better suit the user experience to a wider audience. When on-site, I realised that the pricing of certain products were not benefitting the company. The sales of one product was cannibalising the sales of the other. I brought up the situation to my superior and we had a change of pricing. This led to an increase in sales of both products. The product was also sold as a package that encouraged returning customers. Collecting images was the first step to improving on the visuals for the company. I’ve had some experience with photography and put that to use. Along the course of the internship, I picked up photoshop and learnt as I edited photos, creating pictures and graphics that could be used for our website, brochures, social media account and all marketing related items. I’ve also sought help from a social media company that the company later engaged and went on to improve on my skills to fine tune what I could offer to Jurong Frog Farm.

I’ve learnt that executing plans aren’t usually as smooth as I’d thought they’d be without proper planning. Time has to be allocated to a certain project and the success of it depends on the execution as much as it does on the preparation leading up to it. I’ve definitely witnessed excellent planning and experienced poorer ones. These occasions have given me great examples on good planning and provided me with a model from what can be improved on when it comes to my own planning.

Not all plans go well and more often not, we do experience failure. What’s important is not to forget about these failures, but to figure out what went wrong and to prevent them from occurring again. Jurong Frog Farm was very welcoming to interns and gave me a chance to demonstrate my capabilities whilst pointing out what I could improve on. They weren’t afraid to give me bigger tasks and valued my opinions which provided me with more opportunities to further my growth. 

I would strongly recommend Jurong Frog Farm for future interns looking to grow themselves.

Testimonial from Phoebe, our 21 year old intern from NUS

I did my internship at Jurong Frog Farm during the period of 19th June 2019 to 4th August 2019. When I told my friends that I was going to do an internship on a farm and what’s more, a frog farm, they were clearly amused. Some questioned my decision to work there, while others even asked whether my job scope included slaughtering the frogs. Since I wanted to occupy myself during the summer break and try something different from an office environment, I applied for the programme. Truthfully, when I turned up for the interview and saw many pairs of frog eyes staring at me, I had cold feet. Nonetheless, I trusted my instincts and had an eye-opening, unique and enriching experience. I had the opportunity to explore one of the more rural areas in Singapore, learned more about the local farming sector and even gained insights into some of the decisions undertaken to stay relevant as a farm and as a small medium enterprise in Singapore.
As a marketing intern, one of my main responsibilities was to create, refresh and modernise marketing collaterals on the farm. Some of the projects I have undertaken were designing the farm menu and creating a product list brochure showcasing the various products offered by the farm. I also had to design posters for the Farmers’ Market and other roadshows, featuring some of the local farm products and farm activities. Other projects were designing interactive information boards to be used during tours and also creating posters to promote activities like “Catch a Frog” and “Frog Quest Explorer” that children can participate in.
It was a challenge creating these many posters, but it was a rewarding experience as well. I relearned Adobe Photoshop and also figured out how to use Adobe Illustrator to create digital illustrations, a skill that I have always wanted to pick up. I also have a newfound appreciation for graphic designers as I realised that it is not easy to make an aesthetic yet effective design. Behind every design is a long thought process about design factors like the colour scheme and type of font to use, and even the hierarchy of design elements that can impact the effectiveness of the message.
One of the more challenging projects was designing the product list brochure, which took many rounds of revision before the final version was done. We even had to do a mini product photoshoot, which was an interesting experience. However, the final printed version of the product list brochure turned out rather different from what I expected. The colour was a little dull and there were some design mistakes that could have been avoided had I printed a coloured copy to check. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed working on this project.
Apart from creating marketing collaterals, I had to conduct tours during the internship too. Public speaking has never been one of my strengths and initially, it was an uphill struggle giving tours to students of different age groups. Some of the students were even as young as three years old and it was tough getting their attention. I also received feedback from my supervisors that I could be more engaging by incorporating more rhetorical questions and varying my tone. Also, I just had to enjoy the process of sharing about the frogs and farm. Towards the end of the internship, with enough practice, I felt more confident and found myself interacting more with the students.
I also had the opportunity to learn about the day to day operations of running a retail shop. Initially, I was overwhelmed by the number and range of products that the farm offered, as well as the different number of tours on the farm. There were many things to prepare too, even more so when there were tours, such as stock taking, restocking products, cashiering and basic housekeeping. Basic retail had its challenges too. The first weekend of the internship was both physically and mentally draining. Servicing customers was not an easy feat, and I found myself energetically drained while trying to provide consistent customer service to everyone who stepped into the shop. Nonetheless, it was a fulfilling experience as there were many customers who appreciate your service, and who genuinely want to know more about the farm. Additionally, I had the chance to meet people from different walks of life, and thus learned how to communicate with different customers and deal with unexpected situations.
Lastly, working on the farm was an eye-opening experience which got me thinking about the importance of food sufficiency in our country. Before this internship, I rarely thought about the issue of food security in Singapore. However, I have come to realised that it is as important as water security. With the government’s move to increase local food production to 30% of our total food needs by 2030, it is indeed imperative to raise awareness of urban farming and the agri-food tech industry in Singapore.
To conclude, I had a really fun and unique internship experience, and other than the peaceful mornings on the farm, I liked that I was only seconds away from nature whenever I wanted a break from work. Through this internship, I also found out more about myself and discovered some of my strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, I would like to thank my two supervisors, Chelsea and Jackson for their guidance and generosity, not forgetting Darren, Puppy and the frogs for being my source of encouragement during this internship.

Tyronne AKA (Not AhBeng Frog) Hops into JFF !

Hi! My name is Tyronne, a final year student in poly and I am the new intern here.
It’s going to be close to 2 weeks since I’ve started working here and I got to say, time sure flies with all the stuff you’ve gotten on hand.

From the basics of house cleaning to maintain the storefront (TRFS), stock taking and cooking to the production which consists of removing of the Ovary Ducts (Hashima) of the female American Bullfrogs, packing, sealing and even labelling of the products. There really is never a day where you’ll be bored. The time spent here allowed me to embrace myself with the lush greenery of the countryside alongside the awfully pungent and pleasant smell of the processing plant.

Asides production and operations, my ever so patient boss and supervisor, Jackson and Zheng Xun were always there to guide me with the tours and helping me improve my arsenal of content. I’m quite an introvert around new people so to give a tour was really a challenge for me, but with all those awkward dry runs with them, the tour with the kids felt so much more comfortable than the dry run with them.

It’s been barely 2 weeks and it felt like months since I’ve started working. Guessing that’s due to the many tours every so often and the events that occurred such as KCFM 12 aka Kranji Countryside Farmers’ Market, and the Changi Business Park Citibank road show. Having the privilege to head down to the event on one of the days was really an eye opener for me, to see how this tight knitted team was able to tackle such a crowd that was different from the usual walk in visitors and the never say die attitude when problem arises. And a little bonus was the pack of quail eggs I’ve received at the end.

As for the Changi Business Park event, it was a total opposite. The targeted audience wasn’t only different, they were all bankers, accountants etc that were professionally dressed. Majority that hear the word frog instantly showed a face of disgust and there were also many more vegetarians than what I had expected. Due to that it was definitely hard to push out our sales, but we didn’t give up and instead became gutsier and brave as we started approaching the potential customers offering them our samples to try only for them to realize that it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was. Alongside regular customers showing their support, the boss of the booth beside us (lazy fruits) was also kind enough to help promote our Hashima and spreading good words about it.

Asides from all those, this has been one productive ½ a month and I hope that as time passes, I’ll be able to be of more help to the team and grow more as a person!

Aliff’s Reflection: 2 Months Internship @ JFF

Set in the remote, opposite end of Singapore, it takes 2.5 hours of commute if I was travelling from home. However, there is no reason to complain as the foreign workers on the farm wakes up diligently at 6 am every single day to wash and feed the frogs. Who knew running a farm could be this busy? Every single person on deck is responsible in ensuring that the farm runs smoothly. During my stay, I saw first-hand how the staff covered one another’s role in the event of someone being unable to turn up for work and how they selflessly stayed beyond their working hours to complete one another’s load. My supervising mentor, Chelsea Wan, the director of JFF, was always quick to emphasise the importance of taking ownership in everything that we do. It could be customer support or even basic cleanliness, it doesn’t matter. Everyone was dependant on each other and it was the only way a small company like JFF could survive which I thought was a beautiful lesson.

Once, I had the opportunity to debone the frogs (separating meat from the bones) at the processing plant and that took me an entire day. It left me with sores all over and I crashed asleep in exhaustion upon reaching home. It made me reflect however. Not all jobs are pleasant. Though I was silently complaining of the stench and back-breaking work, at the end of the day, someone still must do the work. It was just a day for me so imagine the foreign workers who had been deboning for years and yet they were thrilled when given a contract extension. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have completed deboning without Chelsea’s help. Yes, you’re right, the director herself got her hands dirty. In fact, she had experience doing everything on the farm from retail to slaughtering the frogs and by doing so, she understood how each of her workers felt. She knew their limits and potential and thus, was able to empathise with the people under her which I thought is a trait every leader should have.

Initially, I was tasked to embark on a project to develop a new farm activity to solve the low visitation time spent by walk-in customers. While researching, I was also being trained to conduct tours and handle the retail management of the shop there. The two staffs there, Zheng Xun and Jackson, offered an abundance of tips in public speaking and crowd management which I find valuable in a teacher’s line of work. Most of the tours were conducted for preschool children and primary level students which meant that we needed to cater to their short attention span and boisterous behaviour. I started with conducting parts of the tour and by the end of my short stint there, I successfully conducted a full tour for an adventure camp group. Although the tour content was heavy, it wasn’t a problem for me but rather the delivery and intonation that I had to work hard to improve on since these were essential to capture their attention and interest. I overcame my phobia of touching frogs (yes, and I still chose JFF) during my first ever tour to which I put up a brave front and held these amphibians. Although I mishandled the frogs then and they started struggling, I was truly relieved that I was over the irrational fear.

The retail management of The Royal Frog Shop have been quite an experience. Typically, only one person manages the shop on any given day. I was given a week to memorise the product catalogue of the farm. Retailing here required explaining about the product and services, a little history of the farm, cooking and serving frog meat, conducting family tours and basic cleanliness. Often, I do get weird requests from customers. Some asked about entering the frog pens. (Yes, you can) Some asked about having a staycation there. (No, you can’t) Some asked if they could bring home live frogs. Zheng Xun was critical whenever this request was made. There were some people who wanted to buy and release the frogs in the wild which was a huge taboo since the American Bullfrogs on the farm is an invasive species and would harm our local frog population. It would have been very profitable but wouldn’t be ethical.

The fruits of my research led to the birth of The Frog Quest, an all-in-one package that included activities such as frog feeding, catching frogs, an origami station as well as shopping discounts. I hung publicity posters and signs around the farm and conducted a pilot test on the fifth week. The first day, about 6 families took it up and The Frog Quest subsequently became a staple activity on the farm. When there were no customers while handling the retail, I took the time to put up frog jokes and fun facts using recyclables that I hung around the farm to complement The Frog Quest. I also had a hand in helping to find out how to introduce the farm tour programmes to schools by contacting my friends who are current school teachers and learnt how different schools managed their school learning journey programmes.

The agricultural scene was abuzz as news about a lease extension and release of new land sites for agriculture by AVA was released. Every week, there seemed to be one or two news agency interviewing Chelsea. I was tasked to write up a business report for the tender of the new land lease. Thus began weeks of intensive research, looking through financial records and interviewing people in the farm. Through this new project I learnt more about the farm’s history, sustainable practices, and the global frog farming industry. Chelsea drove me around to visit farms in Kranji Countryside to find out about the innovative, technological practices of other farms that could be implemented in JFF’s future. Through this report, I discovered the harsh reality of farms in Singapore and the people fighting to preserve this dying heritage. It was not easy to run a farm here and required passion and energy to keep this fragile dream alive. I saw how JFF had transformed so much over the years by blending in new technology, introducing new product lines and services to remain relevant. Even the tour services and shop that I had a chance to work with was a result of these transformations.
At the end of the day, it was the people on the farm that I had learnt the most from. I was inspired by Zheng Xun’s determination to constantly improve himself to his best abilities, Chelsea’s leadership skills and passion that kept JFF in the right track and Jackson’s resilience and capabilities that completed the dynamic crew. I enjoyed listening to the foreign worker’s life stories to which I also have learnt a great deal from. For example, Manoj, the Indian driver had plans to open up his own restaurant back home one day and Kholifa, who worked in the processing plant just got married.

It had been a most extraordinary journey here and I had most certainly enjoyed myself while learning at the same time. If given the chance to choose my place of internship again, JFF would definitely be my first choice.

2-month Internship @ JFF – by Wan Aliff

Hello! I am Wan Aliff, the latest addition to Jurong Frog Farm. I am currently an NIE undergraduate under the NTU-NIE Teaching Scholars Programme and on a track to be a Science/Mathematics teacher. As part of the BUILD (Building University Interns for Leadership Development) programme, I will be serving a 2-month internship at JFF with the objectives of learning leadership and operational skills from an industry apart from education as well as to value add to the company through means such as projects.

It’s only been my second week here and already it has been one huge experience. Set in a remote, opposite end of Singapore, it takes me about 2.5 hours of public commute if I am travelling from home. However, there is no reason to complain as the foreign workers on the farm wakes up diligently at 6 am every single day to wash and feed the frogs. Who knew running a farm could be this busy? Every single person on deck is responsible in ensuring that the farm runs smoothly.

Initially, I had some trouble memorising the content as well as delivering tours for preschool students as I wasn’t used to interacting with students of that age group. I had the privilege of having Zheng Xun and Jackson to occasionally provide tips for improvements during the tours. Although I had some experience conducting tour groups at the Sports Hub last year for older students, this was a completely different experience. During my first few tries, I made many assumptions based on the content given to me. For example, once I was telling the pre-schoolers that most of the tadpoles do not live to be an adult frog due to cannibalism which was not entirely true. Zheng Xun, the Froggy Guide who was observing the tour was quick to correct me and explain that tadpoles die for many other reasons too such as diseases, predators and often naturally.

Once, I had the chance to try out deboning the frog for a day. It took an entire day to completely debone them for me as compared to the workers who can do it in half a day. It left me with sores and aching legs and by the end of the day, I crashed on my bed and slept dead as a log by 9pm in exhaustion. It got me to reflect however. Not all jobs are ever pleasant. There I was silently complaining of the stench and the back-breaking work but at the end of the day someone must do the work. This had only been a day’s work for me and I could only just imagine the workers who had to debone the meat for the past few years. Also, I would not have been able to complete deboning the frog by the end of the day without the help of Jen and the director of JFF, Chelsea. Yes, that is right, sometimes even the boss must get her hands dirty to get the job done. To run the company, you must understand what each of your workers are doing. This was a very valuable lesson for me.

What I was really impressed thus far is the passion by the people working here for the farm. From young we were taught that Singapore’s economy had to evolve from agricultural to manufacturing and now towards high-value added technology to stay competitive. Little emphasis is thus given to understand the small agricultural scene here. The struggle to remain relevant and to preserve this rich heritage of Singapore is evident through the daily operations on the farm. You need passion. You need innovation and you need perseverance to keep a farm running in Singapore. Jurong Frog Farm is open come rain or shine through weekends and public holidays. The people here are always ready to welcome anyone to the farm with a smile and I think that is what makes the place a magical one.

Ribblette’s Final Hop!

My favourite picture while I was working here! 🙂

Ribbit ribbit! Ribblette speaking! This is my last week of internship and it has been a wonderful 4½ months here as an intern!

Personally, I really love frogs at a young age and I was excited when I got accepted by Jurong Frog Farm as an intern.

During the first week of internship, I was assigned with many different tasks such as retail operations, managing of social media, packing of stocks and even conducting tours! At first, it was really challenging for me because of a number of different tasks I am given. However, as time passes, I was able to adapt to the working environment and was able to handle the tasks with confidence!

Of course, there are still times where I did not perform well during work but my supervisor, Zheng Xun, and my manager, Jackson, was there to lend me a helping hand! They were friendly and patient with me throughout the internship.

In this internship, I learnt many valuable skills and one of the most important things I learnt is to not make any assumptions. There were times when I made assumptions at work and it caused a few miscommunications and affected the workflow. Thus, instead of assuming, I decided to ask my supervisor and manager whenever I am unsure about certain issues or questions.

I also had lots of memories from my experience at Jurong Frog Farm such as the opportunity to meet many different celebrities from Mediacorp, participating in JFF’s 35th Anniversary, selling our products at events, celebrating Christmas and gift exchange with JFF, counting down to 2017 with JFF and so much more!

The experiences I have experienced here is really one of a kind and nothing will be able to replace these memories and experiences.

Last but not least, I am really thankful for Chelsea, Zheng Xun, Jackson, the Bangladeshi workers, the housekeepers and also Uncle and Auntie (Mr. and Mrs. Wan) for all their help with work and food during my internship!

Hopping off,

Ribblette AKA Kayleen

Riblette hops into JFF!

Hello! My name is Kayleen aka Ribblette The reason why I chose this nickname is because frogs go “ribbit, ribbit” so, I decided to add in “lette” to feminize it! This is my 2nd week in JFF as an intern. I chose this internship because I am not afraid of frogs and I like how I get to have lots of social interaction with not only frogs but also the tour participants. I am an extrovert and I love to soak in the energy mingling with people! Besides the above, I hope too that my time here as an intern in JFF would help me to discover more about myself and apply what I would learn here for all my future endeavors.

I look forward to the opportunity to be hosting you around the farm!

Frosch Huge Leap

Hey! Frosch here! Let me croak some thoughts on the last week of internship here!

It has been 4 ½ months here as an intern and it is a really good exposure to all the work and the tasks given to me here. I was accepted to a humbling (and busy) small family business in this amazing company, Jurong Frog Farm, has given me so many opportunities and responsibilities for a SME with a small amount of workforce compared to those big ones.

At first I didn’t know about there was a frog farm in the first place but all I know there are other farms like the Goat Farm and many aquaculture farms which amazed me that all of them are located at the same place, Kranji countryside. I also didn’t know that farms have actual land lease and they are ‘expiring’ this 2019 (2017 initially) to create urban and also military development on this land. It is sad that this land full of heritage and history that can be used as a real life exposure to educate the public on how farming and hardworks taken away.

I still remember the first day working here, I was completely overwhelmed with the job scopes given to me and the things needed to be done like Housekeeping, packing, design collaterals, customer inquiries, event planning, logistics management and Retail Management. I felt scared and easily nervous if things didn’t go the right way during the job. Also, when Jackson first introduced me to the frogs to test my fear, I just carried the frogs like how Jackson showed it to me. This is to show that I’m not scared of the frogs in this farm.

From there, there were dry runs for tours, which I am not very comfortable with it at first and my sentence structure when I speak was not very good at all. But over time the few dry runs and more exposure to many real tours made me confident to speak to a larger group and also improve what I am going to say in the tour. Not only that but, learning about crowd control by giving them mini activity like saying “give me one froggy clap!” would get their attention by clapping and say ribbit in return. Of all the tours I have done, Gabbe’s Adventure is my favourite because I love kids and most of the pre-schoolers in my past tours are nice and very kind too!

After experiencing and observing many tours, I felt more confident and responsible in taking my actions in the tours which these values can be used in real life too. I felt that I also have changed outside work, becoming a more useful by paying more attention to details especially the emotions and the actions of my friends and family.

Throughout the whole internship, I have learned about the work ethics in and office and also outside by being in the presence and also having sense of urgency by knowing the work should be done the right way. There are quite a number of challenges I faced, like dealing with mistakes with e-mail ( I had to call the customer right away to rectify), dealing with stock shortage (I have to recommend other product), language barriers and dealing with the assignments when I am supposed to finished.

Lastly, I would like to thank Jackson, Chelsea and Zheng Xun for guiding and being patient with me throughout the 4 ½ months, the other workers who help me out with the frogs, the house helpers for the food and last but not least, Mr and Mrs Frog also helping me out when I had trouble in the shop and deep fryer station that suddenly spoiled during the Farmer’s Market, I panicked during that time.

This company taught me so much and gave many opportunities for me, it is really an honour working with every one of you and I promise, these skills and work ethics will be one of the best takeaways for me so I can apply to another real working environment.

 

Signing off,

Muhammad Azrul B Akashah a.k.a Frosch

 

Photo credits: Mr Andy Tan & Son from St. James Kindergarten (featured), Kids from Discovery Camp (below)

Gabbe's Adventure was fun!
Gabbe’s Adventure was fun!

Sgt.Frog is Hopping off the Farm!

Hi everyone,

Sgt.Frog here!
So this will be my last blog post here in the farm.

I have been on the farm for my internship for four months and now it’s time to share my experiences here.
The first time I heard my teacher said that I was posted to a frog farm, all my friends already starting joking that I’ll be eating frog porridge everyday!

So in my head when realized being posted to a frog farm, sweating under the hot sun and being surrounded by hundreds of frogs.

The Bullfrogs

So what did i learnt from this internship?
Learning to communicate way better than I ever did. Before the internship, I was shy and only open up to friends that i know well.
But now I’m able to talk to visitors and customers confidently on the spot and assisting them!
Also I’ve learned to react to unexpected situations calmly and appropriately. I have to say I have messed up at times during the internship but fortunately Chelsea was a forgiving person.

The first few weeks of my tours were supervised by Chelsea in case I froze during the tour.
She was friendly and patient with me throughout the internship, helping me with my flaws and teaching me the correct ways to conduct a tour and my other job scopes. It includes admin work and taking care of the shop during weekends.
I was a slow learner, so it took me a longer time before Chelsea felt that I was able to manage the tour by myself.
But before the internship started I never would have thought I’ll be able to lead a guided tour around the farm by myself!

Having my internship here at the farm was definitely one of the best experiences I ever had.
I have definitely learned many new things and improved my skills that can be applied during my future working life.

Frog riding a Beetle
(Picture by Indonesian based wildlife photographer Hendy Mp)

And with that, this is Sgt.Frog saying farewell.

New member here, Sgt.Frog!

Greetings everyone, this is Sgt.Frog reporting in!

So why Sgt.Frog? This is due to me liking the anime Sgt.Frog! Another name for it is Keroro Gunsou, so try watching a few episodes of it!

Anyways, I’m a student from Republic Polytechnic that has been posted to Jurong Frog Farm for training!

So I’ve been starting my training on 10th March before the commencement of the actual internship, and just so happen on that day there were already two schools visiting the farm! So my first duty was to be familiar with the content of the tour!

So for the first tour I was to be an observer. I shadowed Charlane, another employee here that has been conducting tours for a long while so she was experienced in it. Watching the person leading the tour was easy. Leading the tour on the other hand was much more harder.

The first time I tried conducting part of the tour which was explaining the history of the frog farm was… well let’s just say I was rattling too fast and getting nervous. Luckily Chelsea the lady boss saved me and the children on the first day of my internship were more attentive and listening to my presentation after that. They gladly followed me about to the different parts of the farm to see the frogs.

Towards the late the evening, another group entered into the farm, except this time they were celebrities from Hong Kong performing in a TV series called “Travel with Mom” where the celebrities will travel to different countries with their moms to find fun and interesting places. The celebrities were Sidney 雪梨 (Mom), Edward 徐偉棟 (Son) and Erica 徐頴堃 (Daughter)! After their filming with the frogs, they were treated with some home cooked gong bao frog legs, deep fried frog legs and the dessert Hashima!

Then over the next three days more children from schools came over to visit and join the tour, which I was give the task to help conduct them! So I started out with getting familiarised with the history of the farm, not easy especially when you are explaining history to kids! So with the advice and pointers from Chelsea and Charlane, I learnt a few tricks like getting them hyped up so they’ll be more attentive, and showing some firmness to actually get them to pay attention to me instead of talking about!

Ken

In just four days I’ve already helped lead tour groups that total up to 632 children! Some first week in the training programme huh?

And during the weekends I met a local celebrity Ben Yeo! Couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a pic with him! Also,
I learnt to cooked deep fried frog meat and crocodile meat as well! So do come and visit during the weekends, I can let you try my cooking skills!

Ken & Ben

So if you wanna know more about my experiences during my training in the next time (or about my challenges) stay tuned for more updates!