It’s interesting to note the reactions of people who visit the farm. While some may be appalled with the current state of this 18 years old facility, others may applaud that this farm has retained its rustic charm, unperturbed by this nation’s belief built on Plastic, Progress and Prosperity.
Have to salute my 60 year old father’s effort since late 1970s on building this farm with his bare hands and with very limited resources. He had the help and support of his wife who helped with book keeping and also chaperoning their 3 young children in and out of the remote Old Jurong Road. This farm which initially started out as a self sustainable breeding model is one now that is a commercialized million dollar turn over business. He has well compensated his lack of education with his sharp business acumen and his diligence and technical knowhow when he was working in the oil and gas industry.
For the last 15 years since I was able to understand his lack of presence at home, as an adolescent, I have witnessed my father worked incessantly on the farm which he is still doing currently. It was a bold move in the 1990s when he decided to keep up with the times and opened the farm to the public. Throngs of people from the RCs, CCs, and schools mill into the farm every weekend to pick up freshly slaughtered fresh frog meat and other livestock like catfish and snakeheads.
Opening this privately owned production farm to the public provided an opportunity for me as a Singaporean graduate to become a 2nd generation business owner. I grabbed this great opportunity as a young adult in my early 20s. My relationship with the visitors has never been simple. Back when I was a child residing in the farm, I used to see people walking into our house, taking off their shoes and walking into my home to use my toilets as if it is an entitlement. We encountered and still are seeing the same problems with the only surviving Kampong in Singapore, people littering, abusing the facilities, and sometimes, they walk into our facilities only to abuse the people working in it.
Seldom, you get credits for what you are doing right. More than often you get penalized for the lapses due to what you did not do.
Isn’t it important for our younger generation to know that farms (whether it is a production or a show farm) exist and are important features of our country? Aren’t we also a part of national education in the history of Singapore which saw the farms having to transcend to remain relevant in this time and age?
Malaysians will tell you that this place feels comfortable like home not only because of the proximity we are from JB, but simply JFF is a reflection of the frog farming industry in Singapore 20 years back. Operations have certainly changed, business has become diversified but the place remains the same. The faster this country moves, the harder the people are whipped to keep pace with progress.
Nostalgia – This must be what many generations of Singaporeans, from the baby boomers to the Gen Y, can identify with.
Australians will tell you that this is an interesting place because they embrace and accept the diversity of what Singapore offers. We will have a high and mighty, snooty side like MBS, but we also offer a humble, down to earth rustic charm in the Kranji Countryside.
Others from certain parts of the world might come in baffled by this existence of a rural, backward, frogs not in lily padded ponds but in pens and questioned why did our government, one that is “prim and proper” allow this existence? Spot on. The farm’s lifespan on this plot of land in Lim Chu Kang is timed. Nothing really lasts forever in Singapore anyway. I implore you to come and appreciate what you see here because we may not be here much longer.
To some of our dear foreign visitors, if you are expecting a 5 star toilet experience or maybe l’occitane fragrance in farms, simply because this is the first world Singapore, please do not have your hopes up too high. We are only a family of 5 who have lived on, were fed and educated by this trade which my father started. What works in your country may not work in mine. Diversity is the only normal these days so if I do not tell you how to live please do not come and tell me how my frogs and I should live.
Without you, my dear visitors, who have given me so much support and advice, I would truly be “that frog in the well”. However, I hope that you would adopt “live and let live” as your motto too. Please accept and be nice to the people living in this host country you are visiting.
As JFF approaches her 31st anniversary in October, and I am into my 7th year of employment here, I would like to thank all of my staff, my customers, my friends and my family for all the support throughout my stint. I will strive to reach the bar set by society’s standards during the remaining time we have on this premises.
Written by: Chelsea Wan
Any comments, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.