American bullfrogs found dead at Tampines Quarry!?

Its Tyronne here to give a reminder to those who intend on buying live frogs with specific purposes. Very recently, a news article came out in regards to a release of a huge mass of American Bullfrogs in the Tampines Quarry, leaving almost half of them dead! Read full article here

For those who intend to release the frogs I’m sure there will be some of you who are curious as to why we’re so against releasing the forggies into the wild right? Let me share with you what I know.
First of all, American bullfrogs are not native to our country, as the name suggests, its origin is from America. By releasing these bullfrogs into the wild, we’ll be endangering the ecosystem of the area that it’s being released to. How? Well, American bullfrogs are notorious for their ferocious appetite, consuming whatever comes in their way be it big or small, as Long as it fits into their mouth, and with an appetite like theirs, they’ll be able to wipe out most of the organisms living within the area in a very short time span. To top it off, they’re an invasive species, with the capability to populate pretty fast as well, so you can be sure that it would slowly but surely make its presence known not just where it was released at but further as well!

The other reason would be the affects it would have on us residents that’s residing in the area. Because the frogs are farm fed and bred, they are not accustomed to the wild, as they’re usually feeding on palettes and living in a controlled environment. By releasing them into the wild, it would leave nearly half of them dead due to the disorientation stress and only a handful would survive. And within that handful, further more would be left dead as they’re not trained to hunt for their food and doesn’t have any immunity built up in them to resist the parasites and diseases that is found in the open waters. With more than half left dead, the masses of decomposing frog bodies would result in a very foul smelling odour that would spread throughout the area affecting many that live within the proximity, and cleaning up wouldn’t be an easy task as well!

So to folks who intend on keeping frogs as pets, think twice, if not, THRICE if you’ll be able to commit, and for those who wants to release them into the wild for whatever reasons you may have, do know that you’ll be doing more harm than good! Not just to the frogs, but to us as well!

Till next time!
Tyronne

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!

Fro, Puppy, and the Monitor Lizard

Hello! It’s me! Fro! Well, I’m back for the second month of my five-month internship.

A lot of things have happened since the last ‘monthsary’, and a lot of things will continue to happen from here on. It has been a fun and wacky month, I’ll say. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are the bits about retailing, customer service, tour guiding and more of the black and white on the table kind of stuff.

Then your day takes a twist that thriller movie enthusiasts will never expect – breaking up a fight between a dog and a monitor lizard. Then, to win a fight (or having lost horribly) the lizard leaves a tail behind as a souvenir and makes a break for the water.

Luckily Puppy (the resident dog) can’t swim, because I’m pretty sure not a lot of things can win a water fight with a monitor lizard in the water.
Unless it’s a bigger monitor lizard.

All the best, Fro.

Wei Lin (Fro)’s First Week Experience @ JFF

Hi! My name is Cheng Wei Lin, I’m a new intern at JFF. I’m from Republic Polytechnic’s School of Applied Sciences, currently studying under Environmental Science.

When I first came in, I thought that there would be lots of running like checking up on the frogs and catching the escaped frogs. Turns out the frogs can handle themselves very well, and their pens are hard to escape. I wanted to try and see if I can condition the frogs, but unlike Pavlov and his dogs, frogs are a lot less responsive (it’s not like I can see them salivate).

The hard work was to be expected, but it’s not any harder than helping out at my parent’s minimart. There are different products and different customers than what I am used to, but I feel that I am adapting ok here. Sure, it can be hot out, but nobody expects you to stand under the sun the whole day. Even the tours are conducted where it is sheltered! We understand that the customers don’t like the heat just as much as we do! But if it’s really hot, that’s even better! It means that I can tempt more people to buy our Hashima desert and local ice cream with a higher success rate. Mosquitoes? No worries, we have Bioactive Collagen Moisturizing Mosquito repellent. Every single person that walks into the store front is a potential customer which is why managing the store front is a good way to practice sales pitch, within the first minute you will know whether you have an interested customer or a tourist here to learn and experience. For someone interested in buying, they will usually have an upper limit for spending and certain target items they may want to buy. Those usually I will elaborate more on the products they are interested in, and tossing in a few other items to widen their choices selection. For those interested to learn and experience, I will usually start with fun facts and interesting information, including how it is sourced and handled to form the product they see before them.

Of course, there are sometimes the difficult customer that throws in a curve ball. One time a lady asked me on how to cook crocodile meat. I had to Google the answer, but luckily my supervisor Jackson saved me. That experience only thought me how little I actually know of my products. That very day I went home to ask my mother how to cook crocodile, venison, snakehead, tilapia, hashima and frog meat. That was also when I learnt that frog + bitter gourd soup is good for fighting dengue fever. I mean, I knew about the ‘frog meat is good for helping with skin issues’, but the dengue fever part was a real ‘WAIT, WHAT?!’ moment.

This is a professional business, so I can’t scare people with a villainous cackle, but I can’t wait to release that bit of information and watch their faces change. Muahahahahahaha~

With lots of love,
Fro

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.