The photographer who grew up on a Singapore farm

What are some of your fondest memories growing up on a farm?
I never ran out of games to play, places to explore and cousins to do all of those with. I remember huddling onto a van driven by one of my grand uncles every morning. He would drop us off and pick us up after school. In the afternoon, a mini-van selling bread and snacks would stop by our house, everyday without fail. That would be our tea treat while we watched our favorite SBC drama on TV. It was also a lot about community living then, an aspect that I miss greatly now.

What do you think is the future for farming?
I feel that there should always be room for local produce, especially in a land-constrained country like Singapore. We can’t stick to the traditional way of farming but have to constantly innovate and find solutions that can overcome our limitations. I think urban farming is a great idea. It brings life back to the city and helps reconnect with Mother Nature.

What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions about farming?
Probably the biggest misconception here is that it no longer exists in Singapore. Also maybe people think of farmers as simple folks who engage mainly in manual labor. The truth is, a lot of farmers I met in Singapore, including my own family, are very enterprising and inventive.

Are you a firm believer of eating organic?

I’m actually not a believer of eating organic. The hydroponics vegetables that my family grow are pesticide and insecticide-free but not organic due to the nutrient solution that the vegetables are grown in. I believe in eating healthy which means less eating out and more homecooked food.

What’s your most memorable project?
Currently I’m working for a project that’s part of the irememberSG grant program. The project looks at the development of farming in Singapore through the stories of three local farms: my family farm, Lian Wah Hang Quail Farm and Khai Seng Fish Farm. All 3 of them have a long history, and they’ve gone through a lot to be still surviving today. It’s a project that I am very personally involved in, and spending time in the other two farms feels like home to me! 

Who are some of your photography heroes?
At the moment I love looking at works from some Chinese photographers like Luo Dan, Yan Ming and Zhang Xiao. They spent years working on their projects and because of that, their works are compelling and pretty epic. I admire their dedication.

Catch We Are Farmers from Dec 10 – Jan 12 at Objectifs, find more info here.