About 2 months ago, we were invited by Filmat36 to film a Channel 8 program – Fresh Farmers 小农夫. This is to be our family’s first appearance on TV and furthermore the venue was in a farm in Malaysia. You can imagine the excitement of the girls and also the adults.
Fresh Farmers is a children program showcasing kids of different ages, experiencing farm life with one parent. Although this episode was filming Joey and me, the production team was gracious to allow the entire family to tag along. The journey from Singapore to KOREF was about 3 hours. Our driver stopped at some town in between for breakfast and already we can see the rustic feel of the place we are going to.
When we reached KOREF, what greeted us was a vast piece of land that seems to have no end. It was the numerous plot of rice paddy fields. One of which is going to be where Joey and myself will learn about rice planting.
KOREF is the first and only Certified Organic Rice Farm in Malaysia. According to our understanding, the owner grow rice on the paddy fields, after the harvest, the fields are turned into ponds, filled with water brought down from the mountain nearby. In the ponds, they will rear fishes and prawns. When the fishes and prawns are big enough to be sold, whatever that was left behind will in turn be the natural fertilizer for the field. And the field is once again converted back to growing rice. The cycle continues itself, thus the idea of eco rice farm.
But besides just doing business, the owner found the opportunity to package the place as a “free & easy” farmstay experience for families and schools. The setup provides an excellent and enriching experience for team-bonding, with activities like mountain climbing, jungle trekking, bamboo rafting, fishing, water obstacle course, etc.
Right at the beginning, kids and adults are able to get their hands wet by just exploring the low waters, trying to catch the fishes. Personally I love the chance to allow my girls to experience the nature, get dirty once a while, to get away from their iPads or anyone electronic devices.
Lodging is in one of the huts like this. There is no TV, no Internet, no Wifi, no Aircon, no Heater. It’s a true test of getting back to basic. It may sound scary at first, but trust us, the experience is something we cannot never buy with money. The learning for the kids over here is more than what we sacrifice for a few nights.
Meals are provided and everyone eats at the main dining area that can hold more than a hundred pax. And the dining area is over the lake.
Even when we are not doing anything, this view is enough for us to just sit down and relax, enjoy what God has created for us.
The walk to our accommodation.
We got the most colorful hut. Yellow!
Common area at level 1, completed with a chill out area and a rattan swing chair.
And this is our humble room.
There is also a small pavilion just outside the hut, for those who like to enjoy the cool night talk.
This is probably the activity that excites the girls most. Swings over the lake.
If you are game for it, you can just swing and jump into the lake. Super fun!
Bamboo rafting is done on one of these. No rental fee, just hop onto one and set off.
Check out the little animals in the farm, they have rabbits, goats and chickens.
Night falls early and it presents another different and totally amazing view of its own.
There were 2 other pairs of parent-child for the night shoot. But we all had our chance to light up our lantern.
We only got to stay for one night because we need to rush back the next day to attend a friend’s wedding. But the following day was the main reason for us being in KOREF. Joey and I are going to filming with Andy & Wen Kang.
Walking with the host, Ben Yeo, towards the paddy field.
Remember to bring a hat and sunblock, the weather can be quite harsh when you go out into the fields.
Jayne was there enjoying the walk and not nervous like Joey, who is getting ready to be mic up and going through with the Director on what to say for the opening scene.
A photo before the shoot, before all of us start to sweat like crazy.
One with Director Eric. He is such a nice man, very patient with the kids and constantly encouraging all of us, knowing that we are just newbies in this trade.
Mic up and going through one last time the opening introduction for our part.
Checking with the cameraman that all is right. To be honest, it was not a scary thing to talk in front of a camera but it takes a while to get use to. One thing we learnt was to always speak in full complete sentences, so that when the viewers see the program, they will be able to follow what is going on. No short answers like “Yes”, “No”, “I think so”. By the way, the program is on Channel 8, so the entire filming was in Chinese. I secretly thank God for giving me the wisdom to implement the “Speaking Chinese” campaign at home.
A short rest after the self introduction part. It was just 5% of the entire filming.
And camera rolls again.
We walked towards Ben and comes the most difficult part in our preparation. To recite the poem.
One of our task was to build a scarecrow.
Our modern scarecrow, with one hand in his pocket.
It was a wrap for a tiring day.
Remember to watch out for us when the program starts on 5 July, Sunday, 10am on Channel 8. Altogether there are 13 episodes, introducing 13 different activities kids get to do and learn at various farms in Singapore and Malaysia.
If you want to see our episode, we are on Episode 10, broadcast date is 6 Sep. And you won’t want to miss the other episode which features Kless and Jayne, on 13 Sep, Episode 11.
See you on TV.