93 years old farmer at Chai Chee Rd

Today is the 7th day of Chinese New Year aka as everyone’s birthday even though I do not understand this. I goggled and it says, “On the seventh day of Chinese New Year, the Chinese commemorate an event known as REN RI (People’s Day). This is recognized as the day the Chinese goddess Nuwa first created human beings, thereby making the collective “birthday” of the human race.” Even the Chinese believe in creation theory!

My good friend Freddie asked me out for lunch today. Two of us for lunch as the rest were not free; either working or CNY visiting. Over the past few days, Freddie was complaining about his broken annual routine of getting up in the wee hours of CNY heading to the fishery port to buy in bulk and deliver fishes to all his relatives including myself. He was sore about not able to fulfill this yearly obligation. For more than 10 years, Freddie delivered rabbit fish to me on the first day of CNY without fail. Like many other activities in our life turned awry by this vicious Covid 19 pandemic. This CNY, only those in the fish mongering trade were allowed into the fishery port to buy in bulk.

When it will ever end after a full year of wearing facial masks in public has become a norm? My CNY wish is for this madness to go away as soon as possible.

This afternoon we headed to Blk 416 Bedok North Ave 2 coffee shop to try the famous fish soup. There was a long queue and Freddie patiently queue for the 3 dishes he ordered. It’s a simple affordable meal. It was a fantastic lunch paid for by Freddie. I’m blessed to have a friend coming all the way to fetch and send me back in his luxurious E200 Mercedes sedan for lunch and paid for by him.

After our sumptuous lunch, we proceeded to pay a visit to his old Mata Ikan kumpung old neighbor. The 93 years old man was tilling a small plot of land beside Blk 34 Chai Chee Avenue off the main New Upper Changi Road. It was a super hot day! They chatted in Teochew and caught up with each other. The old man was complaining about the low quality soil (clay) which is not ideal for farming. He planted herbs and pandan leaves amongst others to while away his time. The plot of land belongs to the RC (Residents’ Committee) with water and electricity supplied. It’s rent free. He sold those herbs thru a friend in the market to pay for the fertilizers ie chicken shit bought from LCK chicken farms. When he was much younger, he used to farm on a bigger plot of land near to SAFRA Tampines. The old farmer liked the old place due to the better soil fertility. He found satisfaction in growing fresh lovely vegetables there. The landlord was kind enough to allow him to farm for free. It was subsequently sold off and he had to move to Chai Chee.

Every morning, his family members send the old farmer to this small plot of land to let him do farming and they fetch him home in the evening. This is his daily routine. He cooks porridge for himself there. What a back breaking frugal lifestyle which partly explains why at 93 years, he is able to move about on his own. He told us his Chinese Zodiac is snake.

I was told that in those days, the old man was a full time farmer having huge farmland at the current train depot at Koh Sek Lin Road. He used to drive a lorry to transport his freshly harvested vegetables to the market to sell. Presently, he’s doing farming as a hobby without profits. I was observing the old farmer intently as Freddie and him chatted away in Teochew.

After a while, we left the place. I commented that this could be the last time he’s meeting his ancient friend. Freddie listened and remained silent as if to acknowledge this fact. Breaking the silence, Freddie said the old farmer was hard on hearing. He had to shout at him when talking to him. Soon, he will be like him.

PS : Read another interesting article here. Link

About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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