Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fresh Farmers 2 [ 小农夫 2 ] - Pulau Ketam

This was a long over-due post like from 1.5 years ago. Better late than never, before I gradually forgot about certain details. So, what are the ways to expose your child to Mother Tongue for improvement. Well, I think most of you would have heard it from your child's Mother Tongue teacher that the child needs constant exposure to the language through speaking, watching and listening to the evening news, singing Chinese songs and the list goes on to whatever works!

I timely remind myself to converse in Mandarin to the kids, whenever possible. To the extend, I forced myself to step out of the comfort zone and communicated to Xav in Mandarin and made him reply to me in the same language. You know something, Chinese readers in my house were quite poor thing, Xav will not touch them unless I picked them up, made him sit down and read it together whenever I have pockets of spare time. Through reading out loud, this gave Xav an opportunity to practise his oracy skills as well as helping him with word recognition.  

Anyway, back to Pulau Ketam if you have read my PART 1. A fellow parent from his school had shared that there was a casting call for Fresh Farmers 2  and they were looking for Mandarin speaking kids. I thought why not, this could probably motivate and encourage Xav to speak more in Mandarin. I grabbed hold of the opportunity and "push" my kantang and make him 讲华语 (Speak in Mandarin).

Photo credit: Toggle 

We were pretty lucky on the day we arrived, we were informed that there will be a low tide from 3pm -4pm just for that day and the best activity is to catch bamboo clams (which is also known as Jackknife clams)! Sounds like an adventure, let's get our feet muddy! 

Bare-footed, geared with a packet of salt, we stepped right into the mixture of soft mud and sand. The boys, from having the fear of getting their feet dirty, tip-toed across the mud, to overcome the fear and stepping right in. The boys were taught how to lure the bamboo clams out from their hiding place. A totally unforgettable experience!

We were taught to spot for location of bamboo clams through keyhole-shaped or gourd-looking shaped holes on the ground. Basically, you can try pouring a small amount of sand into such openings to lure them out. Do observe if the hole which you pour salt on do squirt out small jets of water. In such situation, pull the bamboo clams out quickly when they surface before they burrow themselves into the ground again. 

The boys slowly got the hang of it, though did not managed to catch alot but it was such an awesome experience!

This is Xav's first ever filming experience. Now, he knew that it could be quite a tough job being an artiste, especially for those who needs to act or host. From having to memorise lines to filming under the hot sun for hours, he had a mild taste of it.

The picture below was a scene when he NG for more than 10 times because he could not get the pitch right for Bamboo Clams in Chinese 竹蛏 [zhú chēnɡ].

He repeated the same sentence until I could sensed some frustration in him. Eventually, he managed to pronounce it correctly. We managed to wrap up this segment before the tide came in.

The team of Bamboo Clams catcher

Catch of the day

Part of the filming included a visit to the Kelong as well ! Much excited as this has always been on my to visit list if we have a chance.

The boys had a chance to experience what is the daily routine of a fisherman for that day. They fed the fishes, got on the fishing boat and learnt about what kind of equipment the fishermen used, sorted out the catch of the day by evening time and sent them to weigh before selling them to the fishmongers.

With the very humble, diligent and friendly Ah Ben (Ben Yeo) who had so much chemistry with both kids.

Our segment was wrapped up by the end of  Day 2. You can watch our segment on

The other team was filming the process of making salted fish, went into the mangrove to catch crabs the traditional way and to fish for pufferfish!

The process after the catch, halves the fishes, removed all the entrails, using the coarse salt, layer a coat on the fishes and marinate them for a day. After a day, rinse off the salt and lay them to dry.

After salt rub
Drying out in the sun before they are packed for sale

We read in books that puffer fish will puff up when it felt threatened, we tasted it in form of sashimi, Fugu, when we visited Japan. At Ketam, we had an opportunity to touch one! We felt the tummy and I thought it felt rubbery.

Those look-a-like human teeth ! 
Catch their segment here: 

The experience and memories from this trip will stay with us for a lifetime. To read more about Pulau Ketam, this is my Pulau Ketam- Part 1. I have even printed out the photos on Canon HD FotoJournal and made into a photobook. I really enjoy the tranquility and simple life on that island, you can consider planning a day trip there just to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Thank you for reading and if you would like to stay tune for future updates, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

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