The Raffles Hall Visits!

So late in January, Gemma, Xin Run and I paid Raffles Hall (RH) a visit! Xin Run and I met Prof. Yap, one of RH’s Resident Fellows, at an NParks event. He runs his own farm on Raffles Hall, and kindly invited the YNC urban farmers over to visit! We got to meet the RH Green Comm, and other RH people too!

Their farm concept is completely different from ours: Prof. Yap has actual land. His plants are spread throughout the RH estate. I recall seeing Sugar Cane, Winged Beans, tomatoes and more. He even grows guava! To protect them from the birds, he seals his guava up in Chinese New Year cookie containers. Talk about ingenuity! One day, when we get round to growing fruits on our own plot of land, we’re gonna have to start stocking up on them containers (great excuse to eat more CNY goodies, in my opinion).

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Our friend Chris picking one of Prof. Yap’s home-grown Guavas. That’s Prof. Yap on the rightmost!

The RH people kindly treated us to dinner at their dining hall. We even got to meet Prof. Yap’s wife! She gave up tips on getting rid of mealy bugs (which have been harming our tomatoes)! Prof. Yap also gave us one of his chive plants to grow back in Yale-NUS. It was cool to learn the chives originated in his mother’s garden… Talk about plants and legacy, huh?

In mid-February, we hosted the RH people at Yale-NUS in return! We had dinner together and then headed over to the Yale-NUS farm! Also gracing the occasion was Mrs. Angie Ng, a botanist we met at the same NParks event we met Prof. Yap. She’s so knowledgeable! Listening to Prof. Yap and her wax poetic about plants and listing the scientific names of various plants was an education. I realise I have so much more about farming and botany to learn!

We picked up a few tips from them for our farm. Apparently, our soil’s quality could be improved – it’s not loose enough to facilitate comfortable root growth. No wonder we’ve been having trouble with the plants wilting… At least now we know what the problem is! Based on their advice, we resolved to overhaul the garden to facilitate a great new planting season come next sem!

And we had a surprise guest, too! Who should join us but the amazing Prof. Stan, one of our Yale-NUS professors! He and his wife have a thriving garden back at Kent Vale – the pictures he showed were so amazing! He even showed us and the RH people round his lab. His Foundation of Science course is working on making soap – and it’s pretty darn effective soap, too! I know what FOS mod I want to sign up for come sophomore year…

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That’s Prof. Stan in the foreground on the left, amazing us with his secret botanical powers! On his right, the amazingly knowledgeable Mrs. Angie Ng.

All in all, a great sem for NUS-wide collaboration! Here’s one step closer to the dream of an inter-RC/Hall Farming Alliance!

Nicholas