By Xinhua Writer Wang Lili
SINGAPORE, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Vegetable farm, dairies and fishing pond ... people could hardly associate them with the cosmopolitan Singapore. Yet thanks to the ongoing 16th Singapore Heritage Festival, more visitors are attracted to these places and catch a glimpse of the rural lives in the tranquil Kranji countryside this weekend.
Mr. and Mrs. Chang have brought their nine-year-old son Chang Xiuwen on a Saturday tour to the Bollywood Veggies, the Hay Dairies Goat Farm, the Jurong Frog Farm and the Hausmann Marketing Aquarium Pte Ltd, noting that the trip is both enjoyable and educational.
Besides the renowned Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve which is Singapore's first ASEAN Heritage Park, Kranji in northern part of Singapore also homes a dozen of farms. Founded in 2005, the Kranji Countryside Association has nearly 50 members falling into the four main categories of agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and livestock.
One of the highlights of the 16th Singapore Heritage Festival is "Hello, Kranji", held on April 6-7. During the two days, organizers arranged free shuttle buses linking the Kranji MRT Station to these agricultural attractions, some of which are not accessible by public transport.
At the Bollywood Veggies, the Chang family got to see, touch and smell different fruits, vegetables and herbs, including panda leaves, lemongrass and jackfruit. They also spot some bananas as Bollywood is the largest banana grower in Singapore. The farm also uses organic fertilizers and provides small wooden pathways for insects like ants to be eco-friendly.
Chang Xiuwen was glad to pet and feed goats with hay for himself at the Hay Dairies Goat Farm, though he missed the opportunity to nurse the goats which took place in the morning. The family also bought and tasted the goat milk produced by the only goat farm in Singapore since 1988, which are in the original and chocolate favors.
At the Jurong Frog Farm, the Chang family were fascinated by the plastic containers showing the real-life evolvement of the frogs from eggs to tadpoles to grown-up frogs. They also followed the instructions to keep quiet in order to listen to the frogs croak, while a group of exciting young kids nearby were busy catching frogs with nets and buckets.
Mrs. Chang said the tour enabled her son to experience some agriculture activities and pleasures, as the children these days are quite lack of natural food growing knowledges in a more and more urbanized city life.
The Kranji farm tour winds up this year's heritage festival, which was held during four weekends starting from March 15. The Bicentennial edition of the festival this year, coinciding with Singapore marking this year the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles who made Singapore a free port, has also brought into the spotlight other parts of Singapore such as the Telok Blangah, Bedok and Kampong Gelam.
This year, the festival's very first theater bus also welcomed passengers abroad along four bus routes island widely, where performers would tell stories and histories of the heritage sites that commuters pass by every day.
Firstly introduced in 2004, the festival has offered Singaporeans and foreigners a platform to discover lesser-known aspects of heritage and culture through specially-curated exhibitions, open houses, heritage trails and more.