Liu Tung Yan
HONG KONG is such an industrious and fast-paced city, you can see the city is crowded with cars and building. Hence, many people would like to have a taste of rural life during holidays by visiting some “farmlands” . They just love the natural environment in the farmland. Everything in the farmland is just so fresh to city people. Besides, they can escape form pressure and relax themselves. It is just a paradise for them.
This may be true for city people, but most of rural people may not share the same idea with them, at least to Lai’s family. The reason for them to set up the Holiday Farm is not to treasure the environment, but just for a living.
Lai’s family, which includes the elder sister, Lai Kam-shing and her two brothers, namely Lai Kam-keung and Lai Kwok-keung, have run the “Holiday Farm” for four years. It is an over 100,000 square feet rural farm located in Sheung Shui. You can see very beautiful natural scenes in this farm. The Lai’s family has grown different kinds of vegetables and fruits. They also feed cows, rabbits, and pigeons in the farm.
The owner of the farm, Lai Kam-keung said that it was very difficult to start the Holiday Farm at first.
“Working in the farm is not easy at all, I needed to do all the work by myself,” Kam-keung said. “I faced lots of problems, such as lack of manpower and resources.”
With Kam-keung’s continual endeavor for four years, the farm has changed from its previous crop raising one into a “near complete” modern farm with beautiful scenes and lots of facilities and workshops.
Kam-keung’s younger brother, Kam-keung has also paid much effort in operating the farm. He has worked in the farm for two years since he lost his job after the Asian economy crisis. Working in the farm, however, is not desirable for him.
“Unlike before, I have no holiday or benefits,” said Kwok-keung. “Besides, I meet fewer people and have less time with my family.”
Lai Kam-shing, the elder sister, quitted her fish-rearing business three years ago and came to help her brother in the farm. She also finds the farm’s life is not easy.
Everyday, she rides her bicycle to the farm and starts her work at 9 o’clock. She then needs to work for very long hours to sow plants and rear animals.
She does not mind the harsh work in the farm, but she feels extremely heartache about the terrible weather.
In the past September, several strong typhoons destroyed the ripening fruit trees and soaked most of the growing plants.
“I could just move the soaked plants to another field, hoping that they will grow well again,” she sighed.
Though the apparent work seems repeating and boring, she still thinks her life is “regular” and “free” . She is already accustomed to this life style and stays healthly [i.e. healthy] most of her life.
In fact, Kam-shing is easily satisfied. When visiting children come and ask to take a photo with her, she will be very contented. What makes Kam-shing even happier is seeing ripe fruits.
“I can witness the growing process of a plant and share my joy with visitors,” she said proudly.
More and more lands in Hong Kong are developed for commercial or residential use. As a result, there is less green field in Hong Kong. Hope that the Lai’s family can keep on their work no matter how harsh it is.