Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Become a farmer? Yes? No?

What is your dream? What do you want to be when you grow up?

To become a doctor?
A lawyer?
A teacher?
An engineer?
… …

How about a farmer?
“Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable." - Wendell Berry.
The joy of a farmer - hard work paid off! :)
Tepuq Ribed with her harvested crops (tapioca)
Based on what Wendell Berry said, it might sound interesting to be a farmer. But the reality might disappoint you―farmers do a lot of physical labour every day.

In Bario, many of the farmers are elderly women. Throughout my three weeks' stay in Bario, I barely saw any youngsters helping these old ladies in the paddy field or in the farm.

I am from Generation-Y, and I understand why young people nowadays don’t like to work in the paddy field. It is neither an easy job nor an effortless money-making venture. It is tough, and it involves a lot of accountability. To be a farmer, you have to be exposed under the sun most of the time, you have to handle materials and tools that could easily get you dirty or injure your fingers, or you could get wounds in the blink of an eye.

It is not as interesting as it sounds. And it doesn’t sound 'cool' when you tell people you want to become a farmer when all your friends are very “ambitious”: they want to become doctors, astronauts or engineers. Can you imagine what would happen when none of the young generation wants to become farmers? What if the existing farmers – the old ladies - pass away in the future??

Who is going to take up the role/responsibility to grow paddy or be an ecotourism community guide, as we are now training them to be?

What will we do then, buy imported rice? Hire cheap foreign labour to solve the problem? Can these foreign workers fully replace the locals?

I guess all of us have an answer deep down in our hearts.

I realised that there’s something severely flawed in our society - in terms of ambitions and aspirations. Most of us are being told that we should become doctors, lawyers, and scientists instead of farmers or fishermen when we were kids. But...hey guys!! Each and every job is equal. All jobs deserve a decent pay and respect from people. There is no such thing that a job is more superior to another job. Do you think the world is complete if everyone wants to become engineers? Where should we get our food then

All of us are different. Diversity is what makes our world as interesting as it is today. How boring would life be if everyone has the same ambition? If you want to become a farmer, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Just aim to be the best farmer in the world!

Remember, nothing in this world is easy. Likewise, nothing is hard. As long as you have the passion, farming could be interesting even if most people think it is tough. Just keep the passion going ! \^o^/~

Tepuq Ribed (the happy farmer) and me. :D
K Rou

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