Merdeka Generation

'Every seed we sow is a seed of hope': TCM physician goes from healing hands to green fingers

Mr Chai Kien Chin at his Fire Flies Health Farm in Lim Chu Kang, which also houses his family's Thunder Tree stalls selling vegetarian dishes prepared with ingredients such as leafy greens (below) and herbs, most of which are obtained from their farm
Mr Chai Kien Chin at his Fire Flies Health Farm in Lim Chu Kang, which also houses his family's Thunder Tree stalls selling vegetarian dishes prepared with ingredients such as leafy greens and herbs, most of which are obtained from their farm. His wife, Madam Chua Lye Gek, is the main cook at one of the three stalls.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Mr Chai Kien Chin at his Fire Flies Health Farm in Lim Chu Kang, which also houses his family's Thunder Tree stalls selling vegetarian dishes prepared with ingredients such as leafy greens (below) and herbs, most of which are obtained from their farm
Mr Chai Kien Chin at his Fire Flies Health Farm in Lim Chu Kang, which also houses his family's Thunder Tree stalls selling vegetarian dishes prepared with ingredients such as leafy greens (above) and herbs, most of which are obtained from their farm. His wife, Madam Chua Lye Gek, is the main cook at one of the three stalls.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

While the pioneer leaders were the architects of Singapore, everyday heroes helped build society here. This is another story of our Merdeka Generation, those born in the 1950s who lived and persevered through a tumultuous period.

Mr Chai Kien Chin never dreamt he would become a farmer.

All he wanted to do more than three decades ago was to earn enough money from selling vegetables so that he could open his own medicinal herbs store.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline ''Every seed we sow is a seed of hope''. Print Edition | Subscribe