A Malaysian bank manager left his high-paying job of eight years to go live a farmer’s life even though he lacked the proper knowledge to get into agriculture.
After taking a huge step forward into fulfilling his dream in 2012, Kenny Soon We Hong left his five-figure salary job as a banker to open up his own farm at the age of 30, according to his interview with Says.
“So I followed the normal path where I studied in university, graduated, found a job, worked in a bank, and was slowly promoted to bank manager,” the now-38-year-old farmer and father of three told the publication. “My last post before I left the bank was Area Manager. And although many people envied me as a manager in the bank, I never forgot my dream.”
After leaving his job, Soon took up work as a real estate agent to gain knowledge about lands for sale and as a way to support his family financially while jobless. Thankfully, his wife, who works as a government school teacher, supported his decision and his dream, he said.
Soon’s dream began when he bought 2.8 hectares of land in Bakri, Muar, Malaysia where he planted coconut trees he received from a grant of 400 saplings given by the Agriculture Department, The Star reported.
However, he described his early start in the agriculture industry to be a “disaster.” Soon was plagued with problems in his farms, such as lack of manpower and pest control issues.
“Because there was no fencing on my land, I also had to deal with wild boars eating up my plants,” he said.
Despite the hardship, Soon persevered and took up agricultural courses hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries.
“I am thankful to the Agriculture and Veterinary departments as they have been very helpful in providing courses and tips for free to anyone who wants to delve into agriculture,” he said.
Soon managed to overcome the obstacles he encountered during his early days in the business. As of 2019, his farm has 150 goats, over 200 chickens and ducks, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
He also employed an environmentally-friendly approach to grow his farm by using compost and animal waste as fertilizer.
“I also work with a canteen nearby to collect excess food, especially rice as animal feed, so it is a win-win situation where we get to reduce waste and ensure a healthier growth in my animals,” he said.
Soon helped his fellow farmer friend when they had issues in their farm.
“I also let a friend use a small piece of land to set up a greenhouse and plant hydroponic vegetables. I offered them space to plant at my farm without any rental after they faced some financial issues with their own farm,” he said.
“I feel happier, healthier, and satisfied with my life now – I can do something I love, spend more time with family, and be closer to nature,” Soon said, adding that his new choice in life doesn’t require him to participate in unnecessary entertainment and drinking that he associated with during his time as a banker.
Soon hopes inviting children over to his farm and letting them get close with nature could change their perception of farming. The humble farmer currently runs the farm with his father and two workers while also teaching his children about farming, reported Says.
“I wish to change their mindset whereby farming is not just a low-class occupation,” Soon said.
Feature Image via Eden Eco Farm