Uncle William’s Father,
Founder of Lian Wah Hang and Lian Wah Hang Farm Pte. Ltd.
Mr Ho Seng Choon has been a farmer and educator for the past five decades. Inspired by what he learnt during trips to Japan and the Netherlands in the early 1950s, he saw a valuable business opportunity in the primary production of livestock to fill the demands of the growing Singaporean population.
Starting with a few batches of chicks from Japan, Mr Ho soon grew his business from a small farm in Singapore to a sizeable proprietorship spanning outlets and farms in six Malaysian states. The scope of business quickly expanded from the basic supply of produce to retail of poultry medicines, battery systems and husbandry management systems. Lian Wah Hang’s unparalled expertise in the field enabled it to play an instrumental role in the development and expanding the farming industries to its golden age in earliest years, where our local farm produces was exported to our neighbour countries.
Mr Ho was deeply devoted to raising the technological standards of local farms at the time, and took it upon himself to introduce the latest farming technology to his industry peers by starting the nation’s first Mandarin-language farming journal. Unfortunately, circulation of the journal ceased in 1979 and was replaced a foreign, English-language periodical. Mr Ho’s other contributions include setting up the Animal Association of Singapore, organising the largest nation-wide farm exhibition at Kallang Airport on Sept 18, officiated by then the Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Sponsoring countless exhibitions at the school, the Singapore Zoological Gardens and various community centres.
Possessing an inventive streak, Mr Ho has also conducted many experimental breeding programmes. For example, he has carried out studies in the co-relation between pigeon varieties and meat quality, the feasibility of mountain goat, rabbit, turtle and crocodile breeding in commercial battery systems, and means of reducing the odour of mutton. It was based on results of similar experiments on various bird varieties that the decision was taken to focus on the commercial production of quails. As a point of interest, the other bird varieties that were considered for commercial production included the guinea fowl, emu, ostrich and turkey. Small numbers of these varieties remain on the farm.
From 1998, Lian Wah Hang Farm began to offer public tours of the farm, led by Mr Ho’s youngest son, William. The enthusiastic take-up rate for such tours prompted William to formalise the provision of tours as a subsidiary under Uncle William Enterprises. For the last 10 years, Uncle William has shown thousands of children where the food of their dinner tables comes from (not supermarkets!) in an interesting and fun way.
With light humour and creative presentation, William and his staff distract urbanised Singaporean children from the heat and unfamiliar smells while introducing them to the basics of farm life. Although the onset of avian flu has put an end to visits to production sheds of farms, the tours still include indirect interaction with live animals to keep the children happy, albeit in a controlled enclosure at Farmart Centre. The average tour lasts for about an hour and includes a presentation by Uncle William himself, a question and answer session and assorted activities such as the peeling of quail eggs.
Also located at Farmart Centre is Lian Wah Hang’s retail outlet, where fresh produce of various farm like the crocodile and chicken farm can be purchased at special farm prices.
The open spaces of the Farmart Centre make for enjoyable family or school-organised trips during the weekends or school holidays. Uncle William tours can comfortably take up to 80 children per tour, as long as reservations are made in good time before the chosen tour date. Tours can be also be customised to need if necessary.For more information, go to farm tours.
Uncle William also provides services in planning, construction and maintenance of eco-gardens or mini-farms in schools
Applications from keen University, Polytechnic and Secondary School students are welcome but must be accompanied by parental consent
Major Singaporean Milestones:
- 1955 – Lian Wah Hang formed as a sole proprietorship
- 1957 – First farm in Changi was built
- 1957 – Singapore’s second feedmill was set up
- 1958 – Second farm in Choa Chu Kang was built
- 1959 – Changi farm requisitioned by the Government
- 1963 – Lead a rally from 24-30 June to recommend an imposition of a 3 cents tax on imported chicken eggs. Minister of National Development, Tan Kar Kan approved the recommendation to the benefit of the wider farming community.
- 1965 – Organised the largest nation-wide farm exhibition at Kallang Airport on Sept 18, officiated by the then Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.
- 1966 – Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s inaugural visit to the Choa Chu Kang Farm
- 1980 – Lian Wah Hang secures a contract to install 80% of the automatic feeding systems for the farms in the ambitious Ponggol pig farm project
- 1990 – Lian Wah Hang relocates to Ponggol
- 1995 – Lian Wah Hang relocates to Lim Chu Kang, which remains Lian Wah Hang’s flagship farm to this date
- 1998 – ‘Agro-Tourism’ is introduced by Lian Wah Hang, in collaboration with other farms in the Lim Chu Kang area
- 2004 – Uncle William Enterprises is born
- 2004 – Quail meat is certified as a healthy alternative by the Health Promotion Board of Singapore
- 2006 – Halal certification is obtained for the farm’s quail meat