With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a dramatic drop in demand for air travel, Subra Subbaraman has donned a pair of wellies to embrace farm life.
The 40-year-old, who hails from Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, has uncovered a newfound yet unlikely passion for farming over the past year. Prior to COVID, Subra, a flight attendant travelled the world visiting the many places most of us could only dream off at times.
Subra’s current lifestyle is a far cry from his professional career, as a cabin crew for over thirteen years. He is adapting to farming life “surprisingly well” and admitted he was astonished to find that there is more to the lifestyle than what meets the eye. His farm is named Tanvi Agro Farm. He specialises in fish farming.
According to SAYS, Subra has been on unpaid leave since March 2020 when the Movement Control Order 1.0 (MCO) was implemented. Subra stated he kept himself occupied during the first six months of MCO by building a pond at the back of his house with his own hands to produce tilapia. Aquaponics, poly tanks, water pumps, and filters are among the basic requirements to build the fish ponds.
Subra learned fish farming through watching videos on YouTube, which serves as a great platform for anyone venturing into almost anything.“Based on what I saw online, I built filters and set up pipe systems. Every step of the process, I’m going to be hands-on, “said Subra.
He began selling fish to close friends and family after eight months of seeking advice, learning, and gradually improving. Subra has also added that as a newbie to this field, he made numerous missteps, killed a large number of fish, and was originally unsure if fish farming could provide a sustainable source of income for his family.
Despite his failures, Subra now owns a fish pond where 20,000 ikan puyu Siam are bred. While agriculture and aviation may appear to be diametrically opposed, he believes his safety-conscious mentality has aided him in his transition to farming. He identified health and safety as a major requirement for those that intend to venture into any kind of farming.
What is life without challenges?
Subra encountered a lot of issues while building the pond. He encountered budgeting problems initially, since he had to take out money from his own pocket to develop his fish farming business.
“Working on a tight budget significantly impacts my possibilities,” he said.
“For the time being, I feed the fish, pellets three times a day.” This is now the farm’s most expensive item, with each bag costing around RM65. That’s RM65 every day, and it’ll only get more expensive as the fish get bigger, said Subra.
Apart from fish farming, the entrepreneurial man has also ventured into chicken farming.
“A life without challenge, a life without hardship, a life without purpose, seems pale and pointless. With challenge comes perseverance and gumption. With hardship comes resilience and resolve. With purpose comes strength and understanding.” ― Terry Fallis, The High Road.
Life is there to be filled with experiences. So, why not try something new that may be out of your comfort zone and see what happens? Well, Subra has proved that anything is possible with a sheer hard work and will to succeed.
“There’s still a lot to learn. I’m still a novice in this field. I don’t have enough experience to give anyone advice. But, as someone who, like thousands, if not millions, of people throughout the world, is facing an uncertain future, I want to assure them that it is not the end of the world,” the flight attendant concluded.