People

Ihsan ‘Idol’ Tarore:
Gardening and fish farming

Ihsan Tarore, 21, became famous after winning the talent show Indonesian Idol in 2006. Recently, he made his acting debut as the young Ahmad Dahlan in the film Sang Pencerah (The Enlightened One). What does he do on the weekend?

What do I do on weekends or days off? You will find me in the garden, taking care of my vegetable garden and feeding freshwater fish in my fishponds.

I have a house on a two-hectare plot of land in Cililitan, East Jakarta. It’s spacious enough for a small garden to grow plants and fish. I’ve planted water convolvulus and mustard spinach. Now, I’m trying to grow eggplants and long beans.

Where did I learn gardening? I learn by myself. I started gardening when I was still a teen in my hometown in Medan, North Sumatra.

I have been doing this since I was still in Medan. That was before I joined the Indonesian Idol contest. I used to watch my parents growing vegetables. They usually gave me tips and tricks about it. These skills have been handed down from generation to generation.

I’ve always missed and longed for a garden – nature. That’s why I decided to have one here in Jakarta.
With the help of my friend’s grandfather, I have produced organic fertilizers for my garden.

Aside from gardening, I also grow on the weekends. On Sunday, for instance, I usually get out of bed at around 7 or 8 a.m. Then, I usually go straight to the fishponds to feed the fish. It’s been a habit in the last couple of years.

I have gurame (freshwater carp), patin (catfish), bandeng (milkfish), lele (catfish) and many more. I’ve got several ponds to keep all of the fish. Besides breeding fish for private consumption I also breed exotic aquarium fish like the arwana fish.

If I’m not home, the fish are taken care of by friends and relatives who live nearby.

It’s not easy to breed fish. It takes patience and care. You, for instance, must take care of arwana very gently because once you mishandle them you could kill them easily. You must not feed the fish too much or else they could die.

I don’t read books about fish. I learned about breeding fish just by doing it and so far there’ve been no problems at all.

It is very exciting and rewarding to watch the fish eat their food or just swim around in the ponds.

I relish the harvest time. I once harvested my fish and I can say that the results were very good. I, however, did not sell the fish. I prefer to give them to my neighbors. They can take any fish they like.
But I haven’t thought about turning this pastime into a business endeavor.

After I spend my time in the garden or fishponds, I sometimes go out to mall or get out of town to get some fresh air on the beach or in the mountains.

I don’t like shopping malls and choose open-air destinations like Sukabumi or Cipanas (both in West Java). But I don’t like the Puncak resort area in Bogor (also in West Java) because it’s not challenging anymore.

I really like adventure too. When I celebrated my 21st birthday, I took my friends on a long road trip from Jakarta to Bali. On our way to Bali, we stopped at several tourist destinations. That was really fun.

— AS TOLD TO TRIWIK KURNIASARI

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