Malaysian farmers grow Japanese muskmelons using massage and music

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. humid / ˈhyu mɪd / (adj.) – describing weather that’s wet, uncomfortable, and usually hot

    I wear very light clothes when the weather is humid.

  2. rub / rʌb / (v.) – to repeatedly move something back and forth or in a circular motion along the surface of an object

    I rubbed a wet cloth on the stain on my shirt until it became lighter.

  3. greenhouse / ˈgrinˌhaʊs / (n.) – a building, room, etc. made mostly of glass where the temperature is kept at a certain level so that plants can grow even out of season

    We grow different kinds of tomatoes in our greenhouse.

  4. nutrient / ˈnu tri ənt / (n.) – a substance that living things like humans, plants, and animals need to grow

    The plants are dying because the soil doesn’t have many nutrients.

  5. temperate / ˈtɛm pər ɪt / (adj.) – having temperatures that are neither too hot nor too cold

    These flowers only grow in temperate regions.


Read the text below.

A trio of Malaysian farmers say they have found the right way to grow Japanese muskmelons in Malaysia’s hot and humid climate — in part by massaging the melons and playing them music.

The farmers at Mono Premium Melon help the melons grow by rubbing them with a soft cloth or glove. They also play classical music in the greenhouses. Mono co-founder Seh Cheng Siang said each melon was like an artwork.

The three farmers had many other challenges to overcome, including finding the best mix of nutrients to give to the melon plants.

Despite the challenges, Mono sold out its first batch of 200 melons, thanks mainly to online sales. A melon sells for about 168 ringgit (¥4,400), much lower than in Japan.

In Japan, the melons are normally grown in temperate areas. They are prized for their taste and round shape, and are sold in high-end shops as luxury items. (Reuters)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The farmers massage the melons and play classical music to help them grow. Do you think such treatment really helps the melons to grow? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • The melons are normally grown in temperate areas of Japan, but now they’re being grown in Malaysia’s hot and humid climate. Do you think it’s a good idea to try to grow fruits and vegetables outside of their natural zones? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The melons sold for about ¥4,400, much lower than in Japan. How do you feel about expensive fruit (ex. good for presents, a waste of money)? Why? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what’s the best kind of fruit? Are there any kinds of fruit that you dislike? Why or why not? Discuss.