What Matters to Me: James Wong, ethnobotanist and TV presenter

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Wong on why he’d invite Frankie Boyle to dinner, and working at Planet Holywood in Singapore

Who would attend your fantasy dinner party? Alfred Hitchcock, as I’m in love with his films. David Attenborough, of course and finally Frankie Boyle; a dinner party needs a couple of inappropriate gaffes.

Whom did you last text? My brother, to nag him into picking up a mulberry tree for me.

It’s not cool but… I get unbelievably excited when seed companies publish their new catalogues.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? My inspirational science teacher said to never feel embarrassed about asking questions, no matter how silly they may sound.

What’s the worst job you ever had? A summer job at Planet Hollywood in Singapore in the late Nineties. I was told I didn’t sound Western enough, as I couldn’t do a fake Southern Californian accent.

Who is your favourite fictional character? Bender from Futurama, an alcoholic, foul-mouthed, politically incorrect robot.

What are you afraid of? Heights. Although that hasn’t stopped the producers on Countryfile throwing me off cliffs and lowering me down potholes.

What situations make you lose your temper? Not being taken seriously, or working with people who don’t speak their mind.

What would your alternative profession be? A plant hunter.

What food or drink is always in your fridge? Pineapple, iced tea and peanut butter.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? I’d love to be able to be more detached about things I feel passionate about.

Who or what is the love of your life? At the moment it’s my new grow lamp, which has opened up the possibilities of growing all kinds of exciting exotic edibles I could have never dreamed about before.