Simpoh Malesia

All about learning Dillenia

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Knowing the author of "simpoh"

In 1983, on 11th October, I was born in Ipoh. Somehow, I was only in Ipoh for a couple of weeks before being moved to Teluk Intan (Diamond Bay) where my father, Tan Cheng Hock worked. I was raised by my father and my mother, Neoh Cheng Ten in an oil palm estate, quite isolated from the Teluk Intan town. Teluk Intan is a town famous for its’ own PISA tower in Malaysia. My education started since kindergarden where I only opt to study for a year at Tadika Intan Methodist. I proceed my education to SRK Convent, TI and SM Convent, TI, which were one of the top listed school in Hilir Perak then. After my SPM examination, I continued my education to STPM level at St. Anthony, TI which was opposite my ex-school.

My father is the breadwinner of my family. He worked as a chief clerk and I honour him very much as he is a very dedicated and trustworthy person. He is a peaceful and caring person. Although he seldom expressed his love directly, we can feel it through his preliminary preparations when we went back home and showers of gifts. My father just retired recently but he still continues his work at his company (Sime Darby) in Sabrang Estate. On the other hand, my mother is a housewife. She is the best cook ever that I known of as she can cook Chinese, Malay, Indian and some western food too. She never gets tired of trying to improve and create new recipes in her cooking. Therefore, it’s surely always a feast when one visited my house. My mother is also a very caring and sweet person and able to handle household chores perfectly.

I left my hometown in 2003 to pursue my degree in UKM under the course of Biology for three years. I never thought that I will be able to make it to this far. Somehow by luck, I was given a chance to enroll in the course which is my second choice. In the second year of my degree year, I opted to major in Botany. This is based on my interest on getting to know plants as I enjoy their presence a lot. I did my degree project on ‘The Biology of Rafflesiaceae in Melantai, Taman Negara’ under the supervision of Prof. Madya Dr. Kamarudin Mat-Salleh. The discovery of the presence of Rafflesia and Rhizanthes in Melantai, National Park during my practical there had attracted me to continue to study about them at that moment. I grew to be fond of jungle trekking and enjoy the wilderness in the forest. Everything in the forest is really magnificent and has caught my heart. Although the track to my site is pretty tough, I have always cherished the journey and experienced. Besides, the satisfaction when I get to see Rafflesia in bloom will cast away all the tiredness.

Currently, I’m pursuing my master in UKM on Plant Systematics. I’m working on my master project, ‘A Taxonomic Revision on the Genus of Dillenia in Peninsular Malaysia’ under the supervision of Prof. Dato’ Dr. Abdul Latiff Mohamad. This is something new to me and I’m still in the process of learning about this genus which is much known as ‘simpoh’ by the locals. Fundamentally, it is not easy to recognize this genus in the forest unless there are inflorescences or one already familiar with trees in the forest. Somehow, I’m very satisfied that I’d encountered five species out of ten species on my fieldworks recently.


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