news

Google Doodle Celebrates Dr Lim Boo Liat — Global Pioneer And Malaysian Zoologist

He was also the first Southeast Asian to be awarded Honorary Membership to the American Society of Mammalogists!

Cover image via Google Doodle & Natural History Museum

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for our latest stories and breaking news.

Today, Google Doodle celebrates the life of Dr Lim Boo Liat, a renowned Malaysian zoologist and leading authority on biological diversity in the nation

On this day in 2003, Dr Lim became the first Southeast Asian, and the fourth Asian to be awarded an Honorary Membership to the American Society of Mammalogists for his astute contributions to zoology.

Helping to start Malaysia's first national zoo, Dr Lim has also written over 300 scientific publications about mammalogy (the brand of zoology concerned with the study of mammals), and parasitology (the scientific discipline concerned with the study of biology relating to parasites and parasitical diseases).

We tip our hats to a global legend, and a Malaysian hero who contributed incomparable success to the world of science.

Titled "Celebrating Dr. Lim Boo Liat" on Google.

Image via Google

Detailing his accomplishments, Google Doodle noted how his humble beginnings brought him to develop a love for animals

Hailing from Klang, Dr Lim was inspired by a love for the outdoors through his school's garden. In the description memorialising his life on Google Doodle, it was stated, "While attending high school in Klang, Selangor, Dr Lim frequented the school garden to observe the life of small animals and insects found there."

He was only 16 years old when World War II came to Malaysia, and had to pause on his studies to support his family, maintaining odd jobs as a means of contributing income to the home.

Making a trip to Carey Island, Dr Lim set up machinery to harvest salt from seawater. During his time on the island, he learned the technique of recognising animals from the Orang Asli community.

While he lacked the academic qualifications and education, the zoological knowledges Dr Lim learned on the island aided his application as a temporary lab assistant at the Institute of Medical Research (IMR), after the war in 1947.

Early days in the laboratory at IMR, 1948.

Image via The Merdeka Award

With hard work and determination, Dr Lim was eventually promoted to permanent lab assistant in 1952, and continued to engage in various scientific campaigns. Directing research and attending conferences relating to the parasitic effects of wildlife behaviour, his itinerary of accomplishments soared over the years.

As stated in Google Doodle, "From 1955 to 1969, he published more than 80 scientific papers on vertebrate animals, and was asked to head a newly founded Medical Ecology Division at the IMR."

During this period, Dr Lim aided in founding the National Zoo of Malaysia, or more commonly known today as Zoo Negara

Image via Wikipedia

Recognising his true capacity and skill in zoology, a few professors from European universities had reached out to Dr Lim to pursue his Master's Degree, despite his lack of formal education. In fact, he had not received a Bachelor's Degree before attaining sponsorship to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland

In 1959, Dr Lim spent 18 months studying animal ecology and taxonomy of mammals at Oxford University and Aberdeen University, per the Sino-British Fellowship Trust Award. In 1969, he received a Medical Research Council Fellowship to complete his maters degree in science at Aberdeen.

Following this, Dr Lim became the first person to receive a PhD from University Sains Malaysia (USM) in 1977, consequently being invited to help run the Vector Biology Control Research Unit at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Working at WHO until his retirement in 1987, Dr Lim's endeavours included research for the plague, malaria control, and rodent control, among others.

Following his retirement, Dr Lim became an honorary consultant on zoology for the Department of Wildlife and National parks Peninsular Malaysia, assisting with establishing a research laboratory specifically designated for small animals.

Defining what it means to celebrate a life worth living, Dr Lim left a legacy for zoologists and biologists all over the world

With various species of parasites and animals named after him, he received the prestigious honour of being the 2013 recipient of the Merdeka Award.

On 11 July 2020, Dr Lim passed away at his home in Cheras, at the age of 93. Today, we remember his successes, and well-deserved feature on Google Doodle as a commemoration of his life and scientific prowess.

From a temporary lab assistant to writing more than 300 scientific papers and numerous books relating to his field(s) of expertise, Dr Lim will remain a global legend for all the doors he's opened for the discipline of science.

This Malaysian also made history as the first man to receive an award for a Disney movie:

#MalaysiaBoleh! Here are some other Malaysians making us proud overseas: