Making Waves with Molluscs

loading Raja of Perlis and USM chancellor Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail (second left) honouring marine biologist Dr Aileen Tan (right) with a place in USM's Sanggar Sanjung (Hall of Fame) during a ceremony in late October. With them is USM vice-chancellor Datuk Prof Dr Asma Ismail (second right) and USM board of governors chairman Tan Sri Dr Zulkefli A. Hassan.

Prof. Dr Aileen Tan’s work with oysters spans a quarter of a century and created a momentum that has spread down Malaysia’s west coast.

As a fresh graduate, one is prone to taking on unusual first jobs. But few of these jobs would require travelling by boat daily to the office. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)’s Prof. Dr Aileen Tan Shau Hwai, however, made the journey as a young woman almost every day for over 10 years.

Her “office” was in Muka Head. “There were scheduled times for the boat, so if you missed it, you’d have to hike in! It was 1989 so the (hiking) path was underdeveloped – it was just a small trail. Now, there are stairs and everything, so it’s no challenge,” Tan, now 51, jokes.

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