Renowned seed scientist dies

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RENOWNED Professor Emeritus Chin Hoong Fong passed away on March 19 at the age of 83.

Chin has always attracted a full house of enthusiastic audience whenever he spoke. Other than being a devoted and highly respected “teacher” in Malaysia, Chin was also an internationally renowned seed scientist who pioneered storage of recalcitrant seeds in the 1970s.

His history with Bioversity International goes back almost 30 years to the 1980s when he served two terms as member of the Board of Trustees of the then International Board on Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR).

Ever since Bioversity International’s office in Malaysia opened its doors in 1997, Chin has been an Honorary Research Fellow. He has always spoke about his lifelong love for seeds that continue to amaze and inspire him always. Chin will be dearly missed by the local science community. Below is Chin’s famous poem quoted from his book, Malaysian Vegetables in Colour.

Eaten cooked or raw to satisfy dietary needs
Good for health they have proven
Especially when organically grown;
Tasty, attractive and nutritious when fresh
Appetite enhancer and known to reduce stress
Besides food value, some have power to heal
Lowering blood pressure, they are ideal;
Ensured of their goodness for our table
Surely we must grow and eat more vegetables.
– H.F. Chin