Sunday, March 20, 2005

Science? Oh, you mean biotechnology?

Malaysians just love to jump on the latest and most glamorous bandwagon. Now for example, in the local news, whenever there is mention of anything about advancement in science and technology it always mean the field of biotechnology and computer science. I never hear of talk about the advancement of other fields of science, like for instance, Entomology (my field now) which is very important and relevant here in Malaysia. Yes... even more so than gene manupilation, tissue culturing and whatever the biotechies are doing.

I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone, but in this day an age we still have dengue outbreaks here in Malaysia and does anyone remember that Japanese Encephalitis mess that started at the end of 1998 and went on till 1999. During that time, Malaysia experienced a major disease outbreak known as Japanese Encephalitis, which was caused by Culex mosquitoes that breed in dirty polluted water surrounding pig farms. Experts believed that the unsanitary conditions and poor regulation of pig farmers in managing the drainage and sewage of pig waste had caused the virus to infect the pig population in Malaysia. Sure they controlled the condition successfully by culling the pigs and spraying insecticide, but is the ministry of health concerned now? What about the experts of the Culex mosquitoes, are they getting the funding they need to study ways to prevent another outbreak like this?

Here's how the JE virus was spread to humans, just for your information, in case you're curious. If not, then skip this paragraph. The transmission all starts when the Japanese encephalitis virus multiplies in a pig's body and when a female Culex mosquito sucks the blood of the pig, she will pick up the Japanese encephalitis virus. After an incubation period of 14 days, the Culex mosquito is able to transmit the virus to a new host, usually pigs but in some exceptional circumstances humans can be involved. Still think entomology should be ignored? We're supposed to be a developing nation, but why is it that, even now in the 21st century we still have dengue outbreaks?


Now, I don't hear anyone higher up in the political arena advocating the advancement of the study of the Aedes mosquito to prevent denggi outbreaks, and do we want another JE outbreak or some other outbreak to finally realize the importance of Entomology. What about other sciences like, marine biology or environmental science, these are just as important as biotechnology. But, Nooooo, all i here is BIOTECHNOLOGY this and BIOTECHNOLOGY that and some more things about computer science.

It's easier to get a research grant if your research has a title that has words like ---- Moleculer, Gene, DNA RNA, cellular, enzymes or some other clever sounding words and WHAT is the deal with the BioValley project!!! It should be called Biotechnology Valley not BioValley. Bio is short for biology not biotechnology, and biology has a lot of other fields not just biotechnology. Maybe the biovalley is for other sciences as well, but it would help if the word biotechnology is not repeated in every sentence in the biovalley project information. See here for more info on BioValley http://medicine.com.my/mblog/2003/07/malaysia-puts-muscle-behind-biotech-in.html

It's about time that the Ministry of science and technology wise up to the fact that there are other important fields of science that needs support and funding. The government efforts in advancement of science in Malaysia is commendable, but please make sure that when you say science, you're thinking of other fields of science as well.

3 Comments:

At 20/3/05 3:50 pm, Blogger Puteri said...

hmmm..how about asking or discussing this matter with the fellowship of the walking library? they sure have ideas. wanted and unwanted ones.

 
At 22/3/05 12:37 pm, Blogger kancilzilla said...

I'm sure the walking library of congress will say that they have already sent a letter to the ministry about this subject or that they have personally spoken to pak lah about it.

 
At 23/3/05 10:05 pm, Blogger Digger said...

I was always fascinated by the transmission path of the shistosomiasis microrganismclickfor more info.

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enjoy,

 

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