Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Magical Mahogany: A Personal Encounter With One Of Singapore's Most Commonly Seen Trees

Francis Lim weaves a fascinating story of the mahogany tree by blending together selected scientific facts with a rich concoction of medicinal folklore as well as elements like personal encounters, field studies and observations, experiments, and discoveries about the life and times of one of the world’s best-known tropical hardwood tree, the mahogany.

The result is an endearing and engaging account of many aspects of this incredibly resilient and useful tree, including: the historical roots, botanical features like fruit reproduction and seed dispersal, traditional medicinal folklore, pests and diseases as well as a section on making handicrafts from parts of the fruit.

The story is passionately told and illustrated with more than 120 photographs. It will enhance our understanding and appreciation of the mahogany tree and of all trees in general.

This is Francis Lim’s second book on a local nature subject, after The Singapore Mistletoe Story: An Expose Of A Botanical Marvel. Magical Mahogany: A Personal Encounter With One Of Singapore's Most Commonly Seen Trees can be purchased here.

About the Author
Francis Lim Leong Keng started his career as an animal-keeper in the Singapore Zoo way back in 1972 at the age of seventeen years. He was to remain with the zoo for over three and a half decades. His expertise and passion for reptiles is recognized by his contemporaries. In particular, Francis scored a distinction in the City & Guilds Certificate in Animal Management in 1998. He has been regarded as one of the few pioneers who have distinguished themselves throughout the zoo’s development and his contributions helped make the Singapore Zoo what it is today – a global leader amongst zoos.

An advocate for nature education and conservation, Francis has published a number of scientific papers and articles in journals and magazines as well as several books, including Fascinating Snakes of Southeast Asia: An introduction; A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Singapore; and Tales and Scales.

His achievements also include local and regional outreach programmes to create awareness and understanding for wildlife. He decided to retire in mid-2010 so as to pursue his own interests and has since gone on the path to champion all sorts of invertebrates – the creepy crawlies now has a voice to speak up for them. Now aged sixty, he has not stopped loving animals and nature and spends his time on writing, photography, mistletoe-spotting, and doing poetry workshops for kids, among other things.

His curiosity about plants, specifically mistletoes, led to the publication of his latest book in 2011, entitled The Singapore Mistletoe Story: An Expose of a Botanical Marvel. It reads like a botanical novel, in which he chronicles his adventures and travels all over Singapore to find and study the eight species of native mistletoes, a number of which are critically endangered.

Francis Lim’s other recent book was Once a Zookeeper: A Collection of Personal Poems, which is poetry uncaged, and in which he illustrates and anthropomorphizes the animals with easy-to-read prose. His experiences with the many animals that he has encountered over the years – both the large and small ones – enabled him to paint them with his creative imagination. Francis hopes to share his passion for animals and nature through poetry readings with all.