Public Talk – THE JUNGLE IN HERE ‘Conservation frontiers in a post-wild Malaysia’ series By Dr Benjamin Ong
Date : 1 September 2018, Saturday
Venue : Auditorium, MNS HQ JKR 641, Jalan Kelantan, Bukit Persekutuan 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Time : 9.30am to 10.30am
About the speaker
Benjamin Ong is an ecologist based at the University of Malaya’s Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden, where he runs The Rimba Project, a campus sustainability and urban conservation initiative. In 2016, he was awarded a Chevening-CIMB ASEAN scholarship to study Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews. He won the Chevening Green Volunteer of the Year award in 2017 for his work with Transition University of St Andrews, a community-based sustainability organisation. Benjamin’s research interests centre on the relationship between human communities and nature, especially in the urban space. He is an avid writer and photographer. His latest book, The Backyard Before You, is a meditation on biodiversity conservation in the urban residential neighbourhood.
Part II: The reinvention of nature
The second talk will examine the tradition of conservation itself, questioning its practical and institutional legacies—with a special focus on botanic gardens. Often a gateway to the exotic, botanic gardens are integral to conservation work worldwide. In a country like Malaysia, however, with lush rainforests merely hours away, the traditional role of European-inspired botanic gardens must be reimagined. In this talk, Benjamin will appraise botanic gardens as hybrid sites for both ex situ and in situ conservation, interpreting them as strategic agents for restoration ecology and reconciliation ecology. He will reflect on how botanic gardens are ideally placed to interface with novel social-ecological dimensions in contemporary society, providing a conducive space for interdisciplinary research and immersive education, and helping restore a vocational approach to science and conservation.