I was busy with training the speakers for Evening of Biodiversity during the launch of Kirpal Singh’s book about Bernard Harrison, so one of my kakis Cynthia Lee picked up a copy for me.
She had Bernard sign it. He scrawled encouragement to look after the otters and she chuckled.
I sat down to it just now and unsurprisingly, finished it in a couple of hours. I especially liked, well all of it.
I had asked him to come for the Evening of Biodiversity but we were late in announcing this and he was already back in Bali. He would have enjoyed listening to the students speak and the small mammal studies are scientific descendants of his fathers interest.
My students are familiar with his father, Professor J. L. Harrison of the Department of Zoology at the University of Singapore as he had penned “An Introduction to Mammals of Singapore and Malaya” (1966) which they all cite. J. L. Harrison died too early at the age of 55, in 1972, possibly from scrub typhus.
Bernard Harrison’s management style was fascinating to observe, during his Singapore Zoo days and is something we wished would be more widespread. It is, however, unfortunately rare. When he left the zoo, it was for me the same feeling as when Singapore left the Malaysia Cup. Things would not would be same again.
Kirpal Singh writing about Bernard Harrison is just the sort of book to pass to my students. I encourage then to read, before they forget how and this one is easy-peasy food for thought.