Saturday, 19 May 2012

Institute for Medical Research

I was at the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), maybe around 1978 or near that. Why was I there? I was there looking for a job! My first job! And in Kuala Lumpur!

My dad had said to me, to study and then go to work at IMR. He said to do research. At the time I was 19 and didn't know anything about research nor what it really meant. I sat in the empty waiting room, waiting to see Dr De Witt (that was what was written on his door).

I didn't like the idea of working at IMR, and working in KL was far from what I was used to - kampung life! But I couldn't simply turn back and say to my dad that I wasn't interested in IMR or life in KL. So how? What to do?

After waiting to see him for almost 2 hours, I got very hungry and thirsty. I said to myself: I need to tell my dad that I am really hungry and thirsty and not that I didn't want to work at IMR and stay in KL".

That worked. I cancelled my appointment to see Dr De Witt and went home (to Penang). Then I flew to my home, overseas.

I went back to visit the IMR in 2005 to see what the place was like. I took some photos of it, but they have all gone missing except one - the old wooden building (low resolution).

I went back again to the IMR in 2011 to try and capture some photos of it for my book but none came out nice enough. I didn't make any appointment with the director so I only took photos from the monorail.

I plan to go to KL again this weekend, insya Allah, to take some photos of the IMR (a big dream though). I need to email the director to request permission to do photoshoot on site so I can get some good shots. No point travelling down 8 hours and get lousy photos of the IMR.

http://www.imr.gov.my/contact-us-seperator/contact-us-2
http://www.imr.gov.my/contact-us-seperator/primary-staffs-list

I just noticed that many of the heads at IMR have better than professors' pay - many are Jusa C, few Jusa B. A novice professor like me is Jusa C, and it can remain status quo till I retire.

My overall impression of IMR:
IMR was instrumental and leading in research in British Malaya. IMR is still the best medical research institution in Malaysia today. The best in UK is the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

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IMR photos (1 August 2012) taken by Dr Lim Ju Boo (retired from IMR):

Entrance to IMR, in front of the Grand Seasons Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
Old wooden colonial building of IMR, built in 1900 (viewed from the left/west end or entrance).
This part housed the malaria and filariasis research.
Mid-section of the colonial building houses the IMR library (viewed from the left/west end).

Another view of the colonial building (viewed from the right/east end).
The former Nutrition Division at the right corner (east end) of the colonial building.
1953 building
1976 building which was officially opened in 1978. Refer to Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin's biography and photos in Arkib Negara Malaysia for details.
College of Medical Laboratory Technology, IMR. The two-year IMR medical lab training programme produced Malaysia's first batch of highly skilled medical laboratory technologists in 1980. Some of the IMR graduates are still working today at universities, but as associate professors; a few became professors. The IMR graduates were much sought because they were very well-trained. Even the med techs of California could not match these IMR graduates.
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Update 25 Jan 2016

Dr Mazlyn Mustapha shared an aerial view of the IMR, taken from her office at the Grand Seasons Hotel in front of the IMR.

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There is a laboratory manual that IMR produced which is still around in the USM medical library. I have not seen an updated version. I heard that IMR was going to update the lab manual but maybe it has not materialised. No doubt lab tests and backup lab tests are all automated today, the manual is very useful for manual tests.

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IMR was founded by Frank Swettenham in 1900. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1950, and its 100th anniversary in 2000. It will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2050.

There is a book compiled about the status of health in the Federated Malay States and research done at the IMR 1900-1950, to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Some data for Blackwater fever for 1939 and 1940 are missing. This book was published in 1951, after WW2.

front cover:

Studies from the
INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
FEDERATION OF MALAYA
Jubilee Volume
No. 25.

THE
INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
1900-1950

inside cover page:

THE INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
KUALA LUMPUR
1900-1950

FIFTY YEARS OF MEDICAL RESEARCH
IN MALAYA

next page, a lithographic map of the:

FEDERATION of MALAYA
1949

next page, frontispiece, Plate I featuring the profile of:

SIR FRANK ATHELSTANE SWETTENHAM, G.C.M.G., C.H.,
RESIDENT GENERAL, FEDERATED MALAY STATES
1861-1901, HIGH COMMISSIONER 1901-1904 AND
FOUNDER, INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH 1900.

next page, page i, Title page:

Studies from the
INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
FEDERATION OF MALAYA
Jubilee Volume
No. 25.

THE
INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
1900-1950

By
Various Authors

KUALA LUMPUR:
PRINTED AT THE GOVERNMENT PRESS,
1951.

Next page, page iii, Dedication:

To the memory of
Sir FRANK ATHELSTANE SWETTENHAM, G.C.M.G.,
First Resident-General, Federated Malay States, who
saw the need and fostered the means for medical research in Malaya.

Next page, page v, Acknowledgments:

This Jubilee Study from the Institute for Medical Research. Federation of Malaya, has been written by members of the staff and edited by an internal committee. The scope and arrangement of the work has been planned by this committee but individual authors are responsible for the sections which bear their initials.

The editorial committee acknowledges with pleasure the help received from many sources, within Malaya and elsewhere.

Further down the page, there is mention of Dr Sulaiman bin Mohd Attas, an early Malay doctor:

Medical colleagues in Malaya and elsewhere who have helped the committee with suggestions and criticism include Dr Bernard Day (Chapter IV), Mr W. E. Lancaster (Rabies and Surra Sections), Dr W. T. Quaife, Professor J. H. Strahan, Dr R. B. Wallace (Malaria Section), Dr W. Young (pre-war work on yaws at the College of Medicine, Singapore), Dr A. Viswalingam (Yaws Section), and Dr Suleiman bin Attas and Dr Jaswant Singh Sodhy (Blackwater Fever Section).







2 comments:

harold patrick said...

Amid its ambient nature, Medical lab technicians are paid high.One has to go required training before becoming a Lab Technician. Medical Laboratory Technician

harold patrick said...

Amid its ambient nature, Medical lab technicians are paid high.One has to do required training before becoming a Lab Technician. Medical Laboratory Technician