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The Road Less Travelled - Interview with Mr Daniel Lim

Written by: Charlize Ling (22S77) and Ng Chen Fong (22S63)

Photos by: Mr Daniel Lim

Mr Daniel Lim holding a praying mantis during a lab practical

When one mentions insects, it usually conjures up images of bothersome pests and the inconveniences they cause. However, one Hwa Chong alumni has taken special interest in these creatures, choosing to embark on a road less travelled. This brave individual is Mr Daniel Lim (16S7G), who is currently pursuing a Physical Natural Sciences (Biology) undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge.

While speaking to us from the UK over Zoom, he described his JC experience as ‘fulfilling’ and that the opportunities presented to him helped him to get to where he is today. Being a part of the International Biology Olympiad team is one such opportunity that he credited, which served as the catalyst that sparked his passion towards the insect kingdom. He also expressed his gratitude to his Biology teachers, explaining that Mrs Foo-Lam Wen Keat, Director/Studies (College), would let him miss certain Biology lectures to train for the competition. However, the most significant contribution his teachers made to his journey was in inviting multiple esteemed professors to speak to the team. One of them shared about the work with insects and arthropods, piquing his interest and inspired him to pursue entomology.

Mr Daniel Lim at Kew Gardens in London

Currently, Mr Daniel Lim is specialising in the 3rd year of his undergraduate course. Although his course provided him with a myriad of opportunities to study insects in-depth, Covid-19 has certainly hindered many potential research work opportunities. “I could only do insect sorting, which was a good way of training that taught me to classify insects quickly, but it does pain me to have missed out on potential fieldwork opportunities”, he said. “This summer (in 2022), I wish to get to go out more in the field and do what I like to do, which is collecting insects”.

Other than conducting research, Mr Daniel Lim has also participated in a plethora of internships to further his strong passion for entomology. One of the internship projects he is most proud of would be the one he took up in 2022. He needed to research on and examine various threatened species of insects to expand on the current “Red List”, which compiles the different endangered insect species. Despite it being an arduous and taxing process, Mr Daniel Lim thinks it is “important to raise awareness for why this research matters”.

Mr Daniel Lim’s decision to pursue entomology may be an unconventional one, but he certainly has not regretted it. “I think it's very important to be interested in what you want to do, and it drives you forward, no matter how lost you feel, you always have something to fall back on”, he shared. Mr Daniel Lim’s fierce passion and determination to pursue what he is interested in is truly inspiring. In the words of Mr Daniel Lim himself, “There are difficulties but ultimately I chose to take the path that excites me the most, and that has served me well”.

Cataloguing and sorting butterfly specimens during his internship at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Due to COVID-19, his internship was disrupted and he was allowed to bring some specimens and a microscope home to continue his work.

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