1 December 2019

Dear Prof. Ed,

The news of your passing shook me. It took a while to sink in that you are no longer here with us, and your stories will be dearly missed. I was praying and hoping that we will still have a chance to meet, but that will have to wait for now.

You have been a fixture in my early years of growing as a marine biologist, having read almost all of the papers you had authored on the giant clams. I felt like I knew you through your work, even before we met in person. And when the time came that we share the same conference space in 2009, I was too painfully shy to say hello and how I was ‘stalking’ your publications.

Few years passed, and in that time, I had worked hard to publish my research on the giant clams. At times, I wondered if anyone had read my works as it was such a niche topic. It wasn’t easy being the odd one out among my coral peers, but I pursued my curiosity first.

The next time we met was in 2014, where I spied at you from a distance. Again, we shared a common space in the marine lab, where you were guest to Prof. Chou. By some stroke of fate, you were sitting on a desk right next to mine. I remember feeling quite very nervous, and didn’t know what to say to you!

“Are you the one who’s been publishing on giant clams?” He looked at me, and pointed to my name on a paper that he had gotten hold of… I was starstruck – haha! In my head, ‘You read my works?!?’ Soon after, the conversation just flowed naturally, as if we have been friends for a while. We connected on our love for the giant clams.

Prof. Ed – There is no amount of ‘thank you’ that I can say to you for inspiring this young one here – for sharing your time, stories, wisdom. To dream big, and reach beyond the skies. You believed in me and the work I do is important and it needs a champion. I hoped that I have made you and the giant clams proud by shining a spotlight on them. 

May you continue swimming amongst the giant clams in the great oceans of Heaven.

Yours sincerely, Mei Lin (Giant Clam Girl)

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2016 visit to UP-MSI. Photo by Prof. Wong Sek Man.