Dear ACS Malaysia Chapter members,
2020 has been the most challenging year for most of us. We thought that the emergence of the new virus is just another episode of the animal-to-human viral transmissions, spread to a group of people in only several countries, and will become endemic as fast as it emerged. We were wrong! After just a few weeks of the first reported case, COVID-19 quickly spread to more and more countries, creating panic in many of us. Governments had to shut borders, crippling the tourism industry, while lockdowns imposed worldwide hit the economy hard. 2020 has become a year of uncertainty, a year that everyone wants to forget, a year that changes the way we do things, making its mark as among the worst years in our living history, particularly among the people of my generation.
2020 is also the year I took over as the Chair of this vibrant Chapter. Our past Chairs Dr. Lee Hooi Ling, Dr. Mohd Bakri and Dr. Lim Jit Kang, have led this Chapter to what it is today. Since our inception, we have successfully organized many events, from outreach programs at science fairs, competitions for students, mentoring of school students in science and research, professional development programs and networking events for our members. Probably the biggest event we had so far was the Global Innovation Imperatives, providing a platform for dialogues and actions on contaminants of emerging concern in Malaysia.
We actually had planned many activities and events for the whole year. When the pandemic hit, all had to be put on hold, without knowing when we would be able to start again. Our AGM originally planned for March, had to be postponed, as the country went into lockdown. It was only in July that the restrictions eased, and we managed to hold the first ever hybrid physical and virtual AGM. It went very well, and Dr. Lee stepped down to pass on the baton to me.
Looking back, 2020 has actually made us realize things that we never knew possible before, and made us appreciate the physical connection with the people around us more. The pause gave us time to plan our future direction, and how we are going to adapt to the new normal. With the time left this year, as the restrictions eased, we immediately revive the plans we had before. Our Chemistry Festival was the first one to launch, with the activities traditionally held at science fairs or schools, were now moved online. It was a bit of a shock for our members, with a steep learning curve. But without a doubt, they managed to pull it off! Now our SEAGIC team is busy preparing for their event in December, which will be another online event. I am confident that this will be another success. Despite the challenges, I am seeing our members’ determination in making sure that the Chapter continues making its mark, as one of the most active and most vibrant scientific societies in Malaysia.
I hope everything will return to normal in 2021, albeit a new normal. Let’s start planning our activities and events from now. Share with us your ideas. We will definitely bring back Project SEED, continue with our SEAGIC with a new host, and of course our flagship Chemistry Festivals. We are also thinking of an inaugural Malaysia Chapter Research Symposium. With this clear direction, and the strong support from all of you, let’s propel the Chapter to greater heights.
Last but not least, I would like to wish a warm welcome to all our new members. Welcome to the ACS Malaysia Chapter family!
“Chemistry for the Society”
Dr. Mohd Firdaus Abdul Wahab
American Chemical Society Malaysia International Chemical Science Chapter