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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why "Rumphius"?

“Rumphius” is actually just a name. But it is a name that is significant to me on several levels ...

Before I had children, I had dreams and ambitions like any starry-eyed youth. One of my dreams is to travel and see the world. Another is to live somewhere I can have the sea as my front porch and the mountains as my backyard.

Sounds familiar? Well, this happened to be part of the plot of a story out of a picture book as well. It is titled Miss Rumphius. For this reason, I could relate very well with the character in the story when I first read it to my boys. (You'll have to read the book to understand.)

Miss Rumphius however was also challenged to make the world a more beautiful place. She eventually chanced on a way to achieve this by throwing lupine seeds everywhere. That resulted in beautiful "wild" lupines growing at every street corner the next spring.

After reading this book, I was intrigued by this idea. The more I thought about it, the more I feel I want to do the same. I absolutely love flowers and lupines at every street corner sounded like my kind of paradise! I thus made another connection with Miss Rumphius.

As I ponder about it, God has shown me that I could make the world a more beautiful place in many other ways! (I will leave you to figure this out for yourself.) One of the most obvious way for me now is to work towards bringing up "beautiful" children ;-) , who in turn can make the world more beautiful in their own God-given ways! The effect could be exponential!

On another level, I was drawn to the name "Rumphius" because of another silly dream of mine.

I have always admired early naturalists; how they single-mindedly hike through unknown terrains to journal the wildlife they observe. I later got to know about the works of one such great man by the name of Georg Eberhard Rumphius. He authored a book called Herbarium Amboinensis. It became a reference catalogue of plants of the Indonesian Islands. His work was later used by Carl Linnaeus for the development of the now well-known binomial system of classification in the botanical field.

It is my dream to do what Georg Rumphius did. I know such work will not be needed in this time and age, but I still hope to relive those exciting moments of discovery and learning based on personal observations.

So in these ways, the name “Rumphius” very simply encapsulates some of my ideals.

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