“It showers gold in other people’s villages, but I prefer to choose my own home.”
When a hobby turns into a profession, miracles are created. It can be said that a miracle was created from an academician’s love in his field of knowledge. He is Prof Dr Ir Andi Mappatoba Sila MSc, renown for his contributions in the field of Honeybee in Indonesia. His love for science earned him a nickname ‘Bee Professor’.
Mappatoba was born on December 31st 1944 in Sakkoli, Wajo Regency. It was also in his hometown that little Mappatoba finished his elementary school. Because of his father’s profession as a member of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI), it was necessary for their family to eventually migrate. He then completed junior high school (SMP) in Bone Regency, and continued his education at the Senior High School of Agriculture (SPMA) Makassar State.
As an agricultural school graduate, Mappatoba continued his education by enrolling in the Forestry Department at the Faculty of Agriculture at Universitas Hasanuddin (Unhas). During that time, the Faculty of Agriculture was affiliated with the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), which opened the Forestry Department. Therefore, he then continued his education at IPB which he finished in 1973 after becoming a bachelor.
Not stopping with a Bachelor’s Degree, “Professor Bee” took a master’s degree in the country of Rice Barns, more specifically University of the Philippines Los Baños. It didn’t take long, 22 months later he had a Master of Science degree. He also took his PhD at the same university.
Returning from his studies, he constantly goes to the field for research. Not just because of his responsibilities as an academic, but research plays a huge role in his passion. According to his assistant, Dr Ir Budiaman MP, Mappatoba’s personal life has merged with his hobby.
“Even if we go to the field for 24 hours, I would accompany him. His world is in the field, interacting with plants, and honeybees. The point is that is in love with it, he loves the environment, nature, and is very serious about honey from bees,” Budiaman explained when he was interviewed at the Forest Insect and Protection Laboratory, Faculty of Forestry Unhas, Thursday (6/4).
The results of Mappatoba’s research, which he does diligently and consistently in the world of beekeeping, are then used to develop communities in various areas. Starting from South Sulawesi, Kalimantan, to even Papua. Furthermore, seeing its benefits, he latter developed honey from bees with his team to the processing industry and product diversification.
Mappatoba also established the business entity named PT Masari Cipta Perkasa. In 1999, to devote his name, the team agreed to change the name of the business to PT Bee Toba Makassar.
Without leaving it at that, Professor Bee then developed a bee therapy treatment (Apiterapi) in Unhas. Unexpectedly, patients boomed up to 400 people per day, therefore the Apiterapi clinic was created. Starting from this, one of Mappatoba’s wishes was finally realised. In 2005, he succeeded in establishing a hospital named Apiterapi 165 Hospital. But regrettably, Apiterapi 165 Hospital did not improve because people were still unfamiliar with this treatment. In contrast, the Apiterapi clinic, which he founded earlier, has grown rapidly throughout Indonesia. The clinic has actually created 35 branches and is still operating at present.
Although his business development could be said to be highly successful, Professor Bee, who is known for his simplicity, did not want to get too involved in the business life. After carrying the idea, he mostly leaves it to his assistants and team to develop, while he focuses on his hobby which is his research. Because of his research and knowledge, Mappatoba is often invited as an international speaker, from Saudi Arabia, South Korea, even becoming a guest professor in Malaysia.
After his acceptance speech as a permanent professor at the Faculty of Forestry in 2007, two years later Mappatoba was invited as a guest professor and regular speaker at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). With his knowledge of honeybees, he spoke in almost every corner of Malaysia, from Johor, Shah Alam, Perak, Kedah, and many other areas.
Travelling hundreds of kilometres around the world to share his knowledge, Prof. Mappatoba is always accompanied by Andi Maryam Munu, his wife. Maryam is witness to how Professor Bee’s knowledge is highly sought after around the world.
“Until he was actually offered to live there (Malaysia), he was promised complete facilities but he said, it showers gold in people’s villages, but I prefer my own village’,” said Maryam, Friday (4/7).
Mappatoba true love for bees and a huge desire to progress his hometown in Wajo Regency, Mappatoba built a giant net to keep bees there. His work, made out of love, eventually earned him a certificate of appreciation from the Indonesian World Records Museum (MURI) for the record of the Initiator of Making Kelambu (Largest Honey Bee Keeping Place) in 2012.
As he grew older, his physical condition cannot bear the burden of different complications of his illness. Even so, he continued his activities by sharing his knowledge in Malaysia. But unfortunately, after two months of returning from Malaysia accompanied by his wife, he passed away on April 11, 2017. Although Professor Bee is now deceased, his services and dedication to the country will always be remembered.
Original writer: Yaslinda Utari Kasim
Translator: Nabila Rifqah Awaluddin & Muhammad Alif M.