Dr Wong Zhi Hoong (Cyren)

Lecturer in Writing

Email: wong.zhihoong@monash.edu
Telephone No: +603-5514 5681
Fax No:+603-5514 6365
Room No: 2-6-42


PhD (Anthropology), Monash University, Malaysia

BA Hons (First Class Honours, Cultural Studies), Monash University, Malaysia
BA (Writing) Monash University, Malaysia


Although I had been a student of writing, literature and film studies for the greater part of my academic career, my passion for Nature and the protection of ecologically vulnerable flora and fauna; as well as my support for the recognition of Indigenous Communities tribal land rights prompted me to pursue my PhD in the field of ecological and environmental anthropology instead.

The research I conducted for my PhD - an ethnographic study of biodiversity conservation, environmentalism, and ecotourism as indigenous responses to land insecurity - eventually brought me to the heart of two Semai communities living in the Bukit Kinta Rainforest, where I would spend the better part of 16 months collecting data in the field.

As a dissertation that inherently explores the intersections between human ecology and the ecology of plants and animals inhabiting these spaces, I believe that my research strongly advocates for greater (and more meaningful) discourse between the Social and Biological Sciences.

I believe that such discourses are long overdue, particularly in the practical application of biodiversity conservation in the ancestral and tribal lands of forest-dwelling indigenous peoples and I am living that truth today in some of the projects and grants which I am in collaboration with colleagues from Monash University's School of Science (where I have conducted several guest lectures), as well as in my capacity as the Malaysian Country Coordinator for the Global Immersions Guarantee Program (GIG).

I am also presently one of the academic staff spearheading Monash University Malaysia's on-campus urban biodiversity projects, namely: the butterfly and pollinator garden, and am the principal curator of the Library and Learning Commons' educational exhibition.

Outside of University, I consider myself an avid educator and activist on matters pertaining to the protection of Nature and the environment, and to that end, have founded the community platform "Naturetalksback" which has been up and running for the past 10 years.

Teaching Areas/Interests

  1. Academic Literacies (AMU 1017)
  2. Writing Techniques (AMU 3857)
  3. Writing Experiments (AMU 3858)

Research Interests

  1. The importance of ethnozoological and ethnobotanical knowledge in ensuring the long-term sustainability of biodiversity conservation practices conducted on tribal land.
  2. The impact of field-based biodiversity projects focussing on human ecology in encouraging greater collaboration and inter-disciplinary participation among Monash Malaysia academic staff and students working on sustainability projects?


Wong, Z. H. (2018) "Synanthropy", Kapur-Zine. 

Conference Paper Presentation

Wong, Z. H. (2017) "Representations of Nature and Semai Agency", paper presented at the Second International Conference on Cordillera Studies

  1. Monash University Malaysia Learning and Teaching Research Grant (2018) 

    Title: Human Ecology and Biodiversity in Monash Malaysia: developing in-situ ecology and biodiversity projects in existing Tropical Environmental Biology units, as well as a NEW fully field-based unit on Human Ecology of Indigenous Communities.  
    Investigator: Dr. Sze Yek Huei (CI1) 
    Dr. Wong Zhi Hoong, Cyren (CI2)
  2. Sunway Sustainability Community Grant Scheme (SCGS) 2018 - Decarbonization Initiative

    Title: Monash-Sunway decarbonization initiative: microalgae farming and native tree planting

    Work Package 4 (WP4): Biodiveristy

    Investigator: Dr. Sze Yek Huei (CI1)
    Dr. Wong Zhi Hoong, Cyren (CI2)

Guest Speaker/Lecturer


  • School of Science, Monash University Malaysia - The Importance of Human Ecology in Conservation
  • University of the Philippines, Baguio Campus - Tracing the Actor-Networks of the Bukit Kinta Rainforest
  • St. Mary's High School, Sagada - An overview of Indigenous Peoples and their Struggles in Peninsular Malaysia

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