Buang Bin Mohamed Ali or better known as Buang Wallace was actually the name used by a Malay who accompanied and assisted Alfred Russel Wallace in his travels and explorations from the year 1855 to 1862. Initially recruited as a cook, Buang Wallace was later responsible for independently collecting many significant specimens that are credited to Wallace. He then also made many observations of the birds and the people which were communicated to Wallace.
It has been estimated that Buang Wallace collected and prepared nearly 5,150 bird specimens. Actually, not very much is known about Buang Wallace. It is indeed a mystery how such a brilliant mind like Buang Wallace can have remained unknown from the western world and also more particularly the scientific world for all of these long years.
Buang Wallace was the youngest child out of five siblings and he was born in the year 1840. While growing up, he has learned a lot about traditional medicine from his brother named Tad or Panglima Putad. It is actually a skill learned from their father Amit. When a battle ensued, Commander Putad treated the wounded with Buang Wallace as an aide. Their eldest brother, Osman or Panglima Seman was a confidant of James Brooke and also acted as an executioner by stabbing from the upper back on the right side to penetrate the offender’s heart organ with a dagger.
If there are scientists that have the ability to identify Ali’s identification mark and distinguish it from Wallace’s identification mark, it will make Buang Wallace the first Malay scientist in the world. Among the specimens obtained by him but placed under the name of his employer were actually the Borneo sun bear and several species of insects.