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Friday, June 22, 2012

Hamburg - Day 2

The long days of summer has been a distant memory for me, until I experience it again here in Hamburg. It brings about a familiar feeling when the day is much longer than the night. It can be disconcerting if one is experiencing jet lag, but fortunately for me the jet lag has been mild.

My second day in Hamburg is basically spent at the conference held at the University of Hamburg's Guest House. The conference began with the welcoming addresses by the convenors and sponsors of the conference. What fascinates me is the simplicity of the way the conference is run. Minimal formalities, no elaborate ceremonies, no masters of ceremony. Everything was straight forward, short and simple. Within less than half an hour, all the welcoming addresses were done and over with. This is a far cry from the protocol-laden opening ceremonies in Malaysia. While some may disagree with me, I think we can do away with much of the unnecessary aspects of officiating a conference, especially if the conference is academic in nature. If the conference is academic, let's just keep things academic. At least, that is my two-cent worth.

There were seven papers presented today. The only Malaysian speaker today was Dr Muhammed Anis Abdul Wahab of the National Transplant Resource Centre (NTRC). The other speakers were from the United States of America, Oman, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Germany. There were very lively and interesting discussions during the conference focusing on many bioethical and medicoethical issues revolving around the concept of brain death, organ procurement, end of life care, surrogacy and social insurance systems in healthcare. 

On a personal note, I find the discussions stimulating. The nature of the conference, small and semi-formal, contributed towards the lively discussions. Almost everyone was able to comment and ask questions. The only constraint was perhaps the limited time available.

After the proceedings of the first day ended, all the conference guests were taken for a cruise on Lake Alster, which is an artificial lake within the city of Hamburg. The cruise was about two hours, and the view was spectacular. It was kind of a relaxing end for the first day of the conference. (Picture below shows Dr Anis and I on board the cruise).

Two days to go before the conference ends on Saturday. Looking forward to another two days of intellectual stimulation.

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