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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hamburg - Day 3

At the time of blogging, Germany is celebrating their quarter-final win over Greece in the UEFA European Football Championship 2012. The Germans are very passionate with football and this is very much evident even before kickoff starts at 8:45 p.m. local time. I was in the city centre this afternoon and the anticipation of the match was very apparent. The sound of celebration can be heard from my hotel room even as I type this very sentence.

It is quite easy to be swayed from the actual reason for this posting. I did not originally intend to start off writing about football but the euphoria outside makes for an interesting observation. In any case, today is the second day of the conference at the University of Hamburg. In total, there were 14 papers presented today with three papers presented by Malaysians.

Ustazah Nor Safina Zainal from JAKIM presented her paper entitled "The Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) in Relation to Bioethical Discourse". Professor Dato' Dr Ismail Ibrahim from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia presented his paper "Development of Fatwas in Malaysia with Special Attention to Bioethical Issues". Dato' Dr Zaki Morad Mohammad Zaher from Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital spoke on "The Novel Legislation on Transplantation in Malaysia: How It Emerged and What Problems Arose during the Process".

The second day ended with a forum with the theme "The Future of Islamic Bioethics", and one of the five panellists was Professor Datin Dr. Azizan Baharuddin, the Deputy Director-General of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia.

It was also an interesting day for me on a personal note. I had the opportunity to meet up with my former classmate between 1983 and 1985. After 27 years, we finally met in person and of all places, in Hamburg. Siti and I were classmates in Sekolah Rendah Seri Tebrau (now Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Tebrau) in Johor Bahru. In 1985, I moved to Kulim following my father who got transferred there. Siti and her family meanwhile migrated to Hamburg in 1986. The picture below was our school photo taken in 1985. Siti is seated at the far right at the front row while I am standing at the far right at the back row.

Fortunately, because of Facebook, we were kept in touch again a few years back. But as fate would have it,  I am here in Hamburg to attend a conference, and Siti was around for a mini reunion of sorts. Although we met briefly, it certainly brought a nice feeling since the childhood friendship was able to be renewed and refreshed. The photo below shows our brief meeting in Hamburg earlier this afternoon.

I suppose what I blogged some years back do have a ring of truth. Life is like spaghetti. Imagine each of us is a strand of spaghetti in a bowl or a plate. And that strand of spaghetti is the path that we take in our respective lives. There are times when our paths cross one another at different points. There are times when our paths are separated. And yet, there are times when the strands (paths) are so near but yet are apart. I guess that is the beauty of life. No matter how far we go following our own paths, there will be times when our paths will cross again. And from my experience and observation, true friendship stay strong regardless of the length of time that has come to pass.

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