Entries in Conference (46)


The Final Stretch

The MSH Annual Scientific Meeting was due to start in 5 days time and we were heading for the final stretch now. There were still last minute issues mainly on the technical side. It looks like I would be doing some tech stuff during the meeting to make sure everything would run smoothly.

To add to that, I would still be on call today. Praying that it would not be too busy as it would carry over for the next few days. I can see myself running around doing chores in the next few days. Hopefully things would be quiet by then.

Emails and letters had been the things which kept me occupied in the last few weeks and days. Once all were done and the meeting over, hopefully I could get some time off. Do a bit of photography perhaps ...

Praying that the meeting would be a successful one.

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The Meeting

ASH stood for American Society of Haematology. Every winter, they have a big meeting - the last one I attended was in Atlanta in 2012. But travelling across the globe was not really my cup of tea especially with the thought of entering the United States. I was lucky to be flown in Business Class on my last visit. I couldn’t see myself travelling otherwise. The journey would be unbearable.

Luckily, every year, ASH came to Asia-Pacific. The update meeting was held in Brisbane 2 years back and this time around it was in Bali - hence my trip. They also held a trainee workshop from the day before the meeting started. The meeting proper lasted for a day and a half.

The talks were generally great but the question and answer session were rather long with many long-winded questions from the audience. I was well into my second day as I wrote this entry and was planning our travel to the airport for the flight back. We decided to take a cab straight to the airport but the worry would be that we would get jibbed again by the cabby.

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Grand Hyatt Bali

Sprawling landscape with somewhat disappointing beach. That more or less summed up the place. Definitely a place to just chill with the nice room. Anita would've loved it if she could come along.

The whole complex was big. We could easily get lost walking around the compound. The signage was also not the best.

For the first evening, we decided to stay in and have dinner at the hotel rather than take a taxi out of town. Nusa Dua is a rather protected cocoon. The are more than 10 hotels with tight security coming in and out of the area. I was sure it was for the safety of tourists. Traveling into town from the hotel was rather problematic logistically. They even have their own retail area within Nusa Dua.

The dinner was at a Balinese restaurant at the hotel. They even had a cultural show to boot. Food was nothing special however.

Breakfast was a similarly standard fair. They had a couple of outlets doing breakfast and we tried both. The one by the pool - called Salsa Verde - was better.

Since the program was tight, I didn't really get to enjoy the facilities. But that didn't stop me from getting a 10 hour sleep the evening I arrived. It had been a while since I had such lay in. More information are at the hotel website.

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Settling into Bali

It wasn't the most pleasant of flights. I was sure that if Anita came along, she would not have enjoyed it. It was bumpy and since it was a connecting flight with a group from Bangladesh, the flight was full.

There were no delays however although I arrived too late to check-in at KL Sentral. Took the ERL and by the time everything was cleared, the gate for the flight was already about to open.

We arrived in Bali 3 hours later. The queue for immigration was long but the authority there organiser it very well. By the time I picked my bags, our transport to the hotel had been waiting for us.

It took about half an hour to transfer to the hotel and after checking in, it was time for the beach ...

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MSH 2017

I only managed to stay a single night of the MSH Meeting this time as I wanted to have some downtime after the trip. For the first time, the meeting was held in JB and it was a resounding success. Most of the participant stayed at the same venue making logistics straightforward.

The venue presented itself with some unique issues. Trying to fit into a medical conference configuration and demand was not straight forward and we ended up having the poster in the main hall while the Pharmaceutical booths hidden away in small little rooms, away from the normal flow of traffic. I ended up only visiting half of them since it was rather difficult to navigate around to visit them all.

There was also a nice auditorium where some of the satellite talks were held. Again, it was not design for free flow of participant, with the delegates ending up entering through next to the main stage - the only entrance - while the speakers were at the rostrum. Not exactly ideal. Then came the temperature control of the venue. It was freezing in there ....

After the meeting, I was told that I would be the organiser for next year's chapter. I planned to hold it somewhere near work and the hotel next door to SJMC looked like an enticing prospect.

Timing would be tight thought with Ramadhan starting mid May. Some of the speakers were reluctant to attend during Easter and the local speakers has local University exams to supervise during the period. I have decided to cut it fine and hold it on the second weekend of May next year, just before Ramadhan.

Best to sort out the venue soon ...

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