It has been a rather busy few weeks.
I was an external examiner for the National University of Singapore during the last week of October. The first part of the examination was officially completed on Friday afternoon, October 31, 2014. A few hours later, I was ferried to Johor Bahru, Malaysia to attend a dinner with my Malaysian dental colleagues as I was giving a talk at the Malaysian Dental Association Southern Zone conference the first thing the next morning on November 1.
On Sunday, November 2 – I completed my first 25km run at the reservoir. Then the whole day of Monday, November 3, I continued with clinical and oral examination at the National University of Singapore.
If that was interesting, then let me tell you that I had to catch a flight to New Orleans, USA at 6am on the morning of November 4 for the American College of Prosthodontists meeting. Usually, I would only pick and choose the days that I was interested in attending in order to optimize my time as I don’t like to idle around in meetings. I did the same this time but the items that were of interest to me happened to be scheduled on the first and the last day of the meeting in New Orleans!! Alpha and Omega.
I have no complaints as this time I travelled with my wife and Prof. Edmond Pow of the University of Hong Kong. I have known Edmond since 1987 as he was two years my junior at the University of Hong Kong dental school. He stayed on for his specialty training and did really well in his career. Edmond has been the Graduate Prosthodontics director at the University of Hong Kong dental school for years. We share similar passions in teaching, clinical work, good food and good jokes. In New Orleans, we had alligator meat, beignets, tons of fruits, long chats and numerous handshakes with colleagues in various American and Canadian institutions.
After New Orleans, Edmond and I crossed paths again in the same month … but this time in Taipei, Taiwan! It was a total coincidence that he and I were both speaking about implant dentistry, one after the other, in Taipei at the Asian Academy of Prosthodontics on the weekend of November 22, 2014.
We also managed to try out some interesting local food at the night market. I had been to Taiwan for a few times previously for professional conferences but I never managed to venture out of the meetings and this is the very FIRST time that I actually had the opportunity to see the famous Taipei night markets! Now, as speaker, I had a choice between the meeting gala dinner versus the night market that night… apparently, I chose the adventurous option this time!
My family was really impressed by the spread of food, from local Taiwanese style to Hong Kong style to sizzling beef steaks!! Furthermore, Taipei probably has one of the best selection of fruits around.
Historically, Taiwan and China did not see things eye to eye due to ideology differences. For years, the people of the two countries were not even allowed to visit or talk with one another other. Things only changed at the end of the last century.
I was talking with a Professor Pan from Peking University (yes, I know it is ‘Beijing’ but ‘Peking University’ was the name printed on her business card) and she was telling me that travelling between mainland China and Taiwan is no longer a political problem. How things change over time!
When we were leaving Taipei, I notice that some figurines were being sold. It was a miniature version of the late chairmen of the Taiwanese party and ‘red’ China… Wait a minute, people in general stopped calling China ‘red’ now…