Monday, November 24, 2008


It was indeed a hectic weekend. About56 interventionist ( including 12 from Thailand ) gathered in Park Royal Hotel, Penang, to discuss management of CAD using PCI ( percutaneous coronary intervention ) and CABG ( there was a lively debate on the preferred method in managing 3V-CAD and LMS-CAD ). The Malaysian interventionist came from the length and breathe of Malaysia. From East Malaysia, from Johore and also from Penang and Kedah. We had two overseas faculty ( Dr Wasan from Thailand and Dr Mathew Samuels from Mumbai ) to help with the discussion and to give some of the lectures. As this was very much a low budget meeting, we did not feel the need to spend alot of money, bringing in a high powered field of foreign faculty.
From the feedback that I had from the participants, and the faculty, we all had a very eductional time and also a goodtime to renew aquaintances and meet new interventionist. There were about 20 cases of PCI shown and discussed, and about 4 symposia.
I must say that for me, the debate between Dr Hafiz Law ( cardiac surgeon ) and Dr Lam KH, the interventionist, was most educational. Using the American town hall debate model ( Obama / McCain, Anwar I / Shabbery, Lim Guan Eng / Koh Tsu Koon ), they argued their points for and against CABG and PCI, in the management of 3V-CAD and LMS - CAD. This formatt proved to be a good formatt to bring out teaching points.
On sunday evening, at the same venue, and using the same budget, we also organised a cardiology symposium for the Penang GPs. The turn-out was about 80 docs ( I was told that that was a good turnout for a sunday afternoon medical CME at Batu Ferringhi ). The topics again were good and appropriate. The GPs enjoyed the afternoon session too.
Park Royal too, proved to be a good choice for a meeting like this. The rooms and facilities were adequate. The hotel staff were also very efficient to make sure that the meeting went smoothly.
I must say that my biggest upset, with the weekend, was my choice to make Air Asia, our preferred carrier. I wanted to send a message that we are cost conscious and would save as much as we can. The Air Asia flight was fine. BUT, I could not understand why the Malaysian airport authority, would make LCCT look like a bus-station. It was chaotic and the mass of people were moving around, with poor signages ( so what's new ) and cris-crossing, with very poor channels for people movement. It was like "Pudu Road bus terminal ". It was as if none has thought out clearly about how the people should move about from one station to the next. Also, I cannot understand why the Government will put LCCT near the end of the world ( it is I think 30KM from Subang ) and yet will not organise a comprehensive taxi service. We are asked to go to LCCT by our regular town taxi, and when we return, to Q-up and buy a ticket for the Airport Taxi to take us home. What is wrong in asking the KLIA taxi service ( that is next door , or far next door ) to also cover LCCT. Allowing us to buy a return ticket is so much more convenient, and cheaper. It cost me RM 94 return to go to KLIA and back, and RM 112.50, to go to LCCT and back from Subang. Yes, there is a bus service from Subang parade to LCCT. BUT it is irregular and also takes about 2 hours to get there, and no service back. The whole experience with LCCT will leave me to conclude that this is a low cost carrier terminal, so we will treat you like dirt and you should just accept it and not complain. We should have to begin to treat people who wish to stretch their dollar with some respect and also cater for their reasonable needs ( often without additional cost ).
Anyway, back to ICF 2008. Of course the Thais were very happy with the meeting and have invited us to go across to Thailand and have the next ICF there. Well, it is worth a thought, funds permitting.
For those of us organising CMEs, we are very concern about the prevailing economic down-turn, and how it will impact on our CME programs. On the one-hand, we have noticed that CMEs are often over-subscribed since August 2008, especially in the Klang Valley. On the other hand, we are concerned that the sponsors may cut back on CME budget, and this may threaten CME programs.
ICF 2008 once again proved to be a resounding success.
We do live in challenging times.

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