Today is the first day of the 7th Asia-Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSRH) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). No, I’m not attending. The registration fee is way out of my budget. I took part in the first conference as a rapporteur/ documenter. I wouldn’t mind participating in a similar manner but these past years I’ve been out of the radar of my colleagues in the reproductive health sector here in the Philippines.
The last time I took part in this conference was in 2007, when I presented a paper on my experience of developing a module to teach reproductive and sexual health to young people with low literacy levels in Cambodia. I remember that trip because it seemed to be a series of disasters and mishaps. My flight to Hyderabad, India was delayed for hours and when I arrived there, there was a huge mix-ups of hotel bookings that affected a lot of delegates. And within the 4-day conference, I got switched rooms twice. When a friend and I decided to stay an extra day after the conference our arrangement with a friend from the city fell through (he just didn’t show up) and we were left to our own devices. And on the flight back to Phnom Penh my luggage got left behind in Kuala Lumpur. Yes, it was not the best times for Malaysia Air and the organizers of that conference.
A good old friend is attending the conference, though, and she asked if we could catch up in one of the days of the conference. I told her to let me know her free days (and time) and I’ll just show up at her hotel.
I have a strange relationship with conferences. Since I started work in the field of HIV/AIDS, there have been conferences that many of my colleagues have attended many times. Like them, I have submitted abstracts that got accepted for poster presentations but I have never received any scholarship to attend the conference. And I also had the added good fortune of being invisible to our boss at the time, because in his wisdom he has never endorsed me to other sources of funding the way he did other members of the management team.
The closest I got to attending an AIDS conference was last year. I wrote an abstract for ILO and it got accepted. I also applied for a partial scholarship. Months later the secretariat emailed me to say that my scholarship application was granted but on the same day it was rescinded, citing clerical error. They instead informed I was on the wait-list. I didn’t expect anything anymore and true enough, I didn’t hear anything anymore from those Thai organizers.
Posted on January 21, 2014, in events, journal and tagged Bangkok, conference, HIV/AIDS, Hyderabad, India, Malaysia Air, Manila, reproductive health, Thailand. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.