Remembering Dr. Haris Begovic
It's such a strange feeling, when your friend with whom you had a dinner two weeks ago, suddenly leaves from this world.. Dr Haris Begovic was one of the best as a person and friend, and I always going to remember him.
|With Haris having lunch with colleagues|
I remember meeting Haris for the first time. It was at the meeting room in Rehab-Robotics, a company I worked at that time, back in 2015. Then it was Rehab Week in Valencia, Spain in June later that year, a scientific conference, where he came as a speaker. I was responsible to organize a workshop, where he would speak. We stayed at Airbnb apartment, and he was working quite diligently to prepare for the presentation. So many research papers, graphs and references. Everything that he has got to say would always have a scientific research to confirm. He had this outstanding ability to synthesize and produce new scientific thought. He was a true scientist, an experienced practitioner that understands well problems of patients and a creator, an artist.
When he joined Rehab-Robotics as Clinical Advisor, I was thrilled. He was a great colleague and always would find time to give feedback and help when needed. I like to come to his office with whatever question and say "Dr. Begovic?" and he would always raise his head and smile. Whatever question I had, he always reply and explain and send a research paper for further reading.
On the weekend, he would go regularly to the library at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to get access to the research papers about EMG and robotics. Haris was working on the proposal for design of a new version of Hand of Hope, which "actually would be a useful machine" in his words day and night. Haris put a lot of passion and dedication in everything he did and towards people he worked with.
I loved to debate with Haris and learn from him. A brilliant mind, he is one of the smartest and most intelligent people I have ever met. We discussed a lot about neural plasticity, which he was more skeptical, but I embraced passionately. So he loved to tease me "neuroplastic Sergii", and we both had a good laugh about it.
Even after I left the company, we still kept close connection and communicated on regular basis. I would bring him around Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok and introduce local cuisine. Then, on another occasion, I brought him to my favourite Turkish restaurant called "Our Restaurant". Spending most of his adult life in Turkey, he said authoritatively it's the best Turkish restaurant in the town. It became our regular go-to place for dinners. Then we would have a dessert at some local dessert shops and we both had a thing for mango.
And I just feel this sadness mixed with disbelief - how come that he left so suddenly. As I just spoke with him for the last time, he sent me a research paper via whatsapp while we had dinner. The paper was recently published in well respected journal on scoliosis and I promised him to read it and give a detailed "peer review" (we both laughed at it). I introduced him Broadway Cinematique and an old police station, as he recently moved to the area and we became neighbours, and we planned to go for a movie there next time.
He could always see things at its core and understand people well. Most importantly, he was remarkably good as a person. In documentaries and interviews with people who had been through war, they often say that the war experience made them realize how fragile the life is. We may think we are strong and healthy, but in reality we are very fragile and vulnerable.
I always gonna remember you, Dr. Haris Begovic.