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Volume 02 Issue 13

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

We had a fairly good turnout this week, but I know we can do better. Our numbers were bolstered by the presence of 3 visiting Rotarians – Rtn Osi Staubli from the Rotary Club of Baden, Switzerland, PP Joseph Kwan of RC Kowloon Golden Mile and this year’s District Preserve Planet Earth Chairman, PP Edward Lee of RC Tolo Harbour. PP Edward also brought with him a guest – Mr Tommy Tam. All were welcomed warmly and I have to say, they chose a very good week to attend as our guest speaker this week, Dr Fiona Brooks, gave us a fascinating talk on the Controlled Breeding of Dolphins – or, as she more casually announced to Club Sec Chris, “Sex and Dolphins”.

President Ramesh (not so colourfully attired this week) welcomed back those members who were unable to attend last week – IPP Bill (glad to have you safely back with us!), PE David, PDG Joseph, PP Robert, Rtn Susie, Rtn Dan, PP Gary and PP Patrick.

Sgt at Arms Frank announced that this week’s contributions to “The Box” totalled HK$560 because he was unable to find any good cause to fine anyone this week. (Good thing his eagle eyes did not spot that I forgot to wear my Rotary pin! Shhh!!!!)

Our birthday lad this week – PP Gilbert – was congratulated by our President and serenaded by members most tunefully …. well, at least it was not the ear-bashing that some have endured! We’re getting there folks and we have lots of members to practice on next month.

President Ramesh congratulates PP Gilbert on his birthday

President Ramesh then asked PDG Joseph to address members on the RYLA Training Camp in February next year, for which our club is one of the hosts. Full details follow under Club News.

PDG Joseph introduces RYLA to members

There is plenty of news to report this week, so read on …

Yours in Rotary,
Nicole Burt


SPEAKERS THIS MONTH

Last Week’s Speaker (21st September) was Dr Fiona Brook from Ocean Park, who discussed “The Controlled Breeding of Dolphins”. VP Nic introduced Dr Brook who is a leading specialist in veterinary ultrasound and has been working with the dolphins at Ocean Park for more than 10 years. Her interest in this subject began in 1989 and now involves many species, from small animals such as cats, dogs and rabbits (I’m not sure rabbits really need help!), to orcas (a.k.a killer whales) and giant pandas.

President Ramesh presents a club banner to Dr Fiona Brooks

Fiona showed some wonderful slides to illustrate her presentation and started off with answering the question “why do we interfere?” Inbreeding – previously unavoidable in small captive groups of animals – leads to population depression, genetic damage and defects. Dolphins were first captured in the late 1800’s and many have been taken from the wild since then. Controlled breeding not only allows the preservation of the genetic diversity of a small group for a much longer time, and helps to maintain the population and prevent the loss of the founder genes, it also means that fewer dolphins need be taken from the wild – especially since about 85% of captive dolphins released into the wild, die very quickly thereafter.

Dolphins – Ada and her calf

Captive animals are not the only ones to suffer from inbreeding however. Many different species have been badly impacted by man, when their populations are cut off from each other. Examples of affected species which could be helped through artificial or assisted insemination and controlled breeding are: cheetahs; gorillas; the giant panda and – more recently – orang utans and the Sumatran rhinoceras. Dolphins of all types are one of the species which have been impacted and these are Fiona’s special interest.

The purchase of Ocean Park’s first ultrasound machine in 1989, enabled Fiona and her colleagues to be able to see the ovaries in dolphins and to monitor ovulation. With that accomplished, they were able to control breeding by timing natural matings and deciding which animals to place together, ultimately giving them a family tree which showed precisely the relationship of each dolphin to the others.

Dolphins – Gina and her calf

To continue to maintain diversity however, requires a wider gene pool and since dolphins are very social – in fact, they are the only other species apart from man, that have sex for fun and not just for breeding – moving individual members to another captive group for this purpose, was especially difficult and stressful on both the animal and its handler. This is where Assisted Insemination becomes essential. (PP Gilbert – you may wish to skip over the next part!)

AI involves collecting semen from a male dolphin under voluntary behaviour (apparently, it is not difficult to train the males to undergo this procedure!) then preparing the sample for storage and, if necessary, shipping the frozen sample to anywhere in the world it is needed. Ocean Park conducted the very first successful AI procedures last year, when they used fresh semen samples which were immediately injected through a fine catheter into the cervix of the ovulating female. They carried out the procedure in four females and then kept their fingers crossed. 39 – 44 days later, through the use of ultrasound scanning, they were delighted to find they had two of the first ever AI conceptions in the bottlenose dolphin. These pregnanies, which were routinely monitored using ultrasound (Fiona showed us some fascinating slides at this point), allowed the team to observe the development and measure the growth of the baby dolphins, providing yet more information about bottlenose dolphin reproduction.

Some 13 months later (earlier this year), the champagne corks popped when first Gina and then Ada successfully gave birth to two unique and healthy calves. This success was later emulated in the United States, when Sea World achieved the first ever AI conception in a killer whale who gave birth to a healthy calf last month.

The success of the project has greatly raised the profile and importance of controlled breeding of dolphins and all members of the team – researchers, vets and trainers alike – have travelled widely, attending international conferences and running workshops to inform, train and encourage other facilities to do the same.

PP Patrick thanked Dr Brook heartily for opening our eyes and enlarging our knowledge of the fascinating subject – and for those of you interested, VP Nic is currently trying to arrange a vocational visit to the facility in Ocean Park, so that we can see for ourselves the results of the program.

This Week’s Speaker (28th September) will be Mr Alfred Lau of the Town Planning Board, whose presentation is entitled “Hong Kong 2030”.


SPEAKERS NEXT MONTH

Friday 5th October: CLUB ASSEMBLY – ALL MEMBERS PLEASE ATTEND
Friday 12th October: Mr Klaus Heyman – Music and the Internet
Friday 19th October: A Director from “Hong Kong ADVENTURESHIP”


NEWS – NEWS – NEWS

DISTRICT NEWS

Update on Ana Margarida

PP Stella sent us the following progress report on Ana Margarida:

Thursday 20th September

I went to see Ana this afternoon. She is still staying at the Intensive Care Unit. The operation was done yesterday afternoon. The doctor said that she would wake up this morning but she woke up already last night at 11:00 and she asked for food. However, she was not allowed to eat for the time being. I was told that she would like french fries so I brought her some this afternoon. She
was only allowed to eat 3 pcs. The nurse said she might vomit if she ate more. I went down to Dr Leung’s private clinic to talk to him about Ana’s progress. He said that Ana recovers very fast in general but he was not happy about the saturation rate of her. She still looks blue. He expected the saturation to rise to 70 – 75%. However it stays at 62-65%. He said that white patches was obeserve in her chest. It may be the reason for it. Hopefully it will improve in the next few days. He will visit her again tonight and Ana may be transferred back to the Paediatric ward. The doctor said that he would like Ana to stay in HK for another 10 days or so after discharge from the Hospital for follow-up. She needs to stay at a better, cleaner environment so that she may not get the infection because she is very vulunerable to infection right now. The shelter of Missionary of Charity will not be a suitable place for her to stay after discharge from hospital. They have no air condition and very crowded with over 10 adults in a room. I wonder if you can help out in this aspect? Dr Leung will be going to Manila 1st October to attend an international meeting in Cardiology. I have asked him to look for possible doctors there to follow up Ana. President Ramesh, do you have a sister club in the Philippines? Can we approach them for this case? Ana and her mother have to go back to the Philippines after Ana recovers from her present stage.


Monday 24th September

You are all wonderful Rotarians. Not only do you give money, but also your time and concern for the poor, loving little girl Ana. Thank you Grace and Frank and your family to visit her again last Saturday. As I have told you earlier that the doctor was not happy about the Shunt Operation although Ana seems to recover quite well in general. The doctor visited her early this morning and through ultrasound, the patency of the shunt was not well detected. The doctor called me this morning and said that he would suggest another shunt operation as soon as possible as the one just put in seemed not working properly. He said that Ana’s colour is not good. As the ducting just put in is new, he would see if it could be cleared and plan to put another in. So another operation is now going on. It just started 3:00p.m. today (Monday). The doctor told me earlier that the successful rate for this Shunt Operation is >90% and that for the open heart surgery of Transposition of great vessels is only 70%. I pray that all would go smoothly and that the little girl would not suffer too much. I will keep you informed of Ana’s progress.

Yours in Rotary,
Stella


CLUB NEWS

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

PDG Joseph started off by telling us about the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) which is an intensive training program for community youth leaders. Young people aged from 17 – 30 chosen for their leadership potential, attend an all-expenses-paid program organised, run and sponsored by Rotary, to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice. Our club is a Host Club this year.

RYLA, adopted by RI in 1971, is one of the significant programs of Rotary service in which thousands of young people worldwide take part each year, often leading to the formation or strengthening of Rotaract and Interact clubs. It focusses on leadership and professional development, giving young adults an opportunity to listen and exchange ideas with other outstading community and student leaders.

The RYLA 2001-02 core curriculum includes the fundamentals of leadership; ethics of positive leadership; importance of communication skills in effective leadership; problem solving and conflict management; what Rotary is and what it does for the local community; building self-confidence and self-esteem; and the elements of community and global citizenship. It will consist of three stages.

Stage 1 – 15th December 2001: Fundamental Leadership Training.
This will consist of a seminar conducted in Cantonese, entitled “Leadership in the 21st Century – How Young People Can Nurture Leadership Potential in the New Century” which will introduce the aims and targets of the RYLA program.

Stage 2 – 22nd – 24th February 2002: RYLA Training Camp
Through various group activities and games conducted in English at the Hong Kong Adventure Corp, participants are required to build up responsibility, communication technique, the spirit of unity, leadership skills and self-development. Participants will then be required to apply all that they have gained in the RYLA camp and to complete some special tasks within three weeks, doing their best to achieve their pre-set goals.

Stage 3 – March -April 2002: Post-camp Follow-up Session
This will be a follow-up program allowing the trainers to evaluate with the participants, the outcome of their special tasks. All participants will gather again to discuss their experiences.

Only 110 places are available and PDG Joseph invited nominations for applicants. President Ramesh has, this week, e-mailed the application form to all members.


MEMBERS NEWS

President Ramesh attended the District Swimming Gala last weekend with his family:

Dear Fellow Club Members,

This was only the second time District Swimming Gala was taking place. This is one of the first Sports District event of Rotary year 2001-2002, the next one is the District Bowling Tournament which is to be held in October.

I am in favor of our club participating in most if not all District events as this is an occasion to get to know lots of Rotarians and their families and have fun at the same time. We still have time to participate in the District Bowling event for which we need to have minimum of four to make a team. I am willing to participate if I am able to make a team of four. Anyone interested please let me know so that I can make the necessary arrangements.

President Ramesh’s son Rajeev in proud position on the winner’s podium

I am glad that my son Rajeev participated in the 2nd District Swimming Gala event and am proud of him that he did not let our club down. He participated in two events and won medals in both the events:

1. 25 meters Freestyle (Boys) Ages 14-16 Silver Medal
2. 25 Meters Breast Stroke (Boys) Ages 14-16 Bronze Medal

President Ramesh’s son Rajeev in proud position on the winner’s podium

He had enrolled himself in one more event, 50 meters Breast Stroke Boys Age 11 -16, but was not able to take part as all the events were running late by one hour and he had to reach USRC for his Tennis Tournament.

Yours in Rotary
President Ramesh


THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

Sunday 23rd
63 B.C. – Caesar Augustus was born in Rome.
1780 – John Andre, a British spy, was captured with papers revealing that Benedict Arnold was going to surrender West Point, NY to the British.
1846 – Astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet Neptune.
1993 – Blacks were allowed a role in the South African government after a parliamentary vote.

Monday 24th
1869 – Thousands of businessmen were financially ruined after a panic on Wall Street. The panic was caused by an attempt to corner the gold market by Jay Gould and James Fisk.
1880 – Sarah Knauss was born. She was the world’s oldest person when she died at 119 years old on 31st December 1999.
1960 – The first nuclear powered aircraft carrier was launched. The USS Enterprise set out from Newport News, VA

Tuesday 25th
1513 – The Pacific Ocean was discovered by Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa when he crossed the Isthmus of Panama. He named the body of water the South Sea. He was truly just the first European to see the Pacific Ocean.
1690 – One of America’s earliest newspapers published its first and last edition. The “Publik Occurences Both Foreign and Domestik” was published at the London Coffee House in Boston, MA by Benjamin Harris.
1992 – In Orlando, FL a judge ruled in favor of 12-year-old Gregory Kingsley. He had sought a divorce from his biological parents.

Wednesday 26th
1774 – John Chapman was born. He was better known as Johnny Appleseed. He planted orchards, befriended wild animals, and was considered a great medicine man by Native Americans.
1984 – Britain and China initialed a draft agreement on the future of Hong Kong for when the Chinese took over ruling the former British Colony.
1991 – Four men and four women began their two-year stay inside the “Biosphere II.” The project was intended to develop technology for future space colonies.

Thursday 27th
1968 – The U.K.’s entry into the European Common Market was barred by France.
1989 – Two men went over the 176-foot-high Niagara Falls in a barrel. Jeffrey Petkovich and Peter Debernardi were the first to ever survive the Horshoe Falls.
1996 – The Taliban seized control of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and hanged the former president Najibullah.

Friday 28th
48 B.C. – Pompey the Great was murdered on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt.
551 B.C. – Teacher and philosopher Confucius was born. He dedicated most of his life to teaching, starting at the age of 22 when he opened his first school.
1066 – England was invaded by William the Conqueror who claimed the English throne.
1850 – The US Navy abolished flogging as a form of punishment.

Saturday 29th
1758 – England’s Admiral Horatio Nelson was born.
1829 – The first public appearance by London’s re-organized police force was met with jeers from political opponents. The force became known as Scotland Yard.
1978 – Pope John Paul I was found dead after only one month of serving as pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
1989 – Bruce Springsteen stopped in a small salon in Prescott, AZ and played a few songs with the band. He overheard a woman talking about financial problems concerning her medical bills. A week later she received a check for $100,000.


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

FRIDAY OCTOBER 5TH: Next Friday’s luncheon will be the occasion of our CLUB ASSEMBLY. This is an important one folks and all members who are in town should attend – especially those members who are the Club Directors.

Friday 19th – Sunday 21st October: 2001 Kuala Lumpur Rotary Institute. There are already more than 300 registered, so register quickly if you wish to attend as space may be limited.

Sunday 28th October: District Ten Pin Bowling Tournament hosted by The Rotary Club of Kwai Chung at Mei Foo Super Fun Bowl.

Tuesday 30th October: The District Vocational Service Seminar, hosted by Rotary Club of Peninsula, will be held at their regular luncheon meeting at the Hong Kong Hotel from 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm.

Sunday 4th November: The 6th annual “Stride for a Cure” of the Hong Kong Cancer Fund.

Friday 16th November: DG Johnson Chu will be joining our Friday luncheon meeting, so be sure not to miss this one.

23rd February, Rotary World Understanding and Peace Day. (Can’t come soon enough if you ask me!)


FROM THE BREADBASKET

MANKIND IS OUR BUSINESS
(Author: J Hamilton)

I saw that woman again today. I’ve been told that her name is Mary.

She used to walk along beside the sidewalk, neither on it, nor on the street. Her clothing was, usually, unsuited for the weather – at least to my way of thinking. She often wore a tight-fitting woollen hat, tied under her chin with a blue ribbon. Her jacket looked like someone’s cast-off, much too large, and torn down the back. Her dress hung over the gumboots she wore. As I drove by, hurrying to an appointment, she would wave her fist at me, shouting something incomprehensible.

I often saw Mary, walking here and there. Never with anyone else. Always alone. She’s “not all there”, you know. She’s mentally ill. She’s not dangerous, so society has not confined her. She wandered all day, and returned each evening to her room in a basement. She got a cheque from the government each month, although she didn’t work for it.

In our society Mary is a cast-off. She can’t cope, can’t compete. Or, perhaps, won’t cope, won’t compete.

In a kinder society, that was less concerned with material well-being, economics and status, Mary would have a role, a job of some sort. She would perform some task within her capabilities, and contribute something meaningful to her community. She would know others and be known by them.

I have a friend who works with the Marys of our city. He told me last week that Mary used to job hunt each day. She really wanted work so that she could earn her own way. But, because she talks to herself, dresses strangely and acts differently, no-one would hire her.

But my friend ‘hired’ her. Now she tidies up around his workplace. She keeps things clean and in their place. She does a good job, my friend says. She still gets her government cheque. But now she ‘works’ for it.

Thank goodness, that there are people like my friend. He is warm and compassionate. He helps people to help themselves.

When I saw Mary today I stopped to say hello. We talked about the weather. A normal chat. Casual, non-threatening. How wonderful.

We talked about my friend too. He’s a Rotarian. Mankind is his business.

 

AND FINALLY ….

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and ……… in which an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race which, of course, isn’t a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this newsletter, I end it.