Volume 02 Issue 14
Dear Fellow Rotarians,
What a good turnout this week – it is improving. President Ramesh welcomed back PP Steve, Rtn Nagendra, Rtn Raju, Rtn Brian, Rtn Peter Lo, Rtn Nigel and Rtn Sham.
We were joined this week by a visiting Rotarian from the RC of St Ives in Sydney, Rtn Jerry Casburn who brought with him his wife Jenny. Rtn Jerry exchanged banners with President Ramesh, presenting us with a very colourful banner from his home club, featuring the “Waratah” flower – the state flower of New South Wales (but don’t ask PP Bruce, who has obviously been away from home too long and, despite being born in NSW, did not recognise it!).
Our guests this week were Mr Mike Massand, a good friend of PP Gary, and Miss May Chan, whom President Ramesh introduced as a prospective new member (see Club News for further details). Nice to see an addition to the “ladies team”!
Our collection to the box this week totalled HK$900.
PP Bruce – recovered from his embarrassment – then gave us a short report on next year’s Fund Raiser and IPP Bill told us about our first Fellowship Evening for this Rotary year. More news on both of these events under Fellowship News.
IPP Bill also announced to the Club that during the recent Board meeting, the Rotary International appeal for each Rotarian to contribute US$100 this Rotary year in order to assist with the Matching Grants programme, was discussed. A decision has been taken by the Board, that each member’s contribution will be included in the regular club billing process with the annual amount being charged proportionately over a quarterly or half-yearly basis.
Don’t forget, this week’s luncheon will be the occasion of our Club Assembly. This is one of the most important luncheon meetings of any Club’s year and all members – especially those who are Club Directors – should make a special effort to attend. Wouldn’t it be something if we could achieve 100% for this? Please DO try!
Finally, through a sad misunderstanding, there were no cameras on hand to record last week’s events and so, for those of you who have expressed even the slightest interest in my diabetic cat, I include a picture herewith. His name is Shadow, he is 12½ years old and when he stands on his hind legs, he is about 3 feet tall!
Shadow the diabetic cat
Till next week …
Yours in Rotary,
SPEAKERS THIS MONTH
Last Week’s Speaker (28th September) was Mr Alfred Lau of the Town Planning Board, whose presentation was entitled “Hong Kong 2030”.
VP Nic introduced Mr Lau who is the Chief Town Planner of the Planning Dept and head of the Strategic Planning Section in charge of the Hong Kong 2030 Study Project. He also works on studies relating to the Mainland and Hong Kong port development strategy. He received his BA from the University of Hong Kong and his master’s degree in town planning from the University of Liverpool.
Alfred began his presentation by telling us that the planning of the future development of a city or town covers a wide range of aspects, from the policitical and social to the economic and cultural. Despite what many people may think however, long term town planning is not akin to writing science fiction and town planners are not prophets! They can only provide a broad direction of growth and postulate future development scenarios,
Because the function of the HKSAR Government is very compartmentalised, with functions being very specific and the range of duties fixed, town planning in HK mainly deals with physical development issues, land use planning and infrastructural development.
The history of long term planning in HK started in 1948, when the administration invited a British eminent professor – Patrick Abercrombie – to come to HK to prepare a long term plan to reconstruct HK after the war. Moving on, the 60’s and 70’s, saw HK facing a massive housing problem due to the influx of refugees from China and so the emphasis was to develop new towns in the New Territories. In the 80’s and 90’s however, Mainland China opened up and most of HK’s industries moved to the mainland. HK underwent a structural change from a light industrial centre to a financial and servicing centre, with the main job opportunities lying on the northern shore of HK Island and the tip of the Kowloon peninsula and thus, the new towns – which were originally planned to provide jobs and living quarters for people – became mostly dormitaries for workers who needed to travel to work daily by various means of mass transport.
Population growth is always an essential element of strategic planning in HK. The past 3 decades have seen an increase of about one million people every decade, bringing us to a current population figure of some 6.9 million people. The Census & Statistics Dept predicts that by 2030 there will be 9 million people in HK, with an average increase of 7 million per decade for the next 30 years! However, there is a much higher percentage of mobile population now with about 2.7% of the resident population being regarded as mobile, many of whom have sought employment in Mainland China. This means that frequent cross-boundary activity is one of the trends that requires special attention. Last year, 55 million people crossed the boundary, which is an average of 150,000 per day – or 100 per minute – a figure unheard of in other parts of the world.
Another important trend is the economy, with HK currently undergoing its third economic transformation from a business and servicing economy to an E-economy or K-economy, which means a reliance on information technology and knowledge-based activities. Whilst HK still has advantages such as its strong financial business, trade and transportation sectors, it lacks trained people in the innovation and technology sector and suffers from high labour costs and land prices. In addition, developments in the Mainland, such as accession to the WTO, the development of the Western Region and the Beijing 2008 Olympics, also affect HK.
Hong Kong’s future vision is to become Asia’s World City. In order to achieve this, we need to keep our air and water clean, maintain our good business environment and enhance our hub function as a financial business centre, a trade and transportation centre, a major tourist destination and a vibrant arts and cultural centre. More importantly for the future of HK, we need to consider our position within the Mainland, our role as a major city in southern China, our regional position in relation to the development of the Pearl River Delta area and our relationship with Shenzen. A very tall order indeed!
PE David proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Lau for his instructional presentation on town planning.
This Week (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”
Friday 26th October: D Turbileg – Mongolia
NEWS – NEWS – NEWS
Update on Ana Margarida (as supplied by PP Stella)
Wednesday 26th September
Thanks the Lord! This time the Shunt works. The operation was done yesterday morning. The saturation rate is over 80%. The doctor is very satisfy with this operation. He told me this morning that girl’s color is back. Her lips are rosy now. Since she had gone through a few times of anaesthesia, she is quite weak right now. She will not be recovering as fast as last time. Mucos developed in her lungs and she does not urine much. These are minor problem according to the doctor. He will visit her again tonight and may be Ana can be transferred back to the Paediatric ward. I have also talked to the administrator of the hospital, He knew that this is a charity case and that an extra operation was not expected. He would try to cut the price down as he told me that the doctor would also cut down his fee tremendously. Anyway, let’s hope that bill will be within our ability and that the little girl will recover fast. Poor little girl has to be cut open few times in such a short period. She has to be tough!! Talk to you more later.
Friday 28th September
Good news!! The doctor said that Ana could be discharged from the Hospital tomorrow (i.e. 29th Saturday). What a tough little girl she is! The doctor told me that she was recovering very well. She has no more fever. She can pass her urine alright and her oxygen saturation rate now maintains at around 80%. As Dr Leung will be going to the Philippines for his Cardiology Conference one Monday, he wants to see her again on 6th October at his private clinic. Meanwhile, we have looked for an apartment from the Baptist Missionary. Since the old Missionary has left and the new one hasn’t arrive yet, Ana and her mother can stay there for a week. It is located at No. 100 Argyle Street. The doctor said that since an extra operation was not expected and the Hospital knew that this is a charity case, the Hospital is now ready to give us 30% discount on the Hospital expenses which will come up to approx. $100,000. The Hospital requested the doctors to do the same. Since it involves 3 doctors: an anesthetist, a surgeon and a cardiologist, Dr Leung is trying to persuade the other doctors to charge less. But in any case, for the 2 operations, it will amount to around $130,000. The final figure will be confirmed later. Anyway, we have enough money for this 1st phase. I will come at around 2-3pm to pick up the girl and transfer them to the Baptist Missionary apartment. I will let you know what the future plan will be when things get settled.
Yours in Rotary,
This year’s Rock ‘n Roll evening was very successful, with a good time being had by all, and was a break from the previous major balls which had been organised. It has been decided that next year, a slightly larger event will be held some time in April. PP Bruce – who is the major organiser for the event – has e-mailed all members with a request for suggestions or comments about the date, the venue (large enough to hold 220 – 240 people, but with low enough ceilings to decorate easily), the theme (along the lines of a Hollywood-type event), the music and the sponsorship. He is also looking for volunteers for his committee and needs around 8 people to help him in this project. Don’t be shy now!
A Fellowship Evening is being organised for Friday 12th October. Following the success of our previous Fellowship Evening, IPP Bill is arranging another junk trip to “Cococabana” on Lamma Island. It is planned that junk will leave Hong Kong at around 6.30 pm, for dinner and – hopefully – dancing at the beachside restaurant, and return at around 10.30 pm. Of course, if everyone is having too good of a time to leave so early, we will leave later! More details will be announced in next week’s newsletter. The return journey is bound to be a good opportunity to improve your singing skills, especially if PP Gilbert has anything to do with it.
As there is a scheduled speaker for that day, the regular luncheon meeting that day will still be held.
A prospective member has been introduced by President Ramesh and voted in by the Board. Miss May Chan works for Massmutual Asia Limited and she is a certified MPF Consultant and Personal Financial Analyst. Her classification will be “Financial Analyst” and her induction will be on 16th November when DG Johnson Chu will be joining our Friday luncheon meeting. Welcome to Rotary, May!
THE YANTU PROJECT UPDATE
From next week onwards, VP Nic will be providing The Sampan with a weekly update on the progress of Christian Havrehed and Sun Haibin who start their Atlantic Challenge on 7th October from Tenerife. They will be rowing 5,000 km across the Atlantic Ocean and competing against 38 other boats. So, until next week, a progress report from the two intrepid rowers follows.
Scholarships Raised for Mainland Chinese Students
Funds raised to date (USD): 51,479 = 1.11 Scholarships Cost per scholarship (USD): 46,500
Because of contributions received, 19-year old Jin Zhou from Guangdong Experimental Middle School in China is now attending Atlantic College in the UK. For the next two years he will be living and studying with 340 students from all over the world, of all races & religions, in an environment that aims to promote international understanding.
The recent bombings in the States is a wake up call to all of us that international understanding still has a long way to go. Therefore, please continue to support the Yantu Project. Our target remains to raise a total of 8 scholarships, or USD372,000, to ensure Mainland China will be represented at Atlantic College for the foreseeable future.
If you would like to help provide more Mainland Chinese students with a once in a life time opportunity to study at Atlantic College and thereby contribute positively towards increased international understanding, please download, print out, and return the donation form at the following website: http://www.yantu.com. All currencies are accepted.
THANK YOU for your continuing support!
BIRTHDAYS THIS MONTH
Monday 1st October: Our first celebrant this month is Rtn Dan Hackston, who shares his birthday with the late comedic actor Walter Matthau (1920), actress and warbler Julie Andrews (1935) and ballet dancer Edward Vilella (1936).
On this day in history ….
1596 – The Duke of Norfolk was imprisoned by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for trying to marry Mary the Queen of the Scots.
1918 – Damascus was captured from the Turks during World War I by a force made up of British and Arab forces.
1988 – Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the Soviet presidency.
Wednesday 3rd October: PP Patrick Shum shares his birthday on Wednesday with novelist Thomas Wolf (1900), famous Yorkshire vet and uncle to “Tricky Woo” James Herriot (1916) and rocker Chubby Checker (1941).
On this day in history ….
1226 – St. Francis of Assisi died. He was the founder of the Franciscan order.
1932 – Iraq was admitted into the League of Nations leading Britain to terminate their mandate over the nation. Britain had ruled Iraq since taking it from Turkey during World War I.
1988 – Mithileshwar Singh, an Indian educator, was released by kidnappers in Lebanon. He had been held captive for almost two years with three Americans.
Thursday 4th October: Peter Lo shares his birthday with the legendary comic actor Buster Keaton (1895), steamy authoress Jackie Collins (1941) and “heartthrob” actor Armand Assante (1949).
On this day in history ….
1535 – The first complete English translation of the Bible was printed in Zurich, Switzerland.
1648 – The first volunteer fire department was established in New York by Peter Stuyvesant.
1957 – The Soviet Union began the Space Age by launching Sputnik I into orbit around the Earth. Sputnik was the first manmade satellite to enter space. It fell out of orbit on 4th January 1958.
1958 – British Overseas Airways Corporation became the first jetliner to offer trans-Atlantic service to passengers with flights between London, England and New York City, USA
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Friday October 5th: This Friday our 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. If you have registered and wish to support the event further, you can contact Rtn Brian Wong to obtain sponsorship forms. The form with the donation may be passed to him during the lunch meetings or on the event day. They will be collectively sent to the Cancer Fund on your behalf.
Friday 16th November: DG Johnson Chu will be joining our Friday luncheon meeting. This will also be the induction of Miss May Chan, so let’s all make an effort to attend this meeting and welcome May as a fellow Rotarian.
FROM THE BREADBASKET
As always, I browse the ROTI website every week for bits and pieces to include in this newsletter (their newsletter is called The Breadbasket). The following editorial was contributed in January of this year, but I thought it particularly fitting for inclusion now. It is quite long, but definitely worth reading.
Expanding Our International Understanding
(Contributed by P.D.G. Kent Aldershoff)
We have all joined into singing “. Let there be peace, and let it begin with me”.
Noble, moving words. A true reflection of Rotary spirit. Ecumenical words, words that can be spoken from any pulpit, altar, minaret, lectern or platform, whether it is in a church, temple, synagogue, mosque, chapel, tabernacle, or other place of worship; or spoken by those of no religious persuasion whatever. Words that everyone can believe in, everyone can agree upon. Only madmen, or a nation caught up in the madness if its leaders, could proclaim the opposite – Let there be war, and let it begin with us. There are Rotarians throughout the world, working for peace; and for every Rotarian, tens of thousands of other people of good will, generous heart, kindness, and compassion for our fellow man. Why do we not see universal Peace?
Why do we see bombing and burning in the Balkans . . . African tribes hacking each other to bits . . . Koreans in armed standoff across a 4 km. strip of land bounded with barbed wire and bristling with land mines . . . refugees and starvation in Somalia (and dozens of other places) . . . Iraqis without food and medicine . . . soldiers being stoned in Israel and children being shot in Palestinian territory . . . Libya terrorizing its neighbors . . . India and Pakistan in nuclear standoff . . . the People’s Republic of China rattling weapons at the Republic of China, Taiwan . . . Tibet being systematically depopulated of native Tibetans . . . bankrupt Russia funding incursions into Chechnya and elsewhere . . . terrorists ambushing and murdering innocent civilians . . . and the production and trade of armaments being among the world’s ten largest industries?
We have the United Nations, which after more than 50 years has still not brought peace to the world, though UN agencies have done monumental good and perhaps UN efforts have averted more or larger wars. Yet still we see armed troops under the UN banner, doing battle as “peacekeeping missions” against opposing national armies, no different from the UN “police action” in Korea half a century ago.
The United States is nominally at peace with all the other nations of the world – a peace that is maintained by the largest standing military force on the planet, many of whom are stationed on foreign soil, many others roaming the seas and skies thousands of miles from US territory. A third of the US budget goes for military expenditures, an amount greater that the Gross Domestic Product of all but a handful of nations. Is this peace – or intimidation?
Friends, these are not signs of a peaceful world. These are not indications of international understanding. They show a world filled with anger, envy, greed, exploitation, hatred, and a desire to dominate — to rule over — others.
Armed conflict, or the imminent threat of open warfare, are not the world’s only problems with inadequate international understanding. Some nations have learned that what purports to be peaceful trade can mask behaviors that amount to economic imperialism. Certain of the oil exporting nations are waging a form of economic warfare by limiting their shipments and forcing artificially high prices. This leads to currency weaknesses in other nations, to inflation, to depriving ordinary people of other necessities, as they must overpay for heat, light, and transportation. On a less visible scale, but also with imperialistic effect, other nations withhold scarce ores or other materials, forcing unrealistic prices or other concessions from the wealthier nations.
The great industrial nations of the world are not blameless. In the name of free trade, domestic industries are shut down and the goods imported from lesser-developed countries – but all too often, this merely exports the production of pollution. Nevertheless, the highly developed nations still maintain high rates of generating pollutants that have devastating effects on their neighbors, and in fact on nations thousands of miles away.
This list can be extended, and as we all know, books are written about all of these (and many more) ways in which nations everywhere show their lack of caring, their indifference, their unwillingness to understand others. Let us not paint a picture all in dark shades. There are abundant evidences of international cooperation, of technical aid and humanitarian relief, of international efforts to resolve local suffering and problems. Globally, standards of living are rising nearly everywhere. More people than ever before have an adequate diet, medical care, homes, schools, jobs, communication, and (best of all) hope for a better future.
We see international cooperation, even among warring nations, for polio immunization, for soil and water conservation, for educational and cultural exchanges, for sanitation and protection of food supplies, for control of nuclear weapons and armament materials, for protecting human rights and working toward equality of opportunity. This world, in many ways, is a better place for humankind than it has ever been.
Yet we have not, at the dawn of this new millennium, achieved full international understanding.
Almost anyone you can name can be blamed for our world not being further advanced, toward true global understanding. Political leaders. Militarists. Dedicated nationalists. Ethnic minorities insistent on maintaining their identities and autonomy. Reactionaries proclaiming that change means disaster (as, for them, it probably does). And intolerant people of all sorts. Yes, those are the people at the root of the problem. Also me. And also, may I suggest, you.
None of us, individually, is going to bring the world into greater harmony and peace. Even as a group, all of Rotary, we are not going to overcome the tensions and lack of understanding, the fear and hatred, the unwillingness to give up on old conflicts or to break down new barriers. Yet each of us can do our bit, to make sure that peace will “begin with me”.
During one of my trips to India, I heard the story of a terrible fire in the jungle. There were flames and smoke as far as the eye could see. A small bird would fly to the river, fill its beak with water, fly to the fire and release those droplets, then return to the river and repeat the sequence. An elephant stood watching the bird, and finally said “Sister bird, why are you doing that? You will not be able to put out that great fire.” The bird replied “No, of course not. But I’m doing my part.” The bird was doing all that she could, futile as her individual efforts might be. But the bird knew her duty, and fulfilled it as far as she could.
We in Rotary are already contributing to international understanding. Daily, we exchange messages and views and humor among scores of nations, with other Rotarians. Through Rotary, international service projects are formed, or are assisted. We learn of other nation’s festivals, and disasters, and aspirations. We come to know that others laugh just as we do, they cry over the same tragedies, they love their children as we love ours, they have the same daily problems and the same daily triumphs as we.
By participating in Rotary, each of us contributes in some way to international understanding. That is a very good action, a useful expression that we care about other people in other lands. Yet in the main, our fellow Rotarians are not those who most need better communication, better understanding across the borders and across the seas. As Rotarians, we know that we already share common values, mutual respect, and a sense of the brotherhood of man. We are, so to speak, sprinkling our little beaksful of water where there is no fire.
We might do well, each of us, to pause and inquire within ourselves what we have been doing to promote international understanding outside of Rotary.
Many of our members do make very creditable contributions – working in Youth Exchange, sponsoring or hosting a Gift of Life child, helping to support an Ambassador Scholar, or working to fund a World Community Service project, for example. Some even travel to another nation, promoting understanding by their visits to orphanages, schools, playgrounds, places of worship, hospitals, homes for the elderly, and many, many others. A few have the privilege of serving as Rotary Volunteers.
As with everything else, Rotary asks you to work for international understanding and peace, but Rotary does not tell you how to do that, nor how much you should do. Those are for your individual choice, your own sense of duty, your personal conscience. The need is there, and it is not going away.
Friends, the jungle is still burning. It will take massive efforts to quench the fires of intolerance, mistrust, avarice, and hatred. Each of us has a little part in that. Each of us has a little duty to perform. Each of us can do our bit, to make this a better world.
The greatest nobility of all, is doing a generous act for those you do not know, and whom may never see, but who need your help or your service.
AND FINALLY ….
Be nice to your kids – – they will choose your nursing home!