2000 – 2001 Bill Benter
2000-2001 Rotary Year was another excellent year for the club. Having inherited a Club in good shape from PP Bruce, President Bill was able to build on the extraordinary record of service that the club was fast establishing. Some traditions of the club were revived, and hopefully a few new ones were begun.
As both the club’s and District 3450’s webmaster President Bill was very proactive in internet matters. The club’s web site was enhanced and embellished, and the forerunner of what would later become the online Sampan first appeared on 31 August 2000 in the form of the first weekly electronic “President’s Message”, which was sent using the club’s new email list. ( All of the club members having an email address except for Dr. Patrick Shum, who was faxed a copy of the message. – a practice which continued for some years! )
PPs Gary and Michael Harilela hosted a wonderful club fellowship evening at their home on September 28th, which got the fall season off to a good start. That fellowship evening was following closely on October 14th by another enjoyable evening at the home of M.S. Kalra. Other good news from late September was the approval of two new members; Returned former member PP Peter Lo, and new Rotarian Howard Davies.
Another technical advance was made on October 20th when President Bill sent a digital photo along with usual email to members. This was the first instance of what later became a common practice with the online version of the Sampan.
As usual, in early November our club supported the annual Terry Fox Run to raise money to fight cancer. We were represented by nine club members along with eleven of our Interactors and a group of twenty from Camp Quality. In mid November, Rotarians Bill, Gilbert, Ramesh and Frank visited Guangzhou with a delegation from Camp Quality.
A bit of mild excitement occurred in mid November when one of the computers in PP Joseph Lee’s office began sending out hundreds of virus containing emails to all of the club members email addresses. The crisis was soon brought under control by the swift action of the club webmaster (President Bill)
December saw the addition of two new members to the club, Rotarians Dan and Nigel and a recent meeting attendance record was set on December 8th with 24 members present to hear Feng Shui Master Peter Lo make his predictions for the future. The halfway point of the Rotary year was reached with the club stronger by four members and with a respectable record of service and fellowship.
In January the club initiated what was to be a months long process of designing a new club banner. We were running out of the old banners, and it was decided that a redesign was in order. Various candidate designs were posted on the club’s web site for members’ review and comment. The Year of the Dragon drew to a close with the club in good shape and ready for the new year.
February saw a club sponsored internet training course for Interactors and a tremendous fellowship evening at the Cococabana restaurant on Lama Island. A junk was hired to transport club members to and from the event, and a good time was had by all. Most importantly though, the club had the privilege of naming Professor Patrick Yuen as a Paul Harris Fellow. Professor Yuen is a remarkable man who has devoted his life to the care of children with cancer. As the honorary chairman of Camp Quality, Professor Yuen has rendered service to Rotary and more importantly to the children which Camp Quality serves.
The new online Sampan was first published on March 1st. The club had gone some years without a regular printed newsletter, but the President’s enthusiasm for the internet and his sense of the tremendous significance of his own musings led him to establish a permanent online record to be preserved for all eternity on the club’s web site. A vocational service visit to the new Air Traffic Control center at the new Chep Lap Kok airport was arranged by PP Michael and Rotarian Albert undertook the Herculean task of cleaning out and reorganizing the club filing cabinet.
A contingent of five Rotarians from Kowloon North attended the District Conference in April, and a group ninety-four Camp Quality children attended the District tree-planting day. A serious attempt was made to gather the last of the member’s details for a republishing of the Club Roster. Sadly, this was never achieved. On the bright side, Honorary member PP Uncle George Chu cast the deciding vote and a new club banner design was chosen. During these past months, Uncle George had been in hospital and club members, both in groups and individually have made numerous visits to his bedside. We are always pleased to see his obvious pleasure at our presence.
In May, a delegation from the club made a visit to an elderly hostel run by St. James Settlement, and a “boys’ night” fellowship was held which involved a visit to an establishment in Tsim Sha Tsui East. Though there were many lovely distractions at this establishment, our member’s thoughts never strayed from the Object of Rotary and the Four Way Test. A day trip was made to an orphanage in Guangzhou and a major visit to Guangxi Province was undertaken to assess the feasibility of the “New School Project”. In mid month, the club had the pleasure of inducting our new Rotarian Nicole. Later, PP Steve and President Bill paid a visit to our Sister Club in Ama Japan, and we were most graciously entertained.
The club’s annual celebration was held in June in the form of a “Rock n’ Roll” party which was well attended and included appearances by Bruce “Roy Orbison” Stinson, and Ramesh “Jimmy Hendrix” Chugani. The club bid farewell to Rotarian Jenny who relocated to Australia. President Bill capped his term as president by attending the Rotary International Convention in San Antonio. Upon returning, he presided over his last meeting as president
President Bill is reminded of the wise words of his District Governor John Wan, who told him when the year began that his presidential year will likely be his best year in Rotary. President Bill hopes it isn’t so, but in looking back he realizes that this was a year of rewarding service and fellowship which will indeed be difficult to surpass.
– President Bill