Volume 02 Issue 23

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

We were joined last week by the lovely Winnie Robinson (wife of VP Nic) and Maggie Man from the HK Society for the Deaf, who was attending as Rtn Howard’s guest. Unfortunately, Rtn Howard couldn’t be with us but we took good care of her in his absence.

SAA Frank reported that this week, the box received HK$820 in contributions and fines – although this time, he did not have to fine himself.

Celebrating his birthday last week was Rtn Peter Daswani and after President Ramesh presented him with his gift from the Club, we gave him our usual rendition of Happy Birthday.

Rtn Peter Daswani – last week’s birthday boy

As mentioned, Maggie Man from the HK Society of the Deaf joined us last week and President Ramesh presented her with a HK$35,500 cheque from the Club. We are supporting them in the development and distribution of a Board Game for primary school children with the purpose of helping children and teachers in HK schools to aquire knowledge and a positive attitude towards hearing impaired students who are now integrated into mainstream schools under the Education Departments “inclusive education system”. Maggie also told us about the booklet which will accompany the Board Game, which has been produced by deaf children and their parents.

Exchanging banners with Maggie from HK Society for the Deaf

There were a number of announcements last week, which are reproduced throughout this newsletter, most notably that PE David has only received a couple of responses to his e-mail calling for nominations for the 2002/3 Board of Directors. Come on guys – get off your behinds and send in your nominations of those members you wish to join him in his Presidential year, running the Club.

PP Bruce announced that with Christmas fast approaching and everyone’s social diaries rapidly being filled, the next Annual Ball Committee meeting will not be held until the New Year. Since we will only then have 4 months in which to plan and produce the most amazing fund-raising event ever(!) those of you on the Committee, please make sure you save an empty slot some time in the first two weeks of 2002.

Finally, in the NEWS section this week there is some “WOW” type news which we should all be proud to share in, plus there is a double helping of The Yantu Update this week as Christian and Sun Haibin crossed the finishing line in 8th position at 01.07 GMT on 3rd December – WELL DONE GUYS!

Till next week …

Yours in Rotary,
Nicole Burt


Last Week (30th November) Dr Mark Houston, whose talk was entitled “Traditional Chinese Medicine & the Fitness Industry” discussed how a nature-based medicine and physical exercise/fitness can greatly reduce the health care costs of the modern world.

Dr Mark Houston

“Taoists will never fart” – This was just one of Dr Houston’s many surprising remarks and if it was designed to grab everyone’s attention, I can assure you it did! For those of you who are wondering why Taoists feel this compulsion to never break wind, the reason is that they believe that everything has a space in the universe and that to do so will cause the body to deflate the space it occupies within this universe. He got onto this subject when he was describing how the number of molecules in a container has a direct correlation to the heat produced – be that container a cup of water, a human body or, indeed, the universe.

This was not your average introduction to fitness … Dr Houston took us first through the evolutionary development of life to show why different body types evolved to suit their environment, moving on to discuss physical exercise and how this affects the body’s development throughout one person’s lifetime. For example, if you are a regular marathon runner, your heart has developed in such a way that the number of beats per minute whilst at rest, is significantly lower than that of an averagely fit person. This has a significant affect on what the body can tolerate under different conditions. For example, should a marathon runner attempt meditation, he is at real risk of dropping down dead – meditating himself to death! This is because meditation slows the heart rate. In an averagely fit person this can be beneficial, but in a person whose heart rate at rest is already quite low, this can be disastrous.

He explained to us how Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture work to create a balance of the body’s ecological modules (elements), introducing to us a totally new way of thinking about our bodies and how we look after them. In this day and age, when people have a much longer life expectancy, the cost of health care for our aging population is enormous. In 1997, the USA spent US$1 Trillion on health care. This was the greatest amount ever spent by any nation in recorded history! By contrast, the estimated cost of using Traditional Chinese Medicine and physical fitness as a means to reduce health care is only 2.5% of that amount.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time – even though many of us stayed on till 2.30 – but clearly, Dr Houston gave us all food for thought.
This Week (7th December) Mr Terry Hart of MLI Limited will discuss Investments & Life Assurance

Friday 14th December: Mr Damdinjamts Turbileg, Consulate of Mongolia – Mongolia
Thursday 20th December: Katherine Ma, The House of Energy – Psychic Reading
Friday 28th December: Annual General Meeting – Election of Officers for Rotary year 2002/3

VP Nic is planning your programme for speakers for next year and he would welcome any names and addresses of speakers for January and early February.


Friday 7th December: Howard Davies & Steve Lan
Friday 14th December: Joseph Lee & Frank Kleinteich
Thursday 20th December: David Lindsay & Patrick Shum
Friday 28th December: Raj Mirpuri & Nic Robinson


Presidents Alfredo and Ramesh signing the Memorandum of
Understanding for the Secondary School Project.
Zhuahai – 30 November 2001


** Contributions Achieve Record **

Rotarian contributions to the Rotary Foundation Annual Programs Fund reached US$61.1 million in 2000/1, slightly topping the targeted goal of $60 million and achieving an all time record for contributions to the Annual Programs Fund which supports the Foundation’s Humanitarian and Educational programs.

In Issue 21 of The Sampan, I reported that DG Johnson Chu had announced that – largely through the largesse of IPP Bill – the Rotary Club of Kowloon North has become the No.1 Club in the District for both annual fund giving and annual per capita donations. Well, even more impressive is the news that RC of Kowloon North is not only amongst the RI Top 20 Clubs measured by per capita giving, it is the 2nd top Club. WOW!!! 2nd out of 30,149 Clubs is quite some achievement.


Protect our Mother Rivers

PDG Joseph reported that this year District 3450 supported the planting of trees along the Yangtze River as part of the Chinese project aiming to improve the environment, called “Protect our Mother Rivers”. HK$500,000 was raised in the District and on Sunday 25th November, he joined a delegation into China to attend the planting ceremony. The people and the Government of Chongqing presented a certificate of thanks and PDG Joseph gave special thanks to IPP Bill, who was a major contributor to this project.

IPP Bill, PDG Joseph & Pres. Ramesh show off the certificate of thanks


Club Roster

The Club Roster is in it’s final stages and IPP Bill has e-mailed everyone with the personal details that will appear. This is your last chance to make any changes before it goes to the printer, so if you have noticed anything incorrect, please e-mail the changes to him immediately, on wb@quantrix.com.

Camp Quality Christmas Party

Don’t forget, the Camp Quality Christmas Party will be held this coming Sunday 9th December, at the Karting Mall at the Old Kai Tak Airport. There are currently 87 children registered for the party, not counting the ones which will be picked up from the hospitals on the actual event day, which should boost numbers to approximtely 150.

Our Club has always participated in this Party and we hope this year there will be plenty of volunteers on hand to make this a special day for the children. Everyone will be meeting at Kowloon Tong KCRC station at 9.15 am to head off to the Karting Mall, where the fun and games will start at 10.00 am.

The day will include karting races with Trophies, caps and t-shirts for the winning team; a Children’s Corner with a clown, balloon artists and cartoon characters; a buffet lunch; and finally, a visit from Santa himself with gifts for all the children. IPP Bill tells us that karting is the most fun he has ever had, so don’t miss out in this chance to revisit your childhood with children from Camp Quality.


Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs

It’s not too late to let Rtn Susie know that you wish to join her party for an night of panto fun and hilarity on Thursday 13th December, at 7.30 pm in the Shouson Theatre at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai. Tickets are only HK$210 (HK$180 for children) so why not bring your families and start getting into the spirit of the festive season. Please e-mail Rtn Susie at young@itechresources.com (or telephone her at 29722952) with your requirements before you miss your chance.

THE YANTU PROJECT UPDATE (28th November 2001, Veronique Faure)

8th Yantu Update: Almost there!

Dear all,

Yes! They are almost there! Well, still 270 nautical miles (500km) away, but after all the distance covered in the last 53 days it seems close by now…

After a speeding period due to good winds last week, they met the most unfavourable winds conditions they have had so far: good weather, but with the wind against you, it is sometimes impossible to move the boat forward! So, last Sunday, they decided not to battle against the elements, pulled out their sea anchor (which prevents the boat from drifting too far) and did not row for 18 hours. They used the time to rest, do some washing and try their fishing gear – without success.

The next 2 days the conditions improved slightly and they could get back on the oars, but their average speed has remained low until yesterday. This is quite frustrating for them as the only thing they really want is… to arrive! Their focus is now solely on finishing the race in the lowest possible time, not so much for the position in the race (although they of course would like to keep their Top 10 position), but because they are really exhausted and looking forward to a shower, a dry bed that does
not move and some quality, fresh food!

In the meantime, they try to enjoy the scenery, and reported some beautiful skies at night, with plenty of shooting stars.

Because of the delay caused by the weather conditions, their estimated arrival date in Barbados is now Monday 3rd December (perfect timing as it is also my 30th birthday!). I will try to send you an update shortly after their arrival (hopefully written by Christian himself), depending on the computer facilities available there. In the meantime you can follow the progress and news on www.wearc.com.

IMPORTANT: you know that the Yantu project is also a charity project:
Christian and Sun Haibin want to send Mainland Chinese students to United World College, an international school aimed at promoting international understanding. So far, they have raised enough money to send only ONE student for 2 years. Their goal is to send EIGHT students, as well as to recover their race costs, which they have paid 80% out of their own pocket. So we still need your help!
Thank you to all of you who have donated to help the project, and thank you in advance to all of you who are planning to do so!

If you want to make a donation, you can either go to www.yantu.com and download and return the donation form, or, if you prefer, you can simply follow these instructions. Write a letter saying you would like to make a donation for the Yantu project , with the following information:
1. Name and contact details
2. Cheque number
3. Currency (all are accepted)
4. Amount you wish to donate to recover race costs
5. Amount you wish to donate to United World College for scholarships for Mainland Chinese students
6. Total amount

Enclose a cheque payable to “The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club”. Please write “Yantu Project” at the back of your cheque.

Please send your cheque and letter to:
The Yantu Project
c/o Ms. Ellen Wong, Sponsorship and Communications manager
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Kellett Island
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
E-mail: sponsor@yantu.com

Thank you for your contributions, not matter how small they are!

I also want to thank all of you who have sent messages of support for Christian and Sun Haibin during the last 7 weeks on water, and especially those who have supported Christian in his initial idea and during the organisation of the project for the last 1,5 years! This has made a big difference for them, especially during hard times.

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank the people who have supported me in this adventure, by visiting me, opening their door, picking up their phone, writing to me, making me laugh and letting me cry, and mostly LISTENING to me for HOURS, even late in the night! Monique & Olivier, Tina & Frank, Kaarina & Jean-Do, Olav, Ole & Jane, Bettina : your care has helped me to remain strong and be, in turn, a good supporter for Christian. I’ll never forget!

I will be leaving for Barbados on Friday and will be contactable by e-mail, although I probably will not check very regularly. Please do not reply to this message, send a new one to at veronique.faure@bigfoot.com. I REALLY look forward to sending you the next update!

Thank you for your interest and support

PRESS RELEASE – 9th Yantu Update (3rd December 2001, Veronique Faure)


The Happy Voyagers – Christian & Sun Haibin

On 3rd December, 2001, at 01:07am GMT, Christian Havrehed and Sun Haibin completed their Atlantic crossing in Port St Charles, on the Carribean island of Barbados, aboard Yantu, their small, 7-meter long rowing boat. They are respectively the first Dane and the first Chinese to have rowed across an ocean.

The last time they set foot on land was on 7th October 2001, when they left Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. During those 56 days, 15 hours and 52 minutes, they have covered a distance of close to 2800 nautical miles (5180 km) across the Atlantic Ocean. This was done without any external assistance, purely relying their reserves of food and muscular strength to move the boat forward, and on their solar panels and desalination appliance to provide electricity and fresh water.

Yantu (which in Chinese means “state of motion”), is one of the 36 rowing boats who entered the Ward Evans Atlantic Rowing Challenge, a race rightly described by its organisers as “the world’s toughest rowing race”. They finished in 8th position, after a fantastic comeback from the 20th position over the last four weeks. However, they had no rest until the very end and hard to keep rowing hard as the next competitor arrived just 25 minutes after them. The result certainly put a smile on Sun Haibin’s face as number “8” in Chinese culture is synonym for “good fortune”. This must have been their destiny, as Yantu was carrying number 18, which can be interpreted as “always lucky” in Chinese.

“We are very pleased with our performance – our goal was always to make it all the way across, and safely, so finishing 8th is really fantastic for us. The mental and physical hardship was beyond anything we had ever imagined; this is by far the toughest thing we have ever done” says Christian Havrehed. The crossing was also an amazing team challenge, as they were left to themselves for 8 weeks on very little space. When the official race safety vessel visited them 4 days before the finish line, it was almost a shock for them, as the only companionship they had had in over 7 weeks was that of whales, flying fish, and seagulls: “we had not seen any human beings since the race start, it was very emotional for us to see them”.

Christian, 31, a management consultant based in Hong Kong, has extensive sailing experience, and Sun, 27, a Beijing University sport student is a top-level triathlete. However, neither of them had any rowing experience before starting training for the race, when they met only 9 months ago.

Their arrival in Barbados was more than timely: just in time for Christian’s girlfriend’s 30th birthday and Sun’s entry visa expiry date!

They were physically exhausted on arrival, and hardly able to walk straight after spending so much time on a constantly moving little boat: “we are really looking forward to a good shower and a dry and stable bed, as well as some fresh food” were their first desires after clearing customs and greeting family and friends.

Beyond the personal challenge, their goal with the Yantu voyage was to raise money to allow Chinese students to study at the United World College of the Atlantic, in the United Kingdom. The 2-year programme offered by this international school to teenagers aged 16 to 18 years old from all over the globe, aims at promoting international understanding. It is thanks to his experience at Atlantic College, which he attended in 1986 to 1988, that Christian was first exposed to Chinese culture and then decided to study the Chinese language and subsequently live in Beijing for 3 years. When he signed up for the race 2 years ago, he wanted to practically demonstrate that teamwork between extremely different cultures and under extreme conditions is possible, and he set out to find a Mainland Chinese teammate. He has clearly proven his point!

The Yantu project has so far raised funds to send one Chinese student to Atlantic College, and to cover 20% of considerable race costs. The only goal that remains unachieved as Yantu comes out of the water on the other side of the Atlantic is therefore the fund-raising aspect, as their objective was to raise money for 8 scholarships and to recover the full race costs. Interested corporate sponsors or private donors will find all details on this project on www.yantu.com.


Sunday 2nd December:
1697 – St Paul’s Cathedral opens in London.
1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
1862 – Circus entrepreneur Charles Ringling was born.
1971 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujeira, Sharjah & Umm al Quwain form the United Arab Emirates.

Monday 3rd December:
1586 – Sir Thomas Herriot introduces potatoes to England, from Colombia
1967 – In Cape Town, South Africa, a team of surgeons headed by Dr. Christian Barnard, performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. Washkansky only lived 18 days.
1984 – The world’s worst industrial disaster occurred when a lethal cloud of toxic chemicals escaped from a tank of the Union Carbide factory. 16,000 people in the neighbouring slums were killed and half a million permanently maimed. (17 years later: up to 150,000 are seriously ill due to the continuing affects of this leak!)

Tuesday 4th December:
1110 – The Syrian harbor city of Saida (Sidon) surrenders to the Crusaders.
1154 – Adrian IV, 54, was elected to the papacy. Born Nicholas Breakspear, near St. Albans, England, he is the only Englishman ever to have been elevated to the office of Pope.
1619 – America’s 1st Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in Virginia, US

Wednesday 5th December:
1492 – Christopher Columbus discovered Hispaniola (now Haiti).
1791 – Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria, at the age of 35.
1945 – The so-called “Lost Squadron,” five US Navy Avenger bombers carrying 14 Navy flyers, set out on a training mission which began at the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station and ended with the disappearance of the squadron. They were never heard from again and no trace of them has ever been found.

Thursday 6th December:
1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrated the first gramophone, with a recording of himself reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
1926 – In Italy, Benito Mussolini introduced a tax on bachelors.
1998 – Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour connected the first two building blocks of the international space station in the shuttle cargo bay.

Friday 7th December:
1431 – In Paris, Henry VI of England was crowned King of France.
1941 – Pearl Harbor, located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu was attacked by nearly 200 Japanese warplanes. The attack resulted in the US entering into World War II.
1972 – Apollo 17 was launched at Cape Canaveral. It was the last US moon mission.

Saturday 8th December:
1542 – Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) is born.
1948 – Jordan annexes Arabic Palestine.
1949 – The Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa due to the Communists’ pressure.


Sunday 9th December: The Camp Quality Christmas Party at the Karting Mall. Everyone will meeting at Kowloon Tong KCRC Station at 9.15 am to get to the Karting Mall for 10.00 am. The party is expected to end at 3.00 pm.

Saturday 5th January: The Annual District Mahjong Championships will be held at the World Trade Centre Club at 38/F, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay. The event starts with a 12.00 pm buffet lunch with the competition starting at 1.30 pm. The fee is HK$500 which includes lunch and dinner. For further details, contact Mr. Frederick Ng on 90427077 or Tony Hui on 94610814.

Sunday 13th January: The District Sports Day will be held at the Wanchai Sports Ground from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Saturday 23rd February: Rotary World Understanding and Peace Day.

Saturday 16th March: District Conference to be held at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel.


Friends Around the World
A Japanese Daughter
(by Frank Deaver Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, Alabama USA)

What is a “haori”? And what does it have to do with “friends around the world”? Perhaps it’s best to hold the answers until the scene is set.

In April 1990, my District Governor Mark Maloney (now RI Director) called to ask if I would serve as adviser to a Rotary scholar from Japan who would enroll in graduate studies at The University of Alabama. Of course I would! In weeks that followed, I had exchanges of correspondence with her, as well as with Gov. Mark and with Rotary International.

Overflowing with enthusiasm, Yoriko Koizumi arrived in late summer. She had an undergraduate degree in communication from a Japanese university, and expected to return home with a masters in journalism. Because she would study in my department, I was also assigned to be her academic adviser and thesis chairman. Obviously, we would spend considerable time together. Her visits to my office were not only for academic concerns, but frequently just to share things of interest. (Not surprisingly, she soon had a local boyfriend!) She occasionally attended Tuscaloosa Rotary Club with me, and she presented programs for several clubs and for the district conference. She was in our home often and occasionally she would prepare a Japanese meal for us. She was more like a member of the family than a guest, and soon she was calling me her “Alabama dad.”

Twenty months later, it was as much parental as academic pride that welled up inside me as she crossed the stage to receive her masters degree. Her mother came from Japan for her graduation. Not long after Yoriko returned home, I was in Japan for an academic seminar, and the Koizumi family invited me to visit them in Shizuoka, a coastal city midway between Tokyo and Osaka. To employ the trite phrase that they “entertained me royally” would be an understatement. Among other things on our itinerary, we visited Shizuoka Rotary Club, the club that had sponsored Yoriko’s scholarship. The president invited me to speak briefly and bring greetings from Tuscaloosa Rotary Club. With Yoriko’s efficient translation, I was glad to do that. We exchanged banners, and the president thanked me for “taking care of Yoriko.”

Yoriko’s dad is in the lumber business, and owns timber land high in the mountains, about an hour’s drive into the “Japanese Alps.” He spent a day taking me into some of the most magnificent mountain country, where we explored forests of giant cedars, an ancient Shinto shrine, lush hillside fields of green tea, and a tea-processing plant. On the return trip, we stopped at a small restaurant whose building straddles a mountain stream. As the waters rushed literally through the building, mountain trout were captured, cleaned, and broiled to perfection on freshly-cut cedar skewers. With the fish, we were served Japanese noodles, a chopsticks challenge since they’re very long and in a watery broth. I had minimally mastered chopsticks for bite-size solids, but this seemed impossible. Mr. Koizumi jovially demonstrated-bowl in hand, chopsticks urge some noodles to lips, then slurp, sip, slurp, sip—-. We laughed our way through the feast. Back in Shizuoka, Mrs. Koizumi served a traditional fruit dessert, and we visited late into the evening.

Then came the haori.

A haori can best be described as a man’s kimono coat, worn on formal occasions over other historical and traditional garments. It’s typically black and very sheer, with deep sleeves drooping from forearms. Obviously, it’s not worn for warmth but for symbolism. In former times, it was commonly worn by elderly men, in recognition of their seniority. Now its use is reserved only for very special occasions.

Mr. Koizumi brought out a beautiful hand-made haori, and presented it to me. “This was my father’s haori,” he said. “It’s more than sixty years old. I want you to have it.”

I could not believe that he would part with such a memento. Gently I inquired, “but shouldn’t this remain in your family?” (I had learned that to decline Japanese generosity can in their society be taken as an offense.)

“It will remain in the family,” he said. “You and I are fathers of the same daughter.”

It was hard to know if I was more touched by his gift or his words. I continue to treasure both.

What is a “haori”? Now you know, it’s a formal Japanese kimono coat. But to me it’s much more than that. It’s a symbol of friends-no, family -around the world.


A few things you didn’t know you didn’t know about animals & insects:

A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out;
All polar bears are left handed;
An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain;
Butterflies taste with their feet;
Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, dogs only have about 10;
Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump;
Starfish have no brain;
The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated (who tested that?!);
Some lions mate over 50 times a day;
The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds;
A snail can sleep for three years; and …
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.