Volume 02 Issue 43

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Last week we welcomed visiting Rotarians Alan Page from the Rotary Club of Warringah in New South Wales, Australia and, from closer to home, IPP Stephen Lam from the Rotary Club of Hong Kong Northwest. Also joining us were Mr Mickey Grewal and Mr Veer Madnani, guests of PP Papu, and Ms Qamar Fatima, the guest of Rtn May.

Rtn Alan Page receives our banner

SAA Frank gave his usual report and told us that, with no fines last week, contributions to the box came to HK$707.70 made up of notes and the pocket change of some of our members.

PP Bruce gave his report on the results of Camp Hollywood (see Club News) and handed round 4 books of photos from the event. Orders for copies of the photos will be taken this Friday.

PP Bruce reports on the success of Camp Hollywood

After a fabulous presentation by our guest speaker, the meeting ended with a photo session for the Kowloon North website.

Posing for The Sampan

Till next week…

Yours in Rotary,
Rotarian Nicole Burt


Last Week’s Speaker (Friday 17th May) Christian Havrehed – one half of the Yantu Project – gave us a fantastic slide presentation entitled “Sun Haibin & Christian Row the Atlantic – Part II”.

Atlantic Rower – Christian Havrehed

He told us that more people have climbed Everest than rowed the Atlantic and that not only were he and Sun Haibin 2 of only 154 people from 17 nations that have achieved this, they also achieved a number of “firsts”:
· first Chinese to row across the Atlantic;
· first Dane to row across the Atlantic; and
· first China-built ocean rowing boat.

Before leaving Hong Kong for the race, their adventure had been considered a bit crazy. They were frequently asked questions such as: “What if you see a shark?”, “What if you get run down by a ship?”, and “What if you die?”. Meeting the other rowers in Tenerife had therefore been a big relief, because suddenly rowing across the Atlantic was what everyone was doing and it seemed perfectly normal.

The days in Tenerife were spent checking the boat and fixing the glitches – such as the broken water filter, without which they would not have been able to embark on their journey. Their food – dry rations of special nutritional value – took so much space that from the slide Christian showed us, it looked like there was barely enough room left for them in the boat. In the interests of keeping the weight down, they left their shoes behind although, as Christian said, they weren’t going to be anywhere where they would need them! And so they set off on a beautiful sunny day from Tenerife, only to run into a 4-day storm in their first week, causing them both to suffer terrible seasickness.

During their days at sea, they took 2-hour shifts of rowing, and quickly discovered the pain of their endeavour. Christian told us that in a way, the pain – as long as it was moderate – was quite useful as rowing 24-hours a day, 7 days a week they had initially found it difficult to stay awake during the night shifts and therefore used to give themselves a good slap across the face to wake up. About a week into the race they could no longer do this, because they could neither open, nor close their hands, resulting in a rather pathetic slap. Once the butt problems started however, pain was instant when they sat down and Christian said that their “bottoms hurt more than you can imagine”! He cannot remember feeling sleepy on the early watches after that happened!

A token of thanks from the Yantu team

Despite the pain and initial seasickness there were many highlights. The scenery was fantastic, especially at dawn and sunset and they had wonderful views of a meteor shower in November. During their journey they also saw whales 3 times, although at the first sighting – a killer whale – Christian was so seasick it made no impact. However, the 2nd time was at 8.30 in the morning when he saw what seemed to be a strange wave approaching; in fact it was 8 pilot whales coming straight for him! Luckily, the whales gracefully swam under the boat and they then spent about 30 seconds looking at each other – no doubt in amazement – before Christian resumed his endeavours. The last sighting was a special one for Sun Haibin as it was his birthday and a parade of whales stayed with them for about 3 hours.

Christian also recounted the mishaps, such as the boat which almost ran them down in the middle of the night because The Yantu was too small to register on their radar. It was a close call, but luckily the only one of its type.

During the race, they ended up throwing out 2-weeks worth of food and luckily arrived with just 3 days of food left and one day left on Sun Haibin’s entry visa to Barbados. The crossing took 56 days, 15 hours and 52 minutes. Having rowed for 52 days without sighting any other competitors, it came as quite a shock on the last day, to see another competitor within 200 meters when they were so close to land. But they put on an extra spurt and came in at an impressive 8th position – just 24 minutes ahead of their rivals. The winner managed the crossing in 42 days and an all-girl team came in at 4th position.

Christian & Sun Haibin set out

Once back on land, they spent 2 days walking around like drunks and it took about one week for the pain in their butts to lessen, three weeks for their waists to stop hurting, and about one month before Christian could clench his right fist again. Despite eating a big meal every 6 hours and snacks and sweets between meals during the journey, he had lost 7kg. – a loss he managed to overcome by gaining 12kg over Christmas!

The future now looks bright for both of them. Sun Haibin has graduated from his university in Beijing and secured a good job and Christian will be joining the crew of an old Danish steel ketch from 1935 owned by a famous Danish author, that will be sailing through China for the next 5 months and making 4 documentaries for Danish TV.

The Yantu’s route

We wish him Godspeed and bon voyage!

Friday 31st May: Joseph Lo; SCMP – Open Skies Policy; Airways & the Right to Fly
Friday 7th June: Rtn Ian Petersen; KCR – Railways & Freight
Friday 14th June: TBA
Friday 21st June: Cliff Duddle; Legal Correspondent, SCMP – Legal Issues


Please arrive early if you are on the Welcoming Committee as most guests and visitors arrive at 12.30 prompt. If you are unable to attend on that day, please ensure you make arrangements for a replacement (or else face the wrath of our Sergeant at Arms and his fine box!)

31st May: May Chan & Joseph Lee
07th Jun: Terry Hart & Michael Harilela
14th Jun: Ian Petersen & Daniel Hackston
21st Jun: Nigel Montague & Frank Kleintech
28th Jun: Tommy Tam & Susan Young




Q: What is polio?
A: Polio is an infectious disease caused by the polio virus. The disease can strike at any age, but typically affects children under three. The virus is passed through poor or careless hygiene, entering the body through the mouth, then multiplying inside the throat and the intestines. Once established, the polio virus can enter the bloodstream and invade the central nervous system, spreading along nerve fibers. As it multiplies, the virus destroys the motor neurons that activate muscles. The nerve cells cannot be regenerated and the affected muscles no longer function. Polio paralysis is almost always irreversible. In the most severe cases, polio virus attacks the motor neurons of the brain stem, resulting in difficulty breathing and can result in death. Most children and adults infected with the polio virus suffer only symptoms of a fever; only 1% of polio cases result in paralysis.

Q: Why did Rotary choose polio?
A: During the 1970s, Rotary International began a search a global humanitarian program where members could actively participate not just by fund-raising, but by volunteering in their communities and across the world – the cornerstone of Rotary’s charter. The answer came in 1979 when Rotary launched a five-year polio immunization program in the Philippines along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Philippine Ministry of Health. The initiative was declared a success, signifying the end of Rotary’s search.

Q: Isn’t the program finished?
A: This is a common misconception in polio free countries. It is true that major gains have been made in the global fight against polio. In September 1994, the entire Western Hemisphere was certified polio free. But, some of the most difficult battles have yet to be fought. Fifty countries remain polio endemic. Many of these countries lack sufficient political and economic commitment, or are embroiled in conflicts.

Q: What will be needed to achieve the goal of a polio free world?
A: Nothing less than the active participation of every Rotarian in every club and district in the world. Polio is a disease that does not respect geographical or political borders. To become complacent is to risk losing the gains we have made. Therefore, Rotary International encourages every Rotarian to continue their commitment to global polio eradication by remaining knowledgeable about Rotary’s historic support of this public health initiative and by participating in the PolioPlus Program and PolioPlus Partners Programs.

More Frequently Asked Questions and their Answers, next week.



PP Bruce reported that the amount raised for Camp Quality’s Summer Camp at our very successful fundraising Ball this year, was HK$203,270. He gave special thanks to IPP Bill who underwrote the event as well as donating 2 cases of his famous wine as prizes, and told us that of the HK$203,270 raised, HK$106,400 came from ticket sales and HK$63,480 was raised in the raffle. The budget for the evening was HK$150,000 and this was underspent by HK$29,950 which IPP Bill generously donated to the cause.

Thanks were extended to the Ball Committee who put in a lot of effort, and in particular to those members of the Committee who are Rotarians in spirit, if not in name – Camp Quality’s Susan Wong, First Lady Regina, PP Bruce’s wife Ann and, a good supporter of both our Club and Camp Quality, Rosie Haines. Thanks were also given to PP Bruce’s son Andrew, who did a fabulous job with the design and printing of posters, tickets and menus.

Thanks were given to those members who had donated prizes for the raffle:
PP Gary, who as well as donating a major prize also provided free accommodation for our special guests attending from Macau; President Ramesh, IPP Bill, PP Papu, PP MS Kalra, Rtn Dan, Mrs Eve Roth-Lindsay and Rtn Nicole.

Finally, special mention was made of those Rotarians who truly got into the spirit of the evening: Rtn Nigel who won first prize dressed as a dalmation (we wonder whether Cruella de Vil, his wife Christine, kept him on that nice red leash the whole evening), PP Michael who turned in a very creditable performance as the inimitable Groucho Marx and last but never least, the ever irrepressible PP Gilbert who turned up in a groovy outfit baby, and stayed in character all night as that world famous spy, Austin Powers. If anyone has found his mojo, please turn it in at the next meeting!


Trailwalker 2001 successfully raised over HK$17 million, setting an impressive new fundraising record. Our own intrepid band of trailwalkers, The Rotary Wheelers – a.k.a. IPP Bill, PE David, PP Gilbert & Rtn Howard – swept the Overall Fundraising Championship, raising a total of HK$1,370,000. See this link for a full report on the results of Trailwalker 2001: http://www.trailwalker.org.hk/pr_press11.html


International Service Director Brian Wong reports as follows on our latest school project – the expansion of a junior high school in Naning, Guangxi.

The total funding required is RMB 2.1million – of which RMB 1.5million is being contributed by our Club – plus RMB 40,000 for hiring a construction supervisor to monitor the progress. The plan includes:
1. Building a 4-floor Student Dormitory
2. Completion of a partially constructed Teaching Complex of 6 floors
3. In-fill of a waste water pond (which was detrimental to health and safety).

The construction started at the end of last year and progress so far is:
Student Dormitory: Already completed main construction of 4 floors, remaining decoration parts.
Teaching Complex: Main construction of 6 floors is completed, now in the stage of decoration.
Pond: In-fill completed

The total funds remitted to date (by phases based on milestone accomplishments) plus an amount to be remitted shortly, is RMB 788,000. The whole project is on schedule and estimated to complete in June with a completion ceremony scheduled for September, in which all members and their families are invited to participate.



Most Rotarians are successful professional and business executives because they hear opportunities knock and take advantage of them. Once a week the opportunity for Rotary fellowship occurs at each club meeting, but not all members hear it knocking.

The weekly club meeting is a special privilege of Rotary membership. It provides the occasion to visit with fellow members, to meet visitors you have not known before, and to share your personal friendship with other members.

Rotary clubs which have a reputation of being “friendly clubs” usually follow a few simple steps: First, members are encouraged to sit in a different seat or at a different table each week. Second, Rotarians are urged to sit with a member they may not know as well as their long- time personal friends. Third, members invite new members or visitors to join their table just by saying: “Come join us, we have an empty chair at this table.”

Fourth, members share the conversation around the table rather than merely eating in silence or talking privately to the person next to them. Fifth, Rotarians make a special point of trying to get acquainted with all members of the club by seeking out those they may not know.

When Rotarians follow these five easy steps, an entirely new opportunity for fellowship knocks each week. Soon Rotarians realize that warm and personal friendship is the cornerstone of every great Rotary club.


“Happiness is wanting what you have.”


Sunday 26th May
1896 – Nicholas II, the last czar, was crowned ruler of Russia in the old Ouspensky Cathedral in Moscow.
1913 – A grasshopper cloud measuring 5 miles by 18 miles was reported in New Mexico.
1977 – The human fly, George H. Willig, scaled the outside of the South Tower of New York’s World Trade Center; he was arrested at the top of the 110-story building after climbing for 3½ hours and charged with criminal trespassing and reckless endangerment. He was fined a penny for each story he climbed: $1.10.

Monday 27th May
1790 – The laziest man in history went to bed and stayed there for the next 70 years. Jeremiah Carlton of England was 19 and the heir to a large fortune when he climbed into bed, thinking he never needed to work ever again. He died 70 years later.
1937 – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a stunning technological and artistic achievement, opened to the public after five years of construction. The 4,200-foot-long suspension bridge spans the Golden Gate Strait at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
1999 – Cosimo Cavallaro created a hotel room covered in 1,000 pounds of melted cheese – a mixture of shredded Gruyere, Swiss and other varieties. In Room 114, cheese drips from a ceiling fan. It is draped over chairs and the television. It blankets two beds and hangs from the overhead light in long strands reaching the floor. It covers an ashtray and two glasses. It is spread over the walls and the carpet. It nearly covers the blinking red message light of the bedside telephone. The place smells something like a Hong Kong apartment would if a party spread were left out overnight … in July. To Cavallaro, this is art!

Tuesday 28th May
1961 – The London Observer, a British newspaper, launched “Appeal for Amnesty, 1961,” a campaign that calls for the release of all people imprisoned because of the peaceful expression of their beliefs. The brainchild of Peter Benenson, a lawyer who had advocated publicizing the plight of prisoners of conscience after learning of a group of students in Portugal who were jailed for raising a toast to “freedom” in a public restaurant, the campaign inspired the formation of Amnesty International later that year.
1991 – Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, fell to forces of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), formally ending 17 years of Marxist rule in the East African country.

Wednesday 29th May
1453 – Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Byzantine Empire, was captured by the Turks (some believe this signalled the end of the Middle Ages).
1914 – In one of the worst ship disasters in history, the British liner Empress of Ireland, carrying 1,477 passengers and crew, collided with the Norwegian freighter Storstad in the gulf of Canada’s St. Lawrence River. The Storstad penetrated 15 feet into the Empress of Ireland’s starboard side, and the vessel sunk within 14 minutes, drowning 1,012 of its passengers and crew.
1953 – At 11:30 a.m. Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, became the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth.

Thursday 30th May
1431 – At Rouen in English-controlled Normandy, Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who became the savior of France, was burned at the stake for heresy.
1806 – In Logan County, Kentucky, future president Andrew Jackson participated in a duel, killing Charles Dickinson, a lawyer regarded as one of the best pistol shots in the area. The proud and volatile Jackson, called for the duel after his wife Rachel was slandered as a bigamist by Dickinson, who was referring to a legal error in the divorce from her first husband in 1791.
1971 – The U.S. unmanned space probe Mariner 9 was launched on a mission to gather scientific information on Mars, the fourth planet from the sun. The 1,116-pound spacecraft entered the planet’s orbit on November 13, 1971, and circled Mars twice each day for almost a year, photographing the surface and analyzing the atmosphere with infrared and ultraviolet instruments. Its transmission ended on October 27, 1972.

Friday 31st May
1889 – In a river valley in central Pennsylvania, heavy rain and a neglected dam led to a catastrophe in which 2,209 people died and a prosperous city, Johnstown, was nearly wiped off the face of the earth.
1902 – In Pretoria, representatives of Great Britain and the Boer states signed the Treaty of Vereeniging, officially ending the three-and-a-half-year South African Boer War.
1996 – In what was regarded as a setback for the Middle East peace process, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres was narrowly defeated in national elections by Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Saturday 1st June
1908 – John Krohn decided to take a walk around the United States — with his wheelbarrow! He completed the walk around the perimeter of the U.S. in 357 days (Alaska & Hawaii weren’t states then). He walked 9,024 miles, went through 11 pair of shoes, 112 pair of socks, five wheels for his trusty wheelbarrow and never walked on Sunday.
1958 – During a French political crisis over the military and civilian revolt in Algeria, Charles de Gaulle was called out of retirement to head a new emergency government. Considered the only leader of sufficient strength and stature to deal with the perilous situation, the former war hero was made the virtual dictator of France, with power to rule by decree for six months.
1968 – Helen Keller died in Westport, Connecticut, at the age of 87. Blind and deaf from infancy, Keller circumvented her disabilities to become a world-renowned writer and lecturer.


Sunday 9th June: “Walking Along with Rotary” – a locally produced documentary about Rotary in District 3450, will be shown on TVB Jade from 9.00 – 9.45 pm. If you’re not going to be home, set your videos for this one.

23rd – 26th June: The 93rd RI Annual Convention will be held in Barcelona, Spain.

Thursday 4th July: The District Installation will be held at The Convention & Exhibition Centre in Wanchai. Rotarians from District 3830 (Makati, Philippines) will also be attending to officially renew the agreement between our two Districts.

9th – 11th August: President Bhichai Rattakul’s Presidential Conference of Peace and Development, will be held at the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, Malaysia. The main themes will be: Peace and conflict resolution and the Rotary Centers for International Studies. Other topics will include a Project Partnering Fair and polio updates.

Saturday 7th September: Rotary Foundation Seminar, New World Renaissance Hotel

19th – 20th December: Intercity Meeting to be attended by 2002-2003 RI President Bhichai Rattakul.

1st – 4th June 2003: The 94th RI Annual Convention will be held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


(Written by Marjorie Cook, Otago Times)

(ROTI Editor’s note: While I was at the San Antonio Convention, ROTIan Barry Moreland, of the RC of Calgary Chinook, RD 5360, told me about an adventure he had participated in over 40 years ago, and how ROTI connections had helped him locate the main character. I was so touched by the tale that I asked Barry to send me information on it. Subsequent to receiving his package, I located the following article in the July 15, 2000 issue of the Otago Times, electronic archives. I know you will enjoy reading it as much as I did.)

When the Canadian Cruiser HMCS Ontario visited Dunedin for two nights in 1954, the warm-hearted crew captured the hearts and minds of Dunedin. The crew also provided a magical adventure for 8-year-old Alastair McLay.

Once upon a time there was a Corstorphine boy with a passion for seafaring called Alastair McLay. One Saturday (February 27, 1954), the Canadian cruiser HMCS Ontario visited Dunedin. It was the flagship of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Pacific Command and, at 9600 tons, one of her most powerful units.

Ontario was making one of just two stops in New Zealand, after participating in the 150th anniversary celebration of Tasmania. Crew from Ontario played softball against Otago A and B and invited the city’s children to explore the ship. Like most 8-year-olds, Alastair was very inquisitive and wanted to see everything. But Alastair suffered from poliomyelitis and had to wear leg braces and use crutches. He was confined to the upper deck.

Able Seaman Orville “Curly” Cairns was helping with the crowds and spotted the cheery youngster. They chatted for hours and after all the other children went home at 5pm, Able Seaman Cairns scooped Alastair up and carried him to every corner of the ship. Alastair had tea with the stokers, was adopted by the 98 sailors as a mascot, given a cut-down uniform and made a petty officer.

Later that night, he was taken home to his parents, Thelma and Wattie, in the ship’s jeep. The sailors said they admired Alastair’s spirit and asked if he could go with them to Wellington. The gesture was also a thank-you to Dunedin, which had shown much hospitality to the Canadian sailors. Mr and Mrs McLay consented to the adventure and Alastair went “wild with excitement” when he learned of the arrangements, Mr McLay was reported as saying.

When Alastair set sail with his new friends to the capital on March 1, 1954, his “face was shining and his eyes were alight with joy” as he waved his handkerchief to his family from the deck, the Otago Daily Times reported.

En route, Alastair was kept busy, playing with a toy submarine, helping the cooks in the galley, and making friends with the crew. Arriving in Wellington on March 2, Alastair and his friends visited the zoo, met a lion and fed the monkeys. The next day, he was put on a plane back to Dunedin and arrived home to a swarm of print and radio journalists at Momona Airport eager to interview him.

Barry Moreland of Calgary, Canada, was one of the many sailors who hosted Alastair. Through Timaru friends, he contacted the Otago Daily Times recently to find out what had happened to Alastair.

“From time to time I often wondered how Alastair made out in life and it is kind of ironic as a Rotarian now, helping to eradicate polio, that in a small way I started helping back in 1954,” Mr Moreland wrote to his Timaru friend, Peter Haines.

He recalled the sailors contributed to a collection for Alastair and thought it had been put towards an operation.

Mr McLay (53) now lives in Auckland and is the finance director for New Zealand Insurance. The telephone call from the Otago Daily Times was like a “bolt out of the past” for him. It conjured up memories of a special time in his childhood.

“To think that someone who briefly touched my life so long ago could still be interested in my progress,” Alastair McLay wrote in reply. “No, there was no operation or cure for my polio and I am still on crutches. The money kindly given was used to purchase a piano in the hope that I could have a musical interest, since I couldn’t do all the other kids did. Alas, music was not my forte.”

The crew’s kindness came at a time when not many things were provided for disabled children. After the adventure, it was back to normal life for the Corstorphine lad. He went to Corstorphine Primary School, Macandrew Intermediate and Otago Boys High School. He then graduated from the University of Otago with a commerce degree.

“During that time I found a special friend in Jesus Christ, someone who could take the hurt of polio and disability away,” Mr McLay said.

After working at the university for a short time as a graduate assistant, he went to Invercargill’s Tiwai Point aluminium smelter as an accountant. He spent three years at the Melbourne Bible Institute, obtained a bachelor of divinity degree, and then returned to Invercargill. Mr McLay said over the years he worked his way up the country to Auckland, spending time in Wellington working for the Foreign Affairs Department and State Insurance.

Mr McLay is married to Bronwyn – “a Christchurch girl I met in Invercargill” – and has three daughters, Joanna (19), Heather (17) and Rebecca (14).

In a recent email to Barry, he wrote:

“What everybody needs, especially a disabled child, is a sense of worth, a touch of love, that says he is important and despite the support of a loving family, growing up with a disability often leads to disillusionment and bitterness. Small acts of love last a long time, but big acts of love last a lifetime. What you [ Ontario ] guys did was a big act of love. I must commend Rotary … for being part of the tremendous ambition to stamp out polio throughout the world. Once someone gets Polio, it’s there for life – but it can be prevented. Think of how many other lives you’ve touched. May god speed your endeavours.”


Below are genuine announcements made by tube drivers on the London Underground (some of which are appropriate for Hong Kong’s MTR!):

“To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage, what part of ‘stand clear of the doors’ don’t you understand?”

At Camden town station (on a crowded Saturday afternoon): “Please let the passengers off the train first. Please let the passengers off the train first. Please let the passengers off the train first. Let the passengers off the train FIRST! Oh go on then, stuff yourselves in like sardines, see if I care, I’m going home.”

“Ladies & Gentleman, upon departing the train may I remind you to take your rubbish with you. Despite the fact that you are in something that is metal, fairly round, filthy and smells, this is a tube train for public transport and not a bin on wheels”

“Ladies and Gentlemen do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time. I felt sadly let down by the fact that none of you sent me a card! I drive you to work and home each day and not even a card. The bad news is that there is a point’s failure somewhere between Stratford and East Ham, which means that we probably won’t reach our destination. We may have to stop and return. I won’t reverse back up the line – simply get out walk up the platform and go back to where we started. In the mean time if you get bored you can simply talk to the man in front or beside you or opposite you. Let me start you off: “Hi, my name’s Gary how do you do?”

“Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from elbow and backside syndrome, not knowing his elbow from his backside. I’ll let you know any further information as soon as I’m given any”.

“Please mind the closing doors…”
The doors close…The doors reopen.
“Passengers are reminded that the big red slidey things on the side of the train are called the doors. Let’s try it again. Please stand clear of the doors.”
The doors close…
“Thank you.”