Rotary Clubs joined for the Rotary Red Lantern Banquet 2017

The Banquet

The three Beijing Rotary Clubs joined for the Rotary Red Lantern Banquet 2017, on Saturday 25 February 2017.
It was supposed to be a ball, a charity, something like that. It became then a “banquet”, unfortunately not as copious as a Chinese full blast banquet (you hate it or you love it).
Setting was the Four Seasons Hotel, the ballroom decoration was pretty nice.
As far as the food was concerned, some kind of high-level Chinese dishes, that means large plates, little content and afterwards need to head for some late night snacks. Some tried to eat enough of the bread. Some (including me) went for the nice red wine, just to get high and forget about food. Our club felt squeezed in a faraway corner.

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I am black-listed

I did complain about the logistics: a video shooting that was lousy and useless, and blocked access to the raffle and auction prizes. No reference to the projects we are backing. Lighting positioned too low. Some questionable speech (common for most balls actually). Auctions with little appeal, take too much time and fail to excite the audience, up to the point one simply misses the relevant auction items. And more.
As I have been through a number of balls and other events, I know what it takes and I was unhappy with the issues. Good I did not invite my VIPs as I did for other balls.
Yeah, complaining got me shot down so all my pictures as well as of other “complaining parties” were removed, so, I mostly have the pics I got myself and the ones I selected. You won’t see anything of us in the “official photo gallery” (whatever that means).

Balls are a challenge

One can even question the purpose to organize a ball. It demands a huge investment in volunteering and a semi-military approach and precision, but with often too few returns. One could simply require club members to spit up some money and cancel the ball. More efficient. There are too many balls in Beijing vying for attention and sponsorship. Then paying big bucks to eat a so-so dinner, no dancing, no fun music – next time: no thanks. I even have no idea what our “banquet” brought as benefits.
Well at least we had our Rotaractors acting great as volunteers and nice people at our table.

Rotary in action in Beijing in May

Some updates on Rotary in Beijing and China

Rotary in action in Beijing in May, a number of events to mention here.
We have now a new Interact Club, in the International School of Beijing. The Club is sponsored by the Beijing Rotary Chaoyang Club. The Dulwich College Beijing also has an Interact Club, sponsored since 2007 by the Beijing Rotary Club.

Also to mention: Dalian has a new Rotaract Club for students and young professionals age 18 – 30, sponsored by Rotary Club of Dalian. On 20 May the Rotary Club of Dalian will celebrate one year!
Changchun also has a Rotaract Club now.

Rotary lunch 9 May

I was the Sergeant-at-Arms, once more.
We had as speaker Dr. Zhang Tiejun, Hebei Children’s Hospital talking about the GOL Hypo Project. Hebei Children’s Hospital is our long term partner in the Gift of Life project. Originally a heart surgery program for underprivileged children, GOL has from 2015 supported the surgery of six children suffering from hypospadias.

According to Dr. Zhang hypospadias is not a rare condition in China. About 50,000 boys are born each year with symptoms. The rate is 1/300 and rising. Treatment often involves multiple and specialized surgeries. Hebei Children’s Hospital dispatches pediatric urologists to rural areas to examine children with defects, educating families about seeking medical treatment and advice from experts. They also provide clinical training to rural county surgeons. With the implementation of the GOL-Hypo project, the hospital now has 6 surgeons. Helped by the deployment of a medical screening van in villages, the number of successful treatments has been growing by 20% annually in the past two years.

To know more see the previous post: http://www.beijing1980.com/2017/04/13/hypospadias-surgeries-need-support/

Our club is organizing a dinner next Tuesday 16 May to celebrate the 1000th Rotary meeting in Beijing since 1996. I will miss it being out of town. Location: Italian Restaurant “La Dolce Vita” in Sanlitun, behind 3.3 Building

Social Rotaract evening in Legend Beer

On Friday 12 May our Rotaractor Vasco invited us for a drink as he will leave us soon.
I joined along with Rotarian Sven.
As usual a lively evening, lots of beer and Jägermeister.

See the pics of the evening, part of the group.

May Babies Party in Ossie

A special birthday party

The May Babies Party in Ossie was on Saturday 13 May to celebrate the birthdays of William, Peter and Veronica. Some 40 friends joined the lively party with the free flow of beer, wine and snacks.
The great thing about the party was that many people knew each other, quite a number being part of our Old China Hands Monthly Lunch.

Ossie (Aussie) Restaurant & Bar (澳西酒庄&餐吧)

At Aussie Wine Bar they serve an array of wines, beers and authentic culinary dishes ranging from traditional western food to Outback Aussie Steaks. Ossie is the “official” name as Aussie was not legally accepted in Beijing…
To reach: very close to Guangqumenwai subway station, Line 7 exit B
See: https://www.facebook.com/aussiewinebar/
For me the first time to visit the bar but all were impressed with the service of Steve and the staff.

Fourth Old China Hands Anniversary

Happy Anniversary OCH!

On Friday 5 May 2017 we celebrated our fourth Old China Hands Anniversary, being our monthly lunch normally on the first Friday of the month.
I started it indeed four years ago with some six or eight people and soon we settled for Morel’s Restaurant (Gongti) and we never changed. Everybody seems very happy with the place and the formula. I love to organize it because it is a nice gathering of friends.

Good attendance

My “member list” counts a little over 100 people and is updated regularly to add new people or remove those who left us or never RSVP. As most “Old China Hands” are busy people, many can often not make it due to their busy schedule. On 5 May we had around 30 people, being a typical attendance.
The background of the people is very diverse and so are the nationalities.

VETEX in Beer Mania

VETEX in Beer Mania, for our friend Steve

On 1 February 2017 a special birthday party for Steve: none less than VETEX in Beer Mania.
A real great evening, as usual it proves Thierry knows how to run his vibrant café.

Who is VETEX?

VETEX is a group from Kortrijk, Belgium. The name comes from a former textile factory (VETEX) in the city of Kortrijk. The brass band has trumpets, flute, saxophone, clarinet and more, just watch the pictures and the video. They were on a tour in Beijing. Impressive and enthusiastic performance.
See here their introduction in Flemish:

Orchestre International du Vetex is een feestfanfare uit het Belgische Kortrijk.
In 2004 werd het gezelschap opgericht in Vetex, een oude texielfabriek in de kanaalzone van Kortrijk. Vlaamse, Waalse en Noord-Franse muzikanten van diverse sociale achtergrond maken muziek die een mix is van Balkan, Gipsy, ska, Latino en Klezmer, de polka of de Tarantella gedanst kan worden.
De groep bestaat uit vijftien blazers die op fluit, trombone, saxofoon, trompet, bugel, klarinet en sousafoon spelen. Zij worden ondersteund door drums, percussie en accordeon.

See: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchestre_International_du_Vetex
and: http://www.vetex.org/

The video

See here a short video, on YouTube (in China needs a VPN). I have the video on file, the original is near 600 MB, the reduced version 90 MB.