Old China Hands lunch 5 August

Back in force

Happy to see our Old China Hands lunch 5 August reaching again 35 attendants. We still had to keep the strict door checks for the negative COVID test. Sadly one of our most regular members was refused entry as his test was 5 days, the test he had done the previous day did not show the result, most probably as they did not enter his data correctly. We are not being “despotic”: police has installed equipment that checks if people entering scanned – and the health status.
Sorry Terry, we missed you.

Anyway everybody happy, the food was great as always, see some of the dishes here – Russian egg salad, fricandeau, piccata Bolognese, red snapper filets, and pancake with fruit.

Still hungry?

I always eat too much during those lunches, but in the evening I still needed to discuss with Chef Renaat.

I had the gratinated goat cheese and we were surprised with each a half waffle!

Our star of the month

This time the focus is on Raja, probably the oldest “Old China Hand”, he beats me by far.
He found a picture of us, date unknown but somewhere in the eighties.

Raja Magasweran is originally from Sri Lanka. See the documentary about him:
“Bond With China – China Fate – My career is in China”.
《中国缘 | 我的事业在中国》20210822完整版
Dated 22 August 2021 as I understand.

Watch the full version here.
I had the pleasure to meet his family several times.

Sherry Liu speaking at Beijing Rotary lunch

Kempinski Hotel weekly lunch

On 9 August 2022 we welcomed Sherry Liu speaking at Beijing Rotary lunch.
Sherry Liu was once a prominent lawyer in Arizona, later an executive of Motorola, China. She was named  one of the best solicitors in 2004, graced the cover of American Lawyers Magazine, interviewed by BBC and CNN. At height of her successful career as a top executive at Motorola a disease diagnosis changed her life‘s trajectory, she soon found herself on the journey of self-discovery propelled by the innate desire to heal herself. Today she is a poet, painter and spiritual teacher. Ms. Liu brought some of her original paintings and some books to our meeting.

More about our speaker: Sherry Liu bio2022

See here the pics of our well-attended meeting, the paintings and books of Ms. Liu and the food.
Once more I acted as Sergeant-at-Arms and sold some of the Rotaract mugs, see below.

Rotaract Club of Beijing West and the history of Rotaract

I still miss the Club that at one point was so vibrant and successful. Lynn, a kind Rotaractor and former secretary of the Club, kept the leftover goodies and was so kind to send it all to my office. Included was the banner and many of the mugs they had made.

But who from our members knows the meaning of “Rotaract 50 years: 1968-2018”?
See here: “1968: Expanding our reach with Rotaract

The idea for Rotaract emerged in the mid-1960s, building on the success of Interact, Rotary’s service program for young people, which was founded in 1962.
Rotary members were looking for a way to promote Rotary to college students and other young adults who were over the Interact age limit. The answer was Rotaract: a service program for men and women ages 17-25 that would be sponsored by local Rotary clubs. (The age requirement later changed.)
The idea became reality in January 1968 when Rotary approved the Rotaract proposal. Members of the Rotary Club of Charlotte-North, North Carolina, USA, had worked with local university students, and they seized the opportunity to sponsor a Rotaract club. The first Rotaract club was certified by Rotary on 13 March 1968 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
In the weeks that followed, more Rotaract clubs were started in the United States, Mexico, Italy, and India. About a year later, Rotaract boasted more than 200 clubs in over 25 countries and geographic areas.

Members-only lunch

On 2 August we had our members-only lunch at Kempinski Hotel, to inform our members about the Board Meeting that was held the day before.

Interesting talk and good food. Kevin trying to explain financial stuff. Complicated for an engineer like me.

Old China Hands lunch 1 July

Small crowd

These are still difficult times and we had to skip two lunches with all the COVID mess. The Old China Hands lunch 1 July had finally 20 participants.
For the lunch there were strict requirements; tables of maximum 8, negative COVID test in the Health app (max. 2 days). temperature control. All enforced by myself at the door.
Pretty weird as I had about 7 last-minute cancellations, most by people having stomach problems (not COVID!).

Food by Renaat Morel was great as always. Found myself back for dinner to taste the beef stroganoff (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_Stroganoff ) and have drinks with a French friend, married to a Philippine lady and who works for a Belgian company… I then learned we are actually neighbors…

Our star Mark Levine

As I said already, Mark is all over the media and most probably the most featured of our group. I already introduced him earlier, “Old China Hands stars”.
Well here some more about him. Read the articles to know more about him and his China story.

He sadly could not make it to our 1 July lunch.
See the pic with the famous and much loved Thai Princess when he handed her a copy of his book in The Bookworm. Date: 8 April 2017. The Princess has been a frequent visitor to China. Pictured in the middle is Peter Goff, former Rotarian and former owner of The Bookworm.

RIP The Bookworm

That place was forced to close, sadly. It was a library, coffee shop, book shop and the center for cultural and literary events. So many memories of meetings and events there…
I mentioned the closing earlier.
Here some pics of the great place we miss so much.

It was also reported in the SCMP on 15 November 2019.

A Thousand Hands Guanyin

Guizhou Maotai Distillery and Maca Maotai

On 28 July 2018 I was invited to give a congratulatory speech for the launch of Maotai Maca, assisting to the performance of A Thousand Hands Guanyin, among other performances.
Location: Vienna Hall, Garden Hotel, Haidian District, Beijing.
CCTV hosts were Shi Jun and Meng Siyu.

There was also a group of senior ladies, all so elegant. And also here I saw their rehearsal were they appeared without makeup or anything. And other dance groups and singers, see below some.
Yeah Gilbert was happy with all the ladies!

A Thousand Hands Guanyin

The Thousand Hand Bodhisattva dance, also called “A Thousand Hands Guanyin” is a beautifully synchronized flow of movement. The group of dancers who take on this incredible dance are all deaf or with a hearing impairment. The performers are supported by the trainer who uses sign language to help the dancers feel the rhythm and remain in perfect time.
This dance describes the legend that Bodhisattva Guan Yin has one thousand hands. Thousand Hand Guan Yin dance became one of the most popular Chinese dance in the world.
Guan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion, revered by Buddhists as the Goddess of Mercy. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin which means “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World”.

 

It was interesting to see all the dancers during their rehearsal with their trainer, in their simple clothes and no makeup. Then see the later on…
Really impressive to see it up close.

Never Leaving left Beijing

Another victim

In late 2019 we had a nice evening in “Lenore’s Bar – never Leaving”. Well sadly Never Leaving left Beijing, I guess another victim of greedy landlords, crazy rents and COVID.
Location was at the former Hacker-Pschorr on Xindong Lu, a bit north of Jingkelong Supermarket. That place must be bad karma, as Hacker-Pschorr went bust before, a huge investment (many million euro) wasted because of totally incompetent Chinese management.
The amount of bars and restaurant closing in Beijing is staggering, made worse with the COVID tragedy.

It was a nice place

Actually I liked the place, the interior was attractive, the service was trying its best even as it was still new. Beer and food were all pretty OK. See the pictures.

I only felt sorry I did not have the chance to visit it more, but in early 2020 COVID came and you know the rest of the story.
There is a new kind of pub there but I did not explore it yet.