Old China Hands 7 January lunch

A special celebration

Our Old China Hands 7 January lunch in Morel’s again celebrated a special event, “King Cake”, see further the background.
Attendance was pretty good with 28 people, despite last minute cancellations.
And of course food was great as always.

As we had two big tables we decided to have a “Lucky King” at each table. See Curt searching in vain for the lucky statue, our Michel waiting patiently for more guests,
We had the same celebration last year: https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/01/24/old-china-hands-8-january/
See some of the many dishes part of the special lunch menu!
In the evening I came back again for another extra King Cake (with ice cream, last pic). Delicious!

6 January: Epiphany

In Belgium, it is customary to eat a king cake (galette des rois in French or driekoningentaart in Dutch) on 6 January to celebrate the Epiphany. At its inception, the Epiphany was a Christian feast that celebrated the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Eastern kings. Nowadays, the celebration has included pagan traditions and is enjoyed by many, irrespective of their beliefs.The Epiphany’s origins can be traced back to the Gospel of Matthew, in which three kings from the East, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar, are said to have followed a star until they reached Jesus who had just been born. With them, they brought three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The custom to eat cake that day only came much later from the Roman empire. During the Romans’ Saturnalia, a feast in honor of their god Saturn, the role of the slaves and their masters would get switched around: the masters would make a cake in which they’d hide a bean. Whoever found the bean could then be king for a day, make demands on their masters and express freedom of speech.

Nowadays, Belgians often eat their king cake with their family. The cake is made with puff pastry and almond paste, and instead of a bean a small porcelain figurine, often representing Jesus, is hidden within. Whoever gets the figurine in their piece is crowned king for a day. To ensure fairness in the game, the youngest child has to sit under the table while the cake is cut, naming the recipient of each piece. The winner is then given a cardboard crown and can choose their king or queen!

Source: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/zmAqt8uS9VwYnLArUkL1-w

Another “Famous OCH” in the spotlight: Alan

As published by theBeijinger!
“There is something gentlemanly about Alan Babington-Smith, and given all that he has accomplished over his lifetime, as well as the astounding things he has done while here in Beijing, I feel honored to shed some light on the amazing life of this man, whose main occupation now is helping to run the Royal Asiatic Society, Beijing.”

Read the full story: 211211 AlanBabington.pdf

Previously his lovely wife was featured: https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/11/14/old-china-hands-5-november-lunch/

Flowers and birthdays at Morels Restaurant

Susan and flowers

Great flowers and birthdays at Morels Restaurant, the flowers being the personal artistic work of Susan. Many people think the flowers are plastic and check them… surprised to find out they are all real and often unique. And they are not cheap! I think no any restaurant in Beijing can compete with her arrangements.

The experiment with the liquid to chase away dogs-doing-stuff was on the other hand not very convincing…

Jan, our Dutch friend

Jan celebrated in style his birthday on 7 October with a small circle of friends.

He got pampered with some special presents, one being a telling-it-all T-shirt!

Chef Renaat

Renaat celebrated his birthday on 19 December, along with his chef Zhang. A perfect celebration with outstanding food and wine, for a small group of Belgian, Dutch and Chinese friends,

The dishes

Some of the dishes shown: seafood salad, cakes, home-made appetizers, Dutch veal steak with Sauce Perigourdine (with truffles) and almond potatoes, (real) Atlantic cod fish (DE-LI-CIOUS), pepper steak, gratinated endive with ham, mini steaks with pepper sauce and mushrooms, and more. All with excellent red wine, of course!

21 December 2021 Rotary lunch with inductions


On Tuesday 21 December 2021 Rotary lunch with inductions followed by a presentation by Rtn Victor.

Rtn Kevin presided the meeting and Gilbert acted as Sergeant-at-Arms.
The induction of our two new members was done by Gilbert who is also their sponsor. We welcome two amazing individuals, Thierry and John who both previously gave us fascinating insights into their business. See:
– “John van de Water talked to Rotary”, https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/09/22/john-van-de-water-talked-to-rotary/
– 14 December 2021 Rotary dinner in Schindlers, with Thierry as a speaker: https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/12/27/14-december-2021-rotary-dinner-in-schindlers/

Speaker: Victor Montalva Salaverry

Topic: Introduction to Mining Industry and Community Relations in a Mining Town
Our Rotary member Victor gave us a speech about Mining Industry and the Community Relation in Peru, his home country. Victor is the director for Minera Tungsteno (tungsten mine) and director/co-owner of Agropex (copper/ gold mining) . He gave an introduction of his experience in gold, copper and tungsten mining and trading, and then he talked about the challenges and the positive significances of a good Community Relation in the mining towns, which are mostly located in the remote, economically undeveloped areas of Peru.

14 December 2021 Rotary dinner in Schindlers

Schindlers Tankstelle –  Sanlitun

For the 14 December 2021 Rotary dinner in Schindlers we had Thierry Raymaekers as a speaker on the Winter Olympics. See the dishes I chose. Pretty nice! Gilbert presided the meeting and acted as Sergeant-at-Arms.

The New Year Party is planned for 11 January 2022 in Kempinski 7:00 pm, with a buffet, non-stop drinks and live music.
Price RMB 350, children half price. Guests and friends are welcome.

Speaker: Thierry Raymaekers

Topic:  Background on “ Winter Gold “ documentary ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
With less than 60 days till the opening of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, lots of companies and people are involved around the clock with preparations. One of the companies, Thierry works with is in post-production phase of a 6 series documentary that will be aired on Jan 14 on CCTV.
In his presentation he gave a behind-the-scene look on how this co-production came to existence, and challenges they have been facing due to COVID-19 restrictions and 2022 Winter Olympics operational protocols. he introduced the athletes that are featured in the video.

Thierry is an astute executive with 20+ years of boots-on-the ground China experience. He is founder and principal of a Beijing based media consulting company in providing strategy and M&A services to clients that are in need of assistance when entering China’s media scene and driving profitability.
Known as a thought leader on China’s media & entertainment industry he is a public speaker at various events and conferences, and contributor to many articles.

7 December 2021 Rotary Beijing AGM

Rotary Club of Beijing

On 7 December 2021 Rotary Beijing AGM in Kempinski Hotel for the Election of the 2022-23 Board and Officers.

With 13 members representing 29 members, the Beijing club Rotarians voted the following board members and club officers.

  • President: PE Benoit
  • IPP: P Didier
  • PE – Still to be filled
  • Treasurer – Rtn Kevin
  • Secretary – Rtn René
  • Vice-President – Rtn Jose
  • Membership – Still to be filled
  • Events Chair – Rtn Vivian
  • Foundation – Rtn Mike K.
  • Service – Rtn Ralf
  • Youth / International –Rtn Gilbert

It is noted that PE and the membership chair for 2022-23 are still vacant and members are encouraged to volunteer.

Membership and events

At the meeting, the membership chair Hans reported on the changes and challenges of membership for the past six months. With many expatriate members moving out of China, it is increasingly difficult to recruit and retain members. It is paramount that our members bring in their friends and colleagues to continually renew our membership.

Event Chair Vivian reported on the previously held and soon-to-take-place events, presenting the diversity of speakers and topics. The members recognized and appreciated Rtn. Vivian’s effort and good work on organizing interesting and lively meetings and events.

New Project Announcement

The board has in the last month agreed for members to donate to Yuhua Home for the Mentally Challenged. Yuhua Home has a history of 20 years, nursing children and young adults with mental disability. With the funding dwindling since the start of the pandemic, Yuhua Home, like many other such institutions, faced the same dilemma of staying open and providing food and shelter for those in need. The donation will go toward buying the food during the winter months.