Rotary Beijing discussed mental health

Kempinski Hotel 18 May 2021

Rotary Beijing discussed mental health during their lunch thanks to Enoch Li.
Enoch was our very interesting speaker on the topic of Mental Health, now gaining a lot of attention by Rotary International and the Chinese government. This is a much misunderstood subject. Enoch corrected the wrong understanding of mental issues, illustrated the growing awareness of this medical condition and explained how we can address it correctly.

Enoch is a former member of our Club. Some ten years ago she left as she was going through a personal tough time. Previously she was a successful expat with HSBC, in London, Paris, Tokyo, and Beijing. Originally holding a Master in Law, she furthered her studies in INSEAD and Institutes in the field of Social Systems, Play Therapy and Small Group Training. She has been featured on many international media and is a regular public speaker.
In her talk she looked back at her studies, her successful career and how she was suddenly overwhelmed with depression, as recorded in her book “Stress in the City”.

See here Enoch taking the floor in the British Chamber of Commerce in Beijing.
More about her work:

Enoch Li: “Stress In The City”

I bought her book and I was very impressed.

See here my book review:

Beijing Rotary in March

Wine Tasting Party

Beside our regular meetings, Beijing Rotary in March had an exciting party in ROOTS on 23rd of March.
Cassidy, one of the only five Wine Masters in China gave us an introduction on new world versus old world wines.
To make the concept real he brought a Pinot Noir from New Zealand (cheaper and screw cork) and another one from France (more expensive and real cork) and explained the intricacies of each type of wine and wine processing; key aspects are acidity, transparency, alcohol content, body, hint of earth, hint of oak, hint of berries, tannin content and aroma.

Cassidy also gave a historical overview on how “Wine Masters” are selected and appointed worldwide and how they have to pass theoretical exams along with rigorous tasting tests.
We received two nice wine glasses marked I and II to taste (blindly) the two Pinot Noir wines and to give our opinion.

Good attendance, with members of the Rotary Club of Beijing and Rotary Club of Beijing East, along with visiting Rotarians and guests. It was a fantastic fellowship, a delicious dinner, high quality wine tasting. Zeyu Zhu, a cellist from the Juilliard School (New York famous school) entertained us with a nice classical music.

Kempinski 30 March 2021

Acting President Didier chaired the meeting and gave an update on the upcoming events of the club.
Our latest member was inducted, Kevin Gouldmann. He received his certificate and pin from Didier.

Kevin was also the speaker of the day, to tell us about his unusual profession as a “Klavierbaumeister” (master piano maker).
Kevin studied piano and music in USA but left for Germany when 21 because he felt he was not good enough to play piano. Instead of playing the piano he later chose the guitar instead.

What makes a good piano? Design, choice of materials and workmanship are the key factors. He learned the different aspects to achieve the right result, first as an apprentice in Berlin for over two years. He then moved to Hildesheim, for several years. Later he followed the complete Ludwigsburg Master Program as a master piano maker. He graduated successfully after a second tough exam.

He worked in a piano factory until he was recruited by a Danish company where he became owner and partner. Later he moved again to Germany and then to China. In China he is one of the only three master piano makers. He is still active with manufacturers in Europe and also did a stint in Abuja (Nigeria), where he lived colorful experiences.
He explained some of the key issues in making a good piano and also explained the different piano types.
He had to field many questions from the audience.

Gilbert let our visitor Sarah Wagner announce the publication of her book “Unleash Today”, that came out exactly on this day in all the major Amazon shops. We look forward for Sarah to give us a talk about her book that she wrote together with Kate Surala.

I already bought the Kindle version!

Discrimination in International School Education

Rotary Club of Beijing meets

On 11 May 2021 Lucas Roberts gave us a talk on “Perceptions of Discrimination in International School Education and Rotary International’s Drive for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”.
Location: Morel’s Restaurant and Café.
I had to do magic as the restaurant was overbooked and we had 21 attendants for our 18 seats. We managed…

Lucas aka Luke was also officially inducted as our new member of the Club.
Members and guests enjoyed the food, drinks and dessert!

Luke’s talk

Luke is currently the Head of Primary at Tsinghua University High School International (Chaoyang). Since coming to China to work as a Humanities teacher with a liberal arts major background in 2009, Luke has served as Vice-Principal and Principal in four international and bilingual schools and amidst all those positions, has also acquired a master’s degree in educational administration. Luke also serves on international school accreditation /inspection committees around Asia. Having witnessed the hiring practices first-hand, Luke wanted to share the research findings from his doctor’s dissertation, still in progress, on discrimination in international schools. Additionally, he wanted to highlight Rotary International’s drive on DEI and how this drive amplified the phenomenon of discrimination.

Luke started the talk by sharing the origin of his dissertation and the current lack of research on gender and racism in international education. There has been a growing awareness of racism and diversity within international education in recent years as part of the response to Black Lives Matter.  For his dissertation, Luke investigated the experiences of racially and ethnically diverse international educators who experience discrimination (e.g., racism, native-speakerism) in recruiting, hiring, and promotion opportunities, thus limiting their professional path in international education.

Luke was careful not to take positions in his research but to show the phenomena of discrimination, so as not to compromise the findings of his research. He did, however, share his own experience of fighting for his recruiting for qualifications over skin color in his work. Lastly, Luke showed how his research dovetailed with Rotary International’s statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), which showed the value RI places on building community across cultures and ideas.

(As reported by Piper)

Rotary Club of Beijing in April

Rotary lunch 6 April

Rotary Club of Beijing in April had a busy month, started with the board meeting before the lunch, in a private room of Kempinski Hotel on 6 April 2021.

Lunch was in Via Roma, the Italian restaurant of Kempinski. PE Didier inducted our new member Vivian.

A new venue: Encuentro

The dinner on 13 April 2021 was held in the new South American restaurant Encuentro, located opposite Worker’s Stadium North gate.

Happens that our guest Iris from Panama is a professional food expert and has been advising the restaurant. She also tried an impressive and colorful cocktail, or was it a fruit cup…

Two new members were inducted by PE Didier, Hans and Chris.

A Spanish evening in The Roots

On 27 April 2021 the Rotary Club of Beijing had a Spanish-themed evening party, attended by visiting Rotarians, guests and Rotaractors. Full house at The Roots Restaurant that did a good job with the food, drinks and service.

PE Didier presided the dinner and brought along two guitarists (both from … Xinjiang, not Spain) who entertained us during the evening.

See here a short video (VPN needed in China):
Rotary Spanish evening in Beijing The Roots on 27 April 2021,

Rotary Club of Beijing is active

Picking up speed again, except Rotaract

As life in Beijing is basically back to normal, our Rotary Club of Beijing is active thanks to the efforts of PE Didier.
The club is also trying to attract new blood and I am happy to see we have more interest from people from Latin America, among others.
Rotaract is still struggling as many of its members can’t yet return to Beijing, but we try our best under the conditions.

We look back at times like when we had a well-attended hotpot with the Rotaractors on 18 December 2019, in Ritan Dong Lu.

Last year we kept in touch with the Rotaract Club of Beijing West by ZOOM. They still organize this year online events. The Sanlitun club has restarted meetings, like this one in SOHO Sanlitun.

On 22 December 2020 we had our Rotary dinner in Morel’s Restaurant and our Rotaractors Kien and Trefyn also joined.

Rotary lunch 2 March

Our lunch of 2 March 2021 in Kempinski hotel was presided by PE Didier, our President Elect. It was his first event as Club President filling in for Rtn Danny, our 2020-2021 President, who is relocating to Nanjing.
No speaker but Didier gave some feedback to the members present, as well as new potential members, after yesterday’s Club Board meeting.
The project HOPE, introduced by Rtn Helen was approved. As a result the active projects of our Club are HOPE and hypospadias. The Bethel project is still waiting for better times. A project to teach English in Hebei schools is being considered where members of Rotary and Rotaract could act as volunteers.
HOPE is an initiative to help children with mental disabilities to improve their mental and physical condition through special riding lessons. The specially trained horses and the qualified therapists use the horses for the children to open up. The contact with the animals have a proven therapeutic effect.

Didier also appealed for members to come forward and help in taking up roles in the different committees of the Club. Several positions need to be filled such as treasurer and membership chair. New committees are in the pipeline such as events committee (includes the speaker program). On the Rotary International website we can find the job description of most common positions and committees.

More details about hypospadias, see this earlier post with the details:

Rotary dinner 9 March

Tuesday 9 March at 7 pm we met in Morel’s Restaurant and we had an interesting speaker Tilman Rieger. He is a Shanghai Rotary Club member and also introduced Tilman Tillmann to our Club.  He is the founder and CEO of 8C Consulting, Executive Coaching and related.

He talked about Conflict Management in Relationships. “Know yourself, understand your counterpart, communicate more effectively!”