WE ARE AN ENGLISH SPEAKING ROTARY CLUB WHICH MEETS EVERY THURSDAY at 12:30 pm IN PENINSULA HOTEL, TSIM SHA TSUI, HONG KONG.
It's my great honour to be the President of our Club which has a successful history over 70 years. Following the Rotary slogan ROTARY CONNECTS THE WORLD, I'm taking up this challenge by contributing new energy and ideas to the Club. As a tradition and a core value of our Club, we focus on Fellowship programs among Members, together with the local and international Community Service events which bring us closer together and serve the community we are living in. Also, on every Thursday we invite outstanding and interesting speakers to join our regular lunch meetings in the Peninsula Hotel. The talks always inspire people with their expertise knowledge and ideas, and leave joyful memory for all audience.
On behalf of the Rotary Club of Kowloon, you’re cordially invited to join our coming events!
On 6 February 1946, a group of business and professional men in Kowloon discussed the formation of a Rotary Club independent of the Island of Hong Kong. A week later at an inaugural luncheon in the Peninsula Hotel, 27 persons were present of whom 23 were eligible and became the Charter Members of the Rotary Club of Kowloon.
To read a history of the Rotary Club of Kowloon is to chart the changes in the boardrooms of many top Kowloon institutions: Hong Kong Whampoa Dock Co, Kowloon Wharf, China Light & Power, Kowloon Motor Bus Co, the Royal Observatory and others. It is to focus on the progress of public figures like Gerry Forsgate and Sir Run Run Shaw, and to follow the success of leading businessmen like Ira Kaye and Hari Harilela, or Chinese entrepreneurs such as Albert Lai, Fung Wing Chung and Look Yau Yu. It is to appreciate the achievements of a Club whose honorary members have included such well- known names as Sir Denys Roberts, Sir Horace Kadoorie and Sir Michael Sandberg.
In the early days, as other industries gradually came to challenge the preeminence of maritime trade in Hong Kong, the Club's membership began to mirror this development. The induction of Tony Yeh, managing director of Tai Ping, in 1959 and Sven Birkholm, one of the pioneers of the gloves business, exemplify the trend.
While members note that business credentials do not have to be quite as heavyweight nowadays, Sunny Ong, a former member of the Rotary Club of Kowloon, believes the Club still attracts the cream. He transferred his membership in 1990 to the Rotary Club of Wanchai, which he helped set up, and in spite of its impressive base in the Grand Hyatt, he believes the new club's members have a lot of groundwork to do before they can achieve the status of those who meet over the water at the rather more modest New World Hotel.
A venue does not make a club, but the founding of the Rotary Club of Kowloon at The Peninsula hotel was to give the Club not only a special and enduring relationship with the Grand Old Lady of Kowloon, but a special image too. However, a spell of hotel refurbishment in the early '80's which began with the closure of the sprung wooden-floored ballroom, would eventually lead to the Club moving to the New World Hotel.
It was around the time of the Club's departure from the Peninsula that its archives were sadly lost. All Club records were at that time housed in a wooden cabinet in the Captain's Room, situated in a cock loft adjacent to the ballroom. Ira Kaye recalls that he had been away on business at the crucial time, and that no one else had thought to go in and retrieve the cabinet's contents. "By the time I reached the Captain's Room, everything had been thrown out," he laments. Fortunately, Charter member and Past President Bill Grimsdale made the decision to hand over all records pertaining to the Endowment Fund together with valuable photographs and memorabilia. A little portion of the Club's early history was thereby saved.
Loss of records aside, all would agree that the Club has been an enduring success. Many members attribute this to a strong nucleus of established members, to the steady and sustained growth of the Club over the years, or to a high propensity to innovate; others to the exceptional level of goodwill, camaraderie and fellowship which has been maintained. It is true that one member is purported to have left because of a dance display he considered a little too explicit; another reports that a former President left after a falling out with the new incumbent. But these stories are few. For the majority of members, the Club has been the one organization, out of all their memberships and responsibilities, that they have remained committed to over the years. Clocking up regular attendance has rarely been a chore.
Peter Kendrick believes that the Club's practice of choosing the right person for the right job, rather than appointing a Board and then sharing out the roles, has ensured effective leadership. Another view expressed is that though past Presidents "may not have been the best, they have always tried their best," with the membership graciously carrying a weaker President.
There is also a continuity and stability enhanced by the strong family ties that have always characterized the Club form Lim Loy Lan, his son Henry Lim and son-in-law Dexter Yeh to the Harilela and Parmanand brothers; fathers and sons Alex and Mark Blum and Bill and Time Williams; John Abbiss and his father-in-law Phil Carberry.
For all the equality, informality, and marked absence of what Norris Hickerson describes as "a lot of superstructures like cliques to get in the way," what has never been allowed to relax is the level of adherence to the ideals of Rotary, through models laid down by Rotary International.
Some members admit that new recruits have often joined up for what they believe they can gain in the way of prestige and business contacts through membership of the Club. Yet a majority of members have continued to involve themselves for what they can put into the Club, and the Club has an enviable list of such characters. Some Chinese members, it has been noted, have shown themselves reluctant to accept the office of President, but have nonetheless thrown themselves tirelessly into many other roles.
John Yuen- or 'Uncle John' as he was fondly called - is remembered as a leading light in setting up the Club, although he acted in an advisory capacity rather than giving up his membership of the existing club. Arriving in Hong Kong from a Shanghai Rotary club, he was also a founding member of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong and, as well as being appointed District Governor at a later date, his name has been associated with the spawning of other clubs such as Hong Kong Island East, in 1954. His granddaughter's husband, Moses Cheng, became active in Rotary, as a member and Past President of Hong Kong Northeast, and eventually District Governor.
Of those early members, two in particular - Grimsdale and Clemo - are remembered with great affection, and were known personally too much of the contemporary membership.
Grimsdale was, according to Gerry Forsgate, "one of the leading members of society in Kowloon". An ex-colonel with a very distinguished war career and a CBE*, he became secretary of Hong Kong Whampoa Dock Co after the war, retiring to a seat on the Kadoorie board. Grimsdale is remembered as an upstanding, precise person, "typical of the British that decided to retire in the East; there was a certain style of man-management; a style of individual". He is also remembered as a good speaker, a worthy Rotary attribute.
Charter president Fred Clemo JP*, born in Northern Ireland, had a "tremendous personality", was a "real extrovert" and was a close friend of The Peninsula's general manger, Peter Gautschi, and Bob Harilela. After retiring from China Light & Power where he had worked as manager for eighteen years, to be succeeded by Cyril Wood, Clemo went on to become the best-known person in the travel business through his company Hong Kong Tours & Travel Services, which he ran from an office in The Peninsula. He is even pictured in Andreas Augustin's history of the hotel entitled, The Peninsula. Clemo, who answered to the nickname 'Mr. Hong Kong', apparently was the Hong Kong Tourist Association before the official body was launched.
Characters like Hari Harilela had Rotary friends in Hong Kong, and believes there were many Kowloon businessmen who wanted to join a club. In the event, many of them delayed joining the new Rotary Club of Kowloon until the fifties. "You had to have time to join the Club," remembers Harilela, whose core business at that time was clothing. "So many long hours after the war were spent trying to reestablish businesses." In 1952, when Harilela joined, he was the second Indian in the Club, the first being Gopaldas Hiranand or 'Uncle George'. By 1954 the Club had doubled in size, and when in 1958 Harilela became President, there were fifty-five members. "It was very exclusive, very intimate, very friendly," he recalls. Even so, the Club had now outgrown its first home in The Peninsula, and officially moved its base to the hotel's ballroom.
These were also the days when Kowloon Rotary Club balls were lavish affairs indeed, that might attract even the Governor and would certainly be reported in the local press. "300 People Attend Kowloon Rotary Function," ran a headline in October 1958. "Floor Shows by Artists," it continued. Harilela, as that year's President, even had his speech faithfully reproduced in print. A letter received shortly afterwards from TV Gopalapathy expressed his family's thanks "for the excellent party last night which we enjoyed very much. We are indeed grateful to you for giving us an opportunity to participate on that grand occasion where a fellow countryman occupied the place of honour, probably for the first time since the inception of Rotary into Kowloon". Harilela was now firm in his position, not only as a key member of Hong Kong's Indian community, but also as a leading businessman in his own right who would go on to receive an OBE* in 1979.
In 1958, when the Club celebrated its tenth anniversary, membership was up to sixty, including seven charter members. The Club was to induct two new members who would remain influential figures. First there was Gerry Forsgate, then the Managing Director of Kowloon Wharf, where he was to work for thirty-two years. He was initiated by Jim Moody, then the secretary of the Kowloon Residents Association, an organization with which a number of Kowloon Club members worked. Forsgate, whose name has more recently been commemorated with a conservatory in Hong Kong Park, stood down as chairman of the Urban Council in 1991, after twenty-six-years' service.
The second new member was the charming and universally popular Dexter Yeh, who ran a highly successful interior design office and went on to create the interior of the Chesa restaurant in The Peninsula. He was inducted at the same time as Tony Yeh, and many members mistakenly thought the pair were brothers. Yeh's introduction to the Club came from his father-in- law, the founder of Tak Yan School, Lim Loy Lan. Lim's son, Henry Lim, would also join the Club.
Perhaps the single most impressive community project undertaken by the Rotary Club of Kowloon has been the Arran Street Child Assessment Center; a project which continues to play a significant role in the Club's activities today. "The thing that impresses me most", comments Ira Kaye, "is to think of the foresight (Club) people had in 1948 to put up this building". He also expresses the hope that: "We too will be remembered for contributions to the community that are so advanced in thinking and would enable a project to last through three, four and five decades".
In fact, the Arran Street clinic did not start life in Arran street, but rather in a loaned building in Yaumatei. The original intention was to commemorate the inauguration of the Rotary Club of Kowloon with a solid piece of community work, and the Club's board of directors recommended to its members that a clinic be established for the treatment of local fishermen suffering from the eye disease, trachoma.
The clinic was administered, as Bill Grimsdale's letter to Ira Kaye indicated, "by Captain J Macfaclane, then manager of Holts Wharf, who attended to the clerical work, principally maintenance of patients' cards, while the doctors who gave their services entirely free were Dr TJ Hua, his partner (who was not a Rotarian) Dr KT Lui and Rotarians Dr Olinto de Souza, Dr YS Lam and Dr CW Lam". The Club financed the purchase of drugs, enabling patients to be treated for the magnificent sum of fifty cents each. The incidence of trachoma was apparently so severe that, had it not been for the clinic, many of the patients could have lost their sight completely.
Evidently on to something that was proving tremendously successful, the Club then, under the guidance of Fred Clemo, applied to the government to deed a site on Arran Street in Mongkok. Such a site was granted - the Club continues to hold a deed of trust on the property for which it pays HK$1 per year - and in 1950 the Club held a gala ball to raise HK$75,000 to cover the cost of building a multi-storey clinic.
While one might imagine shining pairs of scissors cutting brightly coloured ribbons to the sound of popping corks, all that is remembered of the official opening is the recollection passed on by Grimsdale. He simply wrote that the opening ceremony was "performed by Fred Clemo on a rather miserable day, weatherwise", and that "shortly afterwards an approach was made to government to take over the running of the clinic under the management of Dr Dancet Browning, the senior government ophthalmic surgeon╴. The Club carried the burden of operating costs during the early years.
During the presidency of Jimmy Keir (1975/76), when the need for a trachoma clinic was less pressing, the Club was approached by the government with a special plan. The government wished to set up a child assessment centre as a pilot scheme to see if comprehensive assessment of children with physical, mental and emotional disabilities would prove worthwhile. Club members were asked to raise money for the refurbishment of the clinic's interior and for the provision of necessary equipment. The government-appointed consultant paediatrician for the centre, Dr Lillian Ko, was invited to address a meeting of the Rotary Club of Kowloon. Her address apparently touched Rotarians to such an extent that a sum close to HK$238,000 was subsequently invested in equipment. When Ko left the clinic, she was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship. Her place was taken by paediatrician Dr Rose Mak.
The clinic opened its doors in October 1977. It was the first clinic of its kind in the Far East, and many similar centres have since been set up. More than three thousand children were assessed for birth defects, retardation and psychological problems, and over the years the Club has continued to expand the level of its service by, for example, financing a visit by the Clinic's paediatricians to the Wolfson Centre London to further their training in speech therapy. The Club also equipped the Centre with Reynell Developmental Language Scales in Cantonese, the first in the world outside English-speaking countries.
In 1983, Club members established the Hong Kong Society for Child Health and Development, the financial support arm for the clinic. Up to this point all requests for funds had been met by the Club itself, but the society was established to facilitate the raising of funds in the community. Since that time fifty per cent of the executive committee membership has comprised Rotary Club of Kowloon members, allowing the clinic to be "closely observed" Annual donations have continued to be made by the Club to the Society.
Explains Kaye: "The Society provides funds for Hong Kong professionals engaged in child assessment to go abroad, to learn new techniques and to return to Hong Kong to disseminate those new techniques to the professional community and in particular for use in the Child Assessment Centre".
Part of the cost of such development would probably emanate from the Rotary Club of Kowloon Endowment Fund. The fund, set up in 1948 with around HK$18,000, has become a major part of the Club's service to the community. It was originally established to assist the assimilation back into the community of young people discharged from detention centres, at a time when funds were not available from social welfare. Similarly applied today, the Fund, now valued at around HK$4 million, currently pays for the tuition of four young people from detention centres recommended to the Club by other charitable organizations. Their living expenses are also met by Club members.
By the time the sixties breezed in, the atmosphere that would continue to make the Rotary Club of Kowloon such an inordinately popular club was firmly established. As Ira Kaye observed: "First you create the fellowship, then you ask for help". The "tremendous personalities" in the Club had made it "a joy to be there" concludes Henry Lim, who joined the Club in 1961.
By now membership had reached sixty-five. Hong Kong's total population, meanwhile, growing rapidly after the end of Japanese occupation, was three million. The year also saw Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan regain the district status withdrawn after clubs in Mainland China had been forced to close down. The first day of July saw the eighteen clubs, with their membership of 750, officially grouped together as district 345.
The year 1961 was a significant time for Rotary. Not only did the Club host its largest-ever meeting when the Peninsula ballroom was filled to overflowing with 400 Rotarians from Australia and New Zealand, who had disembarked in Hong Kong en route to the Rotary Convention in Japan; it also fostered its first daughter club, and a swelling membership welcomed in heavyweights like Henry Lim, Peter Gautschi, Ip Lai and Frank Kwok, who brought Gray Line Tours to Hong Kong.
Henry Lim proved to be a first-class innovator. "I enjoy new ideas," says the gifted principal of Tak Yan School. One of the innovations Lim was most proud of was his re-launch of the Club bulletin, The Tower. Up to now, the bulletin had been printed on a monthly basis, and though it contained a summary of each meeting, details of visiting Rotarians, and an international flavour that highlighted what Rotary was doing and saying from Blackburn, England to Uitenhage, South Africa, Lim considered that it did not have to be so dry. "I was trying to get people to look at it," he explains. Soon, for Lim also loves humour, the bulletin was punctuated with jokes and cartoons; "Attendance is not for building records but for building Rotarians"(author unknown) was typical of the little sayings that would also appear. Lim was also praised in a 1969 copy of The Tower for "putting the bulletin on a sound financial basis."
Also under his belt was the Club's and Hong Kong's first casino night, in 1969; an idea subsequently repeated both within and outside of Rotary. This Monte Carlo extravaganza "raised more than HK$100,000 in one night," Lim marvels. An honorary member at the time was the Commissioner of Police, tactfully invited along to ensure he understood that there were no cash prizes, only more chips or gifts; that the law was not being broken; as was Philip Haddon-Cave, Financial Secretary and later Deputy Governor, invited by Jimmy Keir. The casino night was later followed by a hugely successful horse-racing night at the Hyatt Regency, where Club members were invited to place bets on American races brought to them on video screens.
Gautschi, General Manager of The Peninsula from 1961-86, and subsequently Chairman of hotel management company Swiss-Belhotel, became a member of the Club after Leo Gaddi left. "They liked to have a hotel person there, someone they could grumble to!" he jokes. "But I couldn't afford to serve them lousy food because of public relations: there were always overseas guests there." He recalls the prestige of belonging to an organisation that had only 150 members in the whole territory, and met in the dual rarefied surroundings of the Gloucester Hotel and The Peninsula. "It was," he admits,"a chance for me to meet the elite of Kowloon."
Although Hong Kong Island East and Hong Kong Island West clubs were formed by the mother Rotary Club of Hong Kong in 1954, it was not until 1961 that Rotary Club of Kowloon spawned another club on its side of the harbour, in the form of Kowloon West. The Kowloon Club seconded no members to the new venture, which began under Charter President Wong Wing-yin. Kowloon West is now writing its own history, to commemorate its thirtieth anniversary. In 1964, a second daughter club was founded, the Rotary Club of Tsuen Wan, which changed its name to Kowloon North in 1967. Charter President Norman Rolph had also been a founding member of the Kowloon West Club.
Usually the object of the annual ball was to raise money, as is almost universally the case today with Hong Kong's myriad balls, but under Yeh's presidency (1963/64) he turned the ball into a purely social occasion in the company of the Governor, Sir Robert Black. Everyone made their donations beforehand and then turned up for a delightfully focused evening. "Demand on members' time was quite different thirty years ago," explains Yeh. "People actually looked forward to Rotary functions; now there are so many things that outshine our balls."
By 1966, membership had reached eighty people. One newly-inducted member was Larry Parmanand, who still has the copy of Adventure in Service in its waxed-paper cover, presented to him on 17 Nov 1966 under the presidency of Run Run Shaw and secretary James Coe. Raymond Koo's particular memory of that year was succumbing to one of Run Run's special fund-raising drives: "I can still remember paying HK$500 to kiss a movie star's cheek!" he laughs. The Club made plenty of money out of the President himself. With its tradition of fines for appearing in print, Shaw was to pay heftily for an article in Life magazine entitled, "The World of Run Run Shaw".
The Club proudly recorded that since its formation a grand total of HK$641,921 had been set aside for charitable donations.
Though the Club did not suffer any undue loss in membership or impetus, 1967 was a difficult year for the Club, as for Hong Kong. "The period of unrest came to a head on 24 June when a general strike was called ... but it was not a success," reviewed the Hong Kong Annual Report. "The Kowloon Motor Bus Co was the most seriously affected, but nonetheless managed to continue to provide emergency services".
If Rotary needed to regain impetus, it was certainly given a shot of enthusiasm with the arrival of Ira Kaye, an American businessman who brought with him a strong, Junior Chamber of Commerce background that culminated in his appointment as World President of the organisation. He was invited to a meeting by Run Run Shaw and recalls that: "It was very easy to become active then," since senior members did not have sufficient time to devote to the range of new projects under discussion. Kaye's first project was Rotaract - the Rotaract Club of Hong Kong Baptist College was chartered on 19 March 1969 by the Rotary Club of Kowloon - before becoming Secretary for two years which was, "when I really got to know what Rotary is all about." His tireless work for the Club, and his unrivalled commitment to community service in Macau, have long since gone down in history.
By the end of Rotary year 1968/69 membership was up to eighty-eight, the Club had just sponsored a daughter club in the New Territories, and it was a happy crowd that celebrated the Club's twentieth anniversary. The Peninsula marked the occasion by magnanimously laying on a free lunch, and Fred Clemo supplied everyone with a celebratory glass of wine.
"In the days of Ira Kaye you had to think big!" laughs one member, and he was not thinking about the size of the season's flared trousers.
In the case of Sven Birkholm, the Danish member who carried the Club through to the new decade, he had to be big enough to honour a promise to shave off his beard. During his presidency year, a challenge to raise the princely sum of HK$100,000 was set by Kaye, who also challenged Birkholm to shave off his beard if the unlikely-sounding total was reached. The President agreed, recalling: "I didn't even expect to raise half of that". At the deadline meeting, Birkholm was greeted by The Peninsula barber, all set up for a veritable stage show. The total had indeed been reached. "Never underestimate Ira," lamented Birkholm. He was not forced to succumb to the ultimate shave at the meeting, but duly rid himself of his beard. It grew back, he recalls, on a timely safari in East Africa.
Henry Lim, lauded in a Club bulletin as being: "energetic, personable, versatile," officiated as President during the highly successful term of 1970/71. Many members fondly remember one meeting, when it was announced that Lim was sharing his birthday with members Les Firth and Ed Gamarekian. The two members were wished suitable greetings, but for the President there was a kiss, delivered by a girl who jumped out from the centre of an enormous cake that arrived at the table on wheels.
Around this time, another key Kowloon Club player was emerging in the shape of Lane Crawford's Jimmy Keir. He first came to the notice of the club as Fellowship Chairman when, in December 1970, he organised a family day, where everyone was asked to bring a gift to be given away in Macau. Keir was also praised, in the bulletin that put the finishing touches on Lim's year, for another fellowship event: "The entertaining of more than 100 Rotarians and their Annes from Scandinavia on 13 May was an event that few clubs could emulate," wrote bulletin editor Bill Hackett. He also singled out Gamarekian's programming, which had concentrated on such topics as Hong Kong's pollution problem, making members "better informed on many aspects of life and problems in Hong Kong and the New Territories which can form the basis for intelligent involvement in the community."
At the eleventh District Conference in Taipei, the Club walked away with more awards than any other: Lim was presented with an outstanding service award for his presidency term; outstanding service awards were also presented for the community service project that provided equipment for the Trappist Monastery Guest House on Lantau, and for sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Kowloon East. The Club was honoured for its contribution to the Rotary Foundation, and for producing the largest number of Paul Harris Fellows. James Coe received an outstanding service award for his performance as District Governor representative and for organising the Kowloon East Club.
This new club had received its charter in December 1970 and begun meetings at The Peninsula with thirty-eight members under the presidency of T T Ng. Like its mother Club, Kowloon East went on to be honoured for producing the largest number of Paul Harris Fellows: one hundred per cent in 1978.
A record HK$142,366 went on community service projects that year, by virtue of fundraising activities that included a comic Chinese opera, in English, called, Happy Though Married.
Kaye describes his presidency in 1973/74 as a "real fun year". His style was to keep the meetings light and enjoyable: "I have always believed, as Fred Clemo did, that Rotary provides a diversion during the afternoon where you meet with other Rotarians and forget problems you had that morning.
"I made a point of finding out which artistes were in town, and invited them to come along". Thus one lunch-time saw members entertained until an unprecedented three o'clock by Sammy Cahn, pianist and lyricist for Frank Sinatra. On another occasion, British baritone and ex-Goon Harry Secombe, who was staying at The Peninsula, was even persuaded, with a little General manager-style influence from Gautschi, to sing for half an hour.
Kaye's year was soon followed with his appointment (1977/78), as the first western District Governor. This was not an easy year for him, but determination and commitment made it at least a successful one."If there is a quality called Rotaryness (and if there is not, there ought to be)" recorded the bulletin that marked the end of Kaye's year, "Then it is certain that everybody would agree that President Ira personifies this quality."
Membership was fast approaching ninety, with one of the new recruits of 1973 being Michel Arnulphy, dubbed by someone, "that walking United Nations", by virtue of his mixed blood. He was invited by Tony Tiampo, a member of the family that built Chung King Mansions, now resident in Canada, and a member of a Vancouver Club. "He stops by when Lane Crawford has a sale," mocks Arnulphy in a style typical of the light-hearted comments that are exchanged over Club lunches. Arnulphy became, and has remained, an active member, regularly serving on the board though he has never accepted presidency. "When you run a small-to medium-sized company, you really cannot delegate enough of your own work to take it on," says the engineer, echoing the sentiments of many Rotarians. It is clear that office holders take presidency very seriously, and only agree to the task if they feel confident about the amount of time and energy they will be required to put in.
Also inducted during that year was John Abbiss. His entry into the Club had much to do with the presence of his "great buddy" and father-in-law, Phil Carberry and, at thirty, he was one of the youngest members. Abbiss conducted his business from a suite in the Peninsula for five years and recalls how: "All I had to do was walk up the stairs, into the ballroom - and always back by two o'clock. The food was terrific, the company was great!" Carberry, a retired engineer now living in Portugal, is a face well-known to those who have seen his caricature on the wall of the Kowloon branch of Jimmy's Kitchen.
Bob Harilela walked into the first meeting of his presidency year (1974/75) in a safari suit, and though certain members could not allow this aberration to pass without comment, it seemed that the in-coming President had set a new fashion trend. There was certainly nothing starchy about his year. Banter between him, Sergeant-at-Arms Calvin Wang and Immediate Past President Kaye ensured lively meetings, as did the contributions of that master of the English language and director of the Lutheran vocational Training Centre in Kwun Tong, Bill Williams, a Welshman who loved nothing better than to "take the Brits to task", as one member recalls. Gordon Bell, director of the Royal Observatory, whom someone styled 'the famous sleeper', was admitted to the Order of the British Empire and Fred Clemo celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday.
President Jimmy Keir (1975/76), admitted that he was somewhat fazed by the stature of some of the members, like Sir Run Run Shaw. But as Arnulphy confirms, status had rarely been something lauded at this Club. "The tone is set. If Gerry Forsgate throws a cracker at me, he is going to get it back. It doesn't matter who he is!" Keir continued in Kaye's vein of lighthearted programming, though content began to lean towards the more serious. The appearance of one particular dance troupe had been enough to cause Bieger to have a quiet word with certain members about what was, and was not, appropriate for an establishment like The Peninsula. This ticking off may have been the catalyst.
Although it had always been customary for the President of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong to entertain any overseas Rotary officials, the responsibility of hosting the visit in 1975 of Ernesto De Mello, Rotary International President, fell to Jimmy Keir. It was during this trip that the desire for Hong Kong and Macau to have their own District, separate from Taiwan, was first brought to the attention of the international body. In fact, it was not until 1987 that Taiwan was given the number 348, and became a separate district from Hong Kong and Macau.
These were still the days when a meeting was not complete without a closing joke from Israeli member David Burgin, who would often find himself quoted in the Club bulletin.
It was not until the mid-seventies that Rotary began to grow at a fast rate in Hong Kong, taking the total of Clubs up to nineteen by the end of the decade. Many members of the Rotary Club of Kowloon believe it was this growth that began to mark the change in the atmosphere of Rotary at large. "Rotary in Hong Kong exploded when they did away with restrictions as to where you worked and lived, and the categories were split up,╴ commented one member. It was a change that Hari Harilela, for one, has welcomed. He believes offering membership to a wider community has improved the movement's image, widened fellowship, given rise to more ideas and created opportunities for larger, joint projects of greater benefit to the community.
In 1991 the Rotary Club of Kowloon was one of thirty-four clubs in the Hong Kong/Macau District, and one of over 24,000 clubs worldwide with a combined membership of more than one million Rotarians. By the year 2000, Rotary International intends there to be more than two million Rotarians, and how Hong Kong fits into this master plan remains to be seen.
The Rotary Club of Kowloon will celebrate its landmark fiftieth anniversary in the year 1998. Few people express concerns about the existence of the Club, or indeed any other Rotary clubs, come that birthday. The belief is that China will have reinstated Rotary by 1997: indeed it is the declared goal of the District Governor for 1991/92, Andres Guillen, to see the revival of Rotary in China. This is to begin with the establishment of a China Projects District Committee to encourage clubs actively to look towards China.
An explosion in the size of Rotary could easily emanate from China, where, starting in 1919 Shanghai, twenty-five clubs were formed only to be disbanded by the Communists. Ira Kaye, for his part, already has a group of businessmen meeting regularly for lunch in Guangzhou. The future of Hong Kong lies with China; Rotary will surely play its part.
In the words of an unrecorded Past President of Rotary International: "Rotary is indeed at work in the world, in a world which is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but fellowship. We are facing the latter years of the twentieth century. If we are to help shape the future, let us renew our efforts to make Rotary a living force in human relations with each individual member vigorously at work, each club something more than an insignificant detail in a beautiful tapestry. There is yet time and one may yet hope to make this neither the century of the East, nor the century of the West, nor the century of Communism, but the century of every man."
|IPP:||PP Marco FOEHN|
|Hon. Secreatary:||Rtn. Martin GANZ|
|Treasurer:||Rtn. Anthony CHAN|
|Membership Chair:||Pres. John YAU|
|Rtn. Andre ASSMANN, Rtn. Anthony CHAN,
PP Marco FOEHN, Rtn. Martin GANZ,
Rtn. Florian KNOTHE, Rtn. Stefan KRUMMECK,
PP Fred MOK, PP Edward PONG,
PP Calvin WANG, Pres. John YAU,
PP Chris YEUNG
|PP Calvin WANG|
|Endowment Fund Director:||PP Edward PONG|
|PP Chris YEUNG|
|Pres. John YAU|
|Sergant-at-Arm:||Rtn. Stefan KRUMMECK|
|Community Service Director:|
|Club Adviser HKUST:||Rtn. Peter LIU|
|Club Adviser BUHK:||Rtn. Florian KNOTHE|
|Club Adviser Kowloon:|
|Website/Email:||Rtn. Andre ASSMANN|
|Legal matters:||Rtn. Marcus CHU /
PP David LAW
|General:||Rtn. Albert CHANG /
PP Daniel LAM
|Rtn.||ASSMANN||Andre||Environmental Consultant||27 Jun|
|Rtn.||CHAN||Anthony||Building Service||7 May|
|Rtn.||CHANG||Albert||Real Estate Invest||21 Mar|
|Rtn.||CHU||Marcus||Commercial Law||7 Dec|
|PP||FOEHN||Marco||Education Admin||30 Mar|
|Rtn.||FUNG||Wing Chung||28 Jul|
|Rtn.||JEHLE||Philip||Private Banker||11 Jan|
|Rtn.||KEENAN||Antony||Cloud Accounting||1 Apr|
|Rtn.||KNOTHE||Florian||Museum Curator||17 Jun|
|PP||KOEHLER||Klaus||Overseas Rep||22 Dec|
|PP||LAW||David||Corporate Finance||5 Oct|
|PP||LEE||Frank||Musical Instruments||5 Dec|
|Rtn.||LEE||Jason||Executive Search||5 Sep|
|PP||LIM||Henry||Senior Active||15 Oct|
|Rtn.||LIU||Peter||Executive Search||29 Aug|
|Rtn.||LUIPPOLD||Hans-Peter||Internet Marketing||6 Aug|
|Rtn.||LUNG||Alfred||Watches Publishing||3 Mar|
|PP||MOHAN||Obe||Garment Export||29 Apr|
|PP||NEWBERY||David||Airline Pilot||26 May|
|PP||PONG||Edward||Steel Manufactur||4 May|
|PP||WANG||Calvin||Dental Surgery||28 Aug|
|Rtn.||WONG||Jack||Internal Med||14 Jan|