My Dear Rotarians and friends, in particular my Action Presidents,
I am sorry if you could not access Frank Devlyn’s Website based on what I gave you in my last letter and I thank the readers for letting me know early. In a rush, I had typed a dot between frank and devlyn. The correct address should be –
I urge you to visit Frank’s webpage if you have not already done so. You would like it. There are latest pictures, logo, theme, speeches and so on.
Well, the International Assembly was over yesterday. Most of the 529 Governors-elect left Anaheim in the morning, beginning as early as 4:30am. There were two other couples from Hong Kong, viz., Dom and Christian Vessigault, and Jason and Rebecca Yeung. The Yeungs left Anaheim Hilton around 8:00am to catch a plane to Hong Kong, and I bet they are now resting. They were here for the Task Forces meetings. Specifically, Jason has been appointed Vice Chairman of the Children at Risk Task Force with responsibilities for all 34 zones in the world. On the other hand, Dom and Christian were one of the six pairs of Sergeant-at-Arms who volunteered their time and service at the Assembly. Coincidentally, both the Vessigaults and the Wans left Anaheim in the same coach for the Los Angeles airport to San Francisco, on separate flights though.
It took us an hour and 10 minutes or so to reach the airport at LA. The local Rotarians pampered us all the way from Anaheim Hilton. They had Rotarians in red uniforms standing at each turn and at curbside of every major airline, holding up the Rotary logo, making sure that things would not go wrong. This is something we can seriously learn to emulate when we host any Rotary International events. Back to LA. We arrived in good time for our flights to learn that most flights to SF were delayed due to bad weather there. It was raining rather heavily, we found out later. As things turned out, our flight was delayed by nearly three hours, and I don’t know about Dom’s. Worse, the airline announcements were few and terse, and the services on the plane were not much to write home about. We arrived SF in pouring rain shortly after 4:00pm. Edward Lau, a past president of RC of Kingspark, was waiting with his wife Alice. We had arranged to have lunch together, before making our way to Berkeley. It being too late for lunch, we made our way to Berkeley, or in that direction.
I have never seen so bad traffic in San Francisco. Edward was patient and rather supportive. He said that considering that it was Friday, past four o’clock and raining, things could be worse. Our revised plan was to pick up our children in Berkeley and have dinner somewhere. Our son had gone to visit his sister and they had been waiting there since 4:00pm. By 5:30pm, it became clear that we could not get there in at least an hour. We called the children and asked them to take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to SF to meet us in a restaurant. They estimated that they would be there in half an hour. In the end, it took them more than an hour.
Edward took us back to Durant Street in Berkeley. It was nearly 10pm, so much for the first day after the International Assembly.
Closing of the RI 2000 International Assembly
I described in my last letter the opening address of the Assembly. Let me share with you a segment of the Closing. To start with, it was a 129-table event with assigned seats. There were the obligatory, but well deserved and from-the-heart, thank-you speeches. President Carlo Ravizza then urged the Governors-elect to create awareness and take action with consistency, credibility and continuity, after wishing them a most successful year ahead and a safe trip home.
Then it was President-elect’s Closing Address. Once again, Frank entered with his signature tune, jovial, uplifting and characteristically quixotic. He asked Anaheim Hilton to spotlight on his three daughters as he proudly introduced them one by one, having been surprised by their appearance without prior notice earlier that evening. He was actually telling the truth. I know because that afternoon, Rosita met Gloria Rita at the hotel lobby. Gloria Rita told Rosita that the three daughters were coming all the way from Mexico, without the father knowing beforehand, to listen to his Closing Address. And it was another rousing and moving speech. Towards the end, against the background music of the Impossible Dream and with the slide of Don Quixote tilting the windmill behind him, he said that he would be sending 529 Don Quixotes out into the world, not just Don Quixote as a dreamer, but a Don Quixote that goes out, creates awareness and takes action. He called them Action governors 2000-2001 with a mission. He ended his speech on a high note as the music reached a crescendo, and once again to a standing ovation and seemingly unending applause.
See You Soon
Rosita and I will stay here for a couple of days before returning home with our son. There is a lot of work awaiting us, but I am confident that, with the support from the Rotarians back home, we would make the year ahead a difference for all of us.
Talk to you soon.
John Wan, from Berkeley.