Click on the dates below for past Rotary Club of Koh Samui Newsletters:
ROCKS Have Moved!
President Claudio, IPP Philip, Rotarians Peter Breaks, Adèle Smith and Wally Smith, visited Renaissance Resort and Spa to discuss the matter with GM Lutz Mueller. The choice was inspired by the Resort’s hosting of a Fellowship several months earlier, and members attending had been impressed by its pleasant aspect and warm hospitality.
Lutz showed them the resort’s meeting space, the Lotus Room, which was much admired by the group. He said that there should be plenty of space to meet the club’s storage needs. During the break between December and January meetings, members set to with a will, and cleared themselves out of the Dalah Room in Impiana, and transferred themselves to the Lotus Room at Renaissance.
The first meeting in January took place at the new venue, and a buffet meal accompanied the serious discussions about the New Year programme. President Claudio put forward his proposals for projects during the remaining 6 months of his tenure. These included a Valentine’s Ball, already in planning, a Second Hand Sale (following the success of the sale in September), and a project close to Claudio’s heart, an Art Competition for local Thai Artists. The programmes for all of these were discussed at length, the most pressing being the Valentine’s Ball, just over a month away. Tasks were divided among members present, to be followed up at subsequent meetings.
14th Grand Valentine’s Ball at Baan Taling Ngam
December, the last month of 2009, was extremely busy for ROCKS members, with the culmination of two major projects, Kid’s Weekend and The Respirator for Koh Samui Hospital.
But first, on 5th of December, in time honoured fashion, Rotary Club of Koh Samui paid its respects to the King on the occasion of his birthday alongside Thai residents of Koh Samui. Immediate Past President Philip Parker standing in for President Claudio, who had been called away, was joined by Rotarians Wally and Adèle Smith. They presented their Panpoons, and then enjoyed the candlelit singing at Nathon Pier, followed by a spectacular firework display.
The following Thursday (10th) saw the arrival of 31 children from the Mercy Centre, for the 6th Annual Kid’s Weekend). IPP Philip, Wally and Adèle travelled to Donsak to greet the 3 minibuses carrying children aged between 3 and 18! They arrived just in time to catch the 9am ferry, and were soon on their way to Koh Samui.They were greeted at the idyllic setting of Baan Taling Ngam Resort by GM Nigel Tovey and his staff, alongside Father Joe Mieir and Khun Ratana who had flown down ahead of their children. The children were shown to their rooms, but were soon ready for a splendid lunch provided by Beach Republic. Indeed, apart from breakfast courtesy of Baan Taling Ngam, the children were provided meals by a variety of top resorts on the island. The next four days were a whirl of activity, as the children divided their time between the Resort’s swimming pool and venues such as Namuang Safari Park.
They also enjoyed a sports day, when events such as 3 legged races and musical chairs were much enjoyed by the younger and older children alike. But the highlight of the afternoon was a visit by the ‘Samui Pirates’ who brought their high powered motorbikes for the children to sit on, and then take a ride in the safe area round the resort. Finally, on Sunday (13th), children from Panyadee School, came to join the Mercy Centre children, and presented them with Christmas gifts that they had donated themselves. Then, assembled Rotarians, Baan Taling Ngam Staff, Panyadee staff and children and many ‘Friends of Rotary, sadly waved the children goodbye as they left for the long journey back to Bangkok. (Read More).
The first meeting in November again concentrated on the approaching Kid’s Weekend, with Lorraine Clark, de facto Head of the project, drawing together all the final threads. The four day visit promised to be packed with activities designed to enthral the youngsters, whose ages range from 5 to 18; activities that range from an Ice Cream party in the due to be opened ‘Scoops’ in Lamai, to an Art Competition which requires the children to put their concept of Koh Samui onto paper. As in previous years, Seatran Ferry has offered to allow the children to travel free to and from Donsak, and Namuang Safari Park has offered to host the children at their crocodile, monkey and bird show.
The second meeting of November also saw its share of visitors, who braved torrential rain to join the event. Tony Miranda, recently learning of the Rotary Club, came along with 2 like minded friends, John Woodward and Steve. Another visitor, Jerrold Kippens, a Lawyer, also discovered the Club and came along to witness its activities.
The Treasurer, Adèle Smith, proudly announced that as a result for vigorous fundraising and generous donations, the Club had accumulated the greatest sum in its Project Account, in its entire history (except for the separate Tsunami fund raised over 4 years ago)! While acknowledging that all the funds were committed to various projects, it was an excellent achievement for this small but active group of Rotarians.
Immediate Past President Philip Parker then informed the meeting that as a result of his discussions and liaison with Chislehurst Rotary Club (England), Rotary Club of Patong Beach (Phuket), Rotary Club of Uetliberg (Switzerland) and one its members, Dr Peter Tschudi, Rotary International Centre (Bangkok) and Samui Hospital (Nathon), the Respirator that the Club has worked so hard to fund had now been ordered, and was due to be presented to the hospital on Sunday 20th December at 1100. Dr Tschudi would also be present, with an Oxymeter donated by himself, and probably another from his Rotary Club! Rotary Club of Koh Samui felt extremely proud at that moment, to have achieved its ambition of raising the necessary funds.
On a similar note, Treasurer Adèle also said that the Kid’s Weekend fund had also exceeded all previous records, and had sufficient funds to give the kids the weekend of their lives! Panyadee School had offered to encourage their children to offer Christmas gifts to the visiting children, Craig Mackechnie, who had read of the weekend had offered sponsorship, as had Mercure Fenix, a new resort at Hinta Hinyai.
Fellowship Evening Red Snapper 27th November
The Fellowship Evening rounded off the month of November and found itself in an unusual location, an Italian Restaurant in Bang Rak. Though well know to the local residents of Bang Rak, it was a relatively unknown to most of the members and ‘Friends of Rotary’.
42 members and guests arrived to a welcome cocktail at this delightful location, where owner and chef Stefano was busy preparing a gastronomic feast. Wine, courtesy of Italasia and Royal Coffee Company flowed freely during the repast.
In addition, 3 bottles of wine were also offered as raffle prizes. Together with the Renaissance prize of a Dinner for Two, and a beautiful ‘Tourist Calendar’ with spectacular photographs of Koh Samui and Phuket, the 3 bottles of wine encouraged guests to purchase more raffle tickets, especially when they were informed that it was in aid of the Kid’s Weekend!
Events in November:
The first meeting of September brought another visitor to the Club, Monty Torres of Brush, Colorado, America. Monty spoke about his club and its fund raising efforts. He described local projects, and also the purchase of ‘Shelter Boxes’ to help in areas of crisis. Monty then exchanged banners with Immediate Past President Philip, who deputised for President Claudio.
IBIS SAMUI ADVENTURE TROPHY RACE
Saturday 19th September found a small group of Rotarians, led by President Claudio, manning a Water Station on Bophut Beach at the incredibly early hour of 6am! Over 200 runners of all ages were preparing themselves for a Fun Run ahead of the main event.
When the excitement was dying down, the main event began to ‘hot up’, with Adventure racers limbering up. Around 66 teams of 2, complete with mountain bikes, lined up for their mass start. Ahead of them was a course which involved an off road cycle ride, running, swimming and finally kayaking, expected to take around 4 hours. When they had been sent on their way, 36 teams of ‘Extreme Racers prepared for their turn, opening with a short run to their kayaks, to do the course in reverse, but for much longer time of up to 7 hours!
The Rotary contingent, having done their duty at Bophut Beach, headed off to Maenam to assist with the changeover between swimming and kayaking, and again dispensing much needed water. President Claudio was put to better use in employing his expertise in photography.
The day was judged to be a great success, giving an excellent boost to the island in these difficult times. The Adventure Trophy Race will be an annual event, and is sure to be supported by the Rotary Club again in the future.
FELLOWSHIP MEAL AT BEACH REPUBLIC
September’s choice of location for the monthly Fellowship Meal was at The Beach Republic, Lamai. This fairly recent addition to the resort scene of Samui, and its innovative design was well matched by its innovative menu! Rotarians and guests were greeted with ‘Welcome Cocktails’, and enjoyed meeting up with old friends before being ushered into dinner. Chef Martin excelled himself and the indefatigable staff took care of their guests. After the meal, Chef Martin was called out to be thanked, as was his staff. Martin was then invited to draw the 2 raffle prizes.
SECOND HAND SALE AT BLUEWATER
On Saturday 26th a ‘Mega Second Hand Sale’, was held at Bluewater School, Chaweng, and was part of their Childrens’ Day Event during Samui Mala Week. ROCKS had teamed up the Women’s’ Business Network (WBN), who had taken charge of the organisation for the collection of goods from all over the island. On the day, several Rotarians, their partners and members of WBN set up their stall and waited for their customers to arrive. Even before the opening time of 2pm eager shoppers descended on the displayed goods. There was little to choose in the enthusiasm of the local Thai people, and the expat community in searching out and snapping up a bargain. At 5pm, a reduction in price set off another wave of buying. With some monies in Collection Boxes yet to be reckoned up, the tally for the afternoon was over 45,000 baht. The Sale was deemed to be great success, and President Claudio reaffirmed his decision to hold another ‘Mega Yard Sale’ during the early months of next year.
Children from ROCKS adopted School, Wat Jaeng, brought along beautifully crafted items made from waste materials. They set up their stall alongside the second hand sale, and sold their items in aid of their school fund.
To round off this delightful event, there was an impressive fireworks display, though with a lively wind gusting round the area, it meant that some of the audience had to hastily run from the golden sparks raining down on them!
Sabrina Grimwood and Lorraine Clark, much missed past members, were also present, as was Khun Jantira from Rotary Club of Chiangmai Airport.
The main purpose of the Club assembly was to ‘Brainstorm’ ideas for Projects and Fundraising during the year ahead. Claudio led the way on Fundraising, with 2 novel ideas for the Club, the first of them being a ‘Mega Yard Sale’. Claudio’s idea was to encourage everyone to contribute new but unused items that would be desirable objects for potential buyers. This idea was welcomed, but it was suggested extending the idea to second hand goods. There was already a ‘Second Hand Goods Sale, being planned by the Women’s Business Network, to be held on Children’s Day as part of the Global Mala Week, and ROCKS members were invited to join with the WBN, and be assigned the proceeds for its main Project his year, the purchase of a Respirator for Koh Samui Hospital in Nathon.
Claudio’s second idea was warmly welcomed; that of holding an art competition aimed at local artists, to encourage them to produce original works of art. Prizes would be awarded, and funds would then be raised by auctioning the paintings. During the lively discussion that followed, it was proposed to extend the competition to children. Mountain Bike Holidays
Other Projects and Fundraising ideas were also listed, and would be worked on by Club Members during the year ahead. The Club Assembly was deemed to be a great success, leaving Club Members enthusiastic about the outcome of the ‘Brainstorming Session’!
A superb 5 course meal followed, complemented by wines specially selected by the sponsor, Khun Somchai of Strategic Catering Company, and enhanced by sparkling water, courtesy of Italasia. The Chef, Khun Noi, had to be enticed out of the kitchen to accept the thanks of all present with a warm round of applause.
After the meal, President Claudio thanked the hosts for the evening and also the indefatigable staff who had done such an excellent job. PP Adèle then asked for everyone’s support for the 6th Annual Kid’s Weekend, which would take place in December, and for which the Club would be seeking sponsors for the travel costs of the children. She finally spoke of the upcoming ‘Mega Second Hand Sale’ on 19th September at Bluewater School, in partnership with the Women’s Business Network, to raise money for a Respirator for Koh Samui Hospital, Nathon.
Finally, the raffle was drawn, with two wonderful prizes being offered by Poppies, a Dinner for 2, and a 2 Night Stay with Breakfast.