Why I Joined Rotary in Bangkok

This Meeting’s Highlights
Speaker: Chip Bowness
Program: Why I Joined Rotary in Bangkok
Meeting for the week of August 17th to 23rd, 2015




You are joining the innovation-focused, education-interested, entrepreneur-supporting, good-looking, and impressively humble members of the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley for their meeting this week. Good choice!

I’m the rarely-in-one-spot-for-long president of this online club, and emphasizing the point, I am writing this greeting from a currently-in-the-air airplane.

Our members are people whose lives make attending a meeting in one place at a particular time each week rather challenging. We teach, we travel, we find ways for technology to help us get to know each other no matter our locations, and we care about making the world a better place for everyone.

If you know people who have a heart for service, but whose day-to-day lives have kept them from joining Rotary, please share our site with them!

Rotarian guests, we ask that you contribute whatever for you is the regular cost of a Rotary meal to the efforts of our club. We provide several options below:

Send via our secure Happy Dollars form.
Send via Google Wallet to: [email protected]
Send via PayPal to: [email protected]

To pay via Google Wallet or PayPal, you’ll need to log in to your account with those companies.

Those of you who prefer a more traditional approach can mail a check made out to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley to our treasurer: ℅ Allen Thompson, 13500 Cascade Ct., Bakersfield CA 93314.

Non-Rotarian guests, you are certainly welcome to help us out, too! Even a small amount can help us make something good happen for someone in need.


Calendar Reminder

Members, please block off the early evening of Saturday, August 29th. More on why, below.

Technology and Connections

This video is about a young man determined to use what he knows to connect with his family. If you haven’t seen this before (and even if you have), you’ll want to tell others about this story.

Saroo Brierly – Homeward Bound


The Power of Images

Member and Club Camera Czar Keith Marsh has another photo he got on his 2014 trip to Cuba.

140201Cuba5Trin406b by KMarsh

“This photo was taken on my trip to Cuba last year with Canadian photographer Richard Martin. He is the master of these blurred motion images. It was taken at 1/6 sec while moving the camera quickly up and down.”



What We Do

Meeting the Challenge

President-elect Mitty challenged every member to invite someone to take in one of our meetings during the month of August. Have you done so? Feel free to mention this in the comments or in the Happy Dollars section. We have such a great group in this club – why not tell others?

It’s not hard to do, of course. Send a note with the message that this is how you stay in touch with people around the world who are giving their time and talent to improving their communities.

Raising the Bar on Socials

Mitty, Stephen, and Shags, three of our team working to make cool socials happen for our members and prospective members, are taking cool gatherings to a new level this month.

On Saturday the 29th from 5:30 to 8:00 at Irish Monkey Cellars in Oakland (1017 22nd Avenue, Oakland, CA 94606), we’ll enjoy meeting with some of the Rotary Young Professional Summit group who will be in town for their gathering, the impressive wine offerings of the establishment, and (wait for it…) a signature skill of Membership Chair Shags: a home-made paella.

Check your calendar now, and do what is needed to have that time blocked off for this very cool shindig!

If you know you’ll be there, say so in the Disqus comments at the end, so we can start getting a count. Also, if you would like to carpool from the Santa Clara area, let Rushton know.


September Socials

Look forward to more potlucks, beer and wine socials, and much more coming up for our September and October calendar dates! If you have any suggestions for socials in the Silicon Valley / Bay Area, please leave us a comment in the Disqus section at the end of this meeting.

Rotary District 5170 Conference & Annual eClub Meetup

Club members, please mark your calendars for the weekend of Friday, April 29th, through Sunday, May 1st. That is the weekend of our Rotary District 5170 Conference happening in San Ramon, California. We’ll be talking more about this event as it gets closer to the date.

While it’s understandably hard for some of our members who live further away to make our regular monthly socials in the Silicon Valley, we do ask that all members strongly make an effort to attend our annual meet-up during the Rotary District Conference. It’s a great time to meet and break bread with your fellow club members, while representing our club at our district conference. More information coming soon!



A major apology goes to both Andrew Taw (Aug. 3rd) and Yvonne Kwan (Aug. 6th) for not getting their birthdays mentioned in a previous meeting. I bow humbly in your directions.

m(_ _)m

Andrew, on your birthday in 1492, Christopher Columbus left Spain on what turns out to have been a fairly significant outing.

Yvonne, on your birthday in 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

Sounds like you both are following in the footsteps of some pretty adventurous folks! I hope your birthdays were good ones.


The World of Rotary

Piece by Piece

This very short video is a quick capture of the latest success in Rotary’s number one service effort over the last few decades. If you draw a blank when you get to the Happy Dollars section below, feel free to mention this!


District Newsletter

Governor Susan has put out the August newsletter for our district, and you can get all sorts of info on grants, being a technical advisor, youth service, a cool message from our buddy Rotaract District Governor Janel. Enjoy the newsletter at this link.


Service Time

Service doesn’t stop at participating in some small or large effort. Telling the story of what you did can inspire others to find similar opportunities in their communities, so we prompt our members to let us know what they’ve been up to lately on the service front.

Members, please tell your stories via our Service Survey!


Happy Dollars

There are probably moments you’ve had in the last week or so when something made you smile, and if so, we hope you’ll toss in a few $$ and share it with the club using the secure form below.

Fill out my online form.



The Tidbit

Geographic Kudos

Seven of our members – Paul Mosso, Gene Tognetti, Allen Thompson, Martin Fox, Andrew Taw, Rushton Hurley, and Lisa Highfill get special kudos this week. Why? Because this is the group that answered Lisa’s challenge to add themselves to the map Lisa created for us to help fill out in a recent Tidbit!

You can learn how to make your own personal maps with Lisa’s contribution to The Tidbit this week! Ready? Click play, and you’re on your way.

If you want to repent for missing the opportunity to add your spot on the map of our members, feel free to go back to the meeting of the week of July 27th, scroll to the Tidbit section of the meeting, and follow Lisa’s directions.

A Little Humor

This week, we take an intellectual turn with this two-liner found on Reddit.

Q. Why was Pavlov’s hair so soft?
A. He conditioned it.

Selected Comments from Last Week

We love having our members and guests tell us what stood out to them in each week’s meeting, and welcome your comments using the Disqus system you’ll find after the program. If the quick and easy creation of a Disqus account isn’t something that appeals to you, you can use Facebook to sign in and leave a thought, or even email the thought to: [email protected]

Last week, member Heather Shaw told us about her path to our club, and described the service project her team at Nova Chiropractic in Santa Clara does to help a local middle school. The extra twist was asking for ideas on how to improve the effort, so below you’ll find both general meeting comments and a little brainstorming!

member Lisa Highfill (California, USA):

“What great work you are doing Heather! I am always grateful for supplies from parents so all kids have what they need. I spend countless dollars every year purchasing pencils and paper etc. for my classroom. I think the kids eat the pencils – we go through them so fast! One thing my school has done that I love is to create a giant tree bulletin board in our school office. Teachers post paper apples on the tree with specific requests and parents can take and apple anytime of the year and fill the need. I worked for years with Books for Barrios in Concord – we collected supplies and books and shipped them to students in the Philippines – a wonderful project. I would love to see this scaled for needy schools in our neighboring towns! Reading Savage Inequalities in college was a game changer for me in terms of how kids right across a river could have a totally different school experience.”

member Martin Fox (Utah, USA):

“Great photo Francois and I loved the Lost Generation video. YouTube tutorials are invaluable for me – thanks to Rushton for providing info on how to laser focus my searches. Great job Heather in making a meaningful difference with the kids.”

member Andrew Taw (California, USA):

“This is wonderful Heather! When you told me about this a few months ago, I had no idea that you had done this for 11 years! So I have an idea that I’ve been nursing for the past couple years that I think is somewhat relevant. Piggybacking on Frank’s suggestion about leveraging Interact and Rotaract members, it might be great to find out when finals week for each semester is for your district and gather Interact and Rotaract members (who tend to be academically proficient) to lend a couple afternoons to hold tutorial hours that are free with a donation. These can be promoted to the parents at PTA’s and with fliers all around town that say “Free Tutoring!” and such. This way, you’re raising donations for education by providing the service of education!”

guest Eve Dolkart (Honduras):

Great presentation and excellent community work you are doing, Heather! Also, I love the intro video on refusing to believe in being part of a lost generation…we can learn tools to keep changing the world with YouTube tutorials 🙂

member Linda Tangren (California, USA):

“Thank you to Heather for your work with the schools! I think you have the foundation for converting this into a Health Fair for the school and the community at-large. Do you have a committee in place already? You could incorporate Interact and Rotaract members as part of this committee. Interact is full of worker bees. Rotaract could help with social media, so could many high school students. The Health Fair could help us build a healthy community. As for cash donations, public schools generally funnel monies through the parent association onsite. Just a few ideas.”

member Catherine Liu (California, USA):

“It will be great to have some school projects soon around our areas, such as maybe teaching kids tech, math or even SAT prep…”

member Keith Marsh (California, USA):

“Good to see others submitting photos of interesting places around the world. Well done, François. Love the Tidbit on YouTube. It’s a great way to learn specific technical issues with Photoshop and other programs. Thanks, Heather for taking the time for an interesting and worthwhile program. I referred last week’s program on membership to my wife who is the Membership Chair for the Rotary Club of San Rafael. She liked the information and will share it with her club.”

member François Tessier (Quebec, Canada):

“Dear Heather, Chiropractic saved my life!! I was involved with an NGO called Chiropractic without Borders in Canada. I like the festival idea from Nathan! I would suggest creating a fun music video with the students of the schools to attract attention on the students. I like the idea of making e-meetings where we can contribute with ideas in the comments area. It makes it more involving for the club members! [from Heather: I luv the video idea and will see if I can get some students involved. Maybe hit up the drama and choir classes for their skills.]”

member Heather Shaw (California, USA):

“Thank you for all the ideas at the meeting; we have started the letter campaign to local businesses! Thank you everyone for all your support and I appreciate all input.”

This Week’s Program

Our speaker this week is Rotarian Chip Bowness, a Canadian who has lived and worked all over the world. While there are all kinds of reasons people join Rotary, I think Chip’s reasons will resonate well with the members of our eclub.

Chip joined the Rotary Club of Bangkok South in 2011 after returning to Bangkok, which offered among other benefits the opportunity to volunteer to locate, develop and implement projects to improve the lives of Thai and Cambodian people, particularly those in greatest need. Among others, his club’s projects have included flood remediation for a temple and school in a Thai farming village following the disastrous floods of 2011, improvements and scholarship program development for an orphanage in Battambang, Cambodia, and most recently relocation of an AIDS hospice from a city site subject to flooding and overcrowding to a new purpose-built structure in the countryside outside Bangkok. He and his wife Dawn Lynn currently reside in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada, and have one son and one grandson.

After a career in the Canadian Army as a combat engineer, Chip moved to Lebanon in 2003 to work with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as Chief Advisor to the Lebanese Army National Demining Office for landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) removal. Subsequently, he moved in 2004 to the UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok as Asia Region Landmine/ERW Program Manager. From 2007 he was Senior Advisor for Fund Raising and International Development for the US Security Coordinator, Jerusalem and Ramallah. He has lived and worked in Afghanistan, South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Germany, Israel and the West Bank.

Many thanks for inviting me to be part of your presentations. If interested in contacting me about any of this, feel free to email me ([email protected]). You can learn more about what happens in The Rotary Club of Bangkok South at its website: http://rotarybangkoksouth.org/


I Attended!

Fill out my online form.
  • Nathan Gildart

    The work Chip does is truly inspiring. (we are relatives) I’ve seen him “in action” over the years and in particular as an adult have been able to take a lot of what I’ve seen form my own family and transfer that to my own approaches to service work. The project in the hospice demonstrates a no nonsense, get the job done attitude, drawing upon a network of reliable individuals that can help improve people’s lives. Well done Chip!

  • Keith Marsh

    Sign me up for the Social event in Oakland. I will let you know if my wife (Rotarian) will also attend. The My Map Tidbit by Lisa is something I am going to try for me next trip. Thanks to Chip for the program by a dedicated Rotarian.

  • Kudos, Chip. Getting things accomplished is always the goal. You’ve cut to the chase, removing the necessary.

  • What an inspirational presentation. Putting thoughts to action. I am Wowed! Your action comes from the heart and really makes the difference. I admire what you are doing. Bravo!

  • ShagsCA

    Another informative, engaging and fun meeting, Rushton!

  • Catherine Liu

    I love the using google map to find hometown story. I even watched his long presentation.

  • Martin Fox

    Chip – you are the definition of PURPOSE, PASSION, AND INSPIRED ACTION. Thanks for modeling the way and incorporating robust project management to give the entire process discipline and rigor.

  • Andrew Taw

    Chip, thank you so much for your inspiring work and presentation! And thank you Rushton for the birthday wishes!

  • Hardeep Kaur Singh

    Great meeting! Sign me up for the Oakland social. I’ll be there! Can’t wait!

  • Yvonne Kwan

    Chip, thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us. I think your actions resonate with everyone in this club when you saw a need and decided to do something about it. Rushton, thanks for the birthday wishes! Awesome tidbit from Lisa — I always wondered how those nifty little maps were made. Sadly, I won’t be able to make it out to the Oakland social this month, but it sounds like an amazing event!

  • Allen Thompson

    Every time I hear about an amazing bit of service work, I am reminded of the Nike slogan, Just Do It! Of course, it really isn’t quite so simple. It takes planning, resources, and nerve. That last one is the one that most often trips us up. And that’s where Just Do It! comes in.

    Schools are opening up across the country for the new school year. Remember to look out for children and Drive Carefully!

  • Richard Knaggs

    A moving video of how technology can help us. I still can’t access the maps features that Lisa telling us about. ): I have emailed my Administrator. Chip you are a true humanitarian.

  • Great tidbit! I am considering using to show the donators for the school drive event so people can readily find them. Thanks for the inspiration. Wow another truly inspiring rotary member dedicating himself to a cause Well done.

  • john lozano

    Another great meeting. Chip, thanks for the presentation. I continued to be inspired by the work of other Rotarians. Keep up the great work.

  • Paul Mosso

    Chip, thank you for the presentation and telling us about your work; it is truly inspiring. On another note, Keith I love the photo, the colors and the blurring is cool.

  • mahmood khan

    Chip, very good presentation. A noteworthy presentation. Thanks


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Copyright Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley 2015-2017, located in Rotary District 5170 in the sunny Silicon Valley of California, USA. Rotary International club #86428. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected]

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