The Flywheel

Next Meeting: April 20th

Project Well

Founder and Director of Project Well from the University of California Berkeley , Dr. Meera M. Hira-Smith will talk about Project Well which provides safe drinking water to West Bengal after she witnessed firsthand the devastating effect of arsenic exposure in that region.

 

Meeting of Friday, April 13th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Stoney led us in the invocation today, asking for a moment of silence for “Peace and Freedom on Earth”

Rotarians with guests

  • Liliane brought the entire International House with her to Rotary today—well not quite all, just 17, but it sure woke up our sleepy club.
    Her guests were visiting scholars from China (9 guests), Brazil (1), France (4), South Korea (1), and two from India. They all did their best to introduce themselves in English, which is better than I would have done in China for sure. Ni Howe? See I told you so. Some were Fulbright Scholars, one of the guests came from a family of Rotarians, and all of them commented on how beautiful California is and how happy they were to get the opportunity to visit here. Frankly, I am kind of sick of the place. Maybe a trip to China is in order, where you can get your oxygen bottle refilled at the concierge desk.
    Liliane also brought her husband Ken Koziol to lunch to enjoy the festivities.
  • Pam brought her fiancé, Neville Guard, Roshan Guard, and their friend Yasmin Kotval to lunch.
  • Alan B brought his daughter Stephanie to lunch.

Announcements

  • Our last meeting at Mira Vista will be April 27. The Mira Vista club was unable to lower the minimum number of lunch servings to meet our budgetary needs. See you at Richmond Country Club May 4th for a first meeting in Richmond proper since I became a member in 1917.
  • Josh S thanked the Rotarian (himself) for attending Happy Hour at the Mac. Next Friday it will be at La Strada and he will remind us.
  • Joan Davis awarded a Paul Harris +4 to Pam Jones.

Happy and Sad Dollars. Recognitions

  • Joan Davis gave some happy dollars to the club to recognize the recipient of the new city annual volunteer award, given to our own Felix Hunziker.
  • Josh G or S— I forgot—but both donated some dollars to celebrate finally having a Rotary lunch venue within the city limits.
  • Jim Young wanted to let the speaker know that India was polio free last year.
  • Jon Lawlis, a familiar face some years ago, will be in town visiting this month and donated $20 to the club.
  • George also was happy that he is finally done collecting cash for his big brother – IRS.
  • Mark Howe is happy that his boat safely navigated the treacherous Farallon Islands in the recent crewed Farallon race, but very sad that some of his friends did not. "When we were passing the wreck some 10 minutes after the Mayday call we had no idea our friends were dying in the huge white foaming surf. There is a reason they call these islands the Devils Teeth."

Norm's Nonsense

Did you pay your taxes?

- The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.

- Of the two basic certainties, death and taxes, death is preferable. At least you are not called in six months later for an audit.

- I wouldn't mind paying taxes, if I knew they were going to a friendly country.

PROGRAM

A Visit from the Consul General of India,
the Honorable N. Parthasarathi

Liliane Koziol introduced the Consul General of India, the Honorable N. Parthasarathi, who arrived in a large black government limousine. Mr. Parthasarathi is a middle aged diplomat with an impressive resume. He was the ambassador to South Korea, Sengal, Cape Verde Islands and has been employed by India Foreign Service for his whole career. Beyond that, he is an accomplished fiction writer.

The Consul General noted that the financial meltdown that has hit the rich western developed economies hard has not affected the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies as much, even though it has been global in nature unlike previous crises.

India can be thought of as 22 geographic regions each with its own language and separate alphabets – a very difficult hurdle to overcome when unifying a country – yet India has. The country presents a fabulous success story today. He says that the Hindu religion teaches acceptance of ones differences, which Mr. Parthasarathi says helps his country overcome this challenge.

India is now growing at 6.9%; 54% of the population is under the age of 24, and Muslims, who make up a large portion of country are not violent, unlike Al Qaeda. Yet again, the Hindu philosophy encourages Muslims to be accepting of others, and others to be accepting of them. India now comprises 23% of the world’s GDP.

Despite all of India’s success there are still many challenges. 400 million people do not have electrical service. Clean water is a continuing problem in many regions.

India has the largest democracy in the world and has an innovative electronic voting system that can deliver voting outcomes, reliably, in 24 hours. Maybe that is why they have 50% voting turnouts—much better than in the US where non-uniform voting laws and "hanging chads" frustrate voters, in a country widely regarded as being in decline. Could this be one of the reasons?

- Rotating Editor, Mark Howe