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Rotary Club of Taipei - The First Club of Taiwan

Rotary International District 3480

Host of the RI Convention of 1994

Home Club of RIP 14/15 Gary C.K. Huang


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THE ROTARY CLUB OF TAIPEI was born on October 9, 1948. On that day, the Club with 28 members, received its charter from Rotary International. ROC Past President C. K. YEN, who in all these past 44 years has remained a member of our Club, was elected Charter President.

           It was just three years and a few months after the end of World War II, and the formation of the Club was of very special significance, since Rotary is an international organization where freedom, justice, truth an world fellowship are inherent in its goals. It was also at that time that the seat of government of the Republic of China was moved to Taiwan owing to the Communist menace in the mainland.

            Even in its first year, our Club had the potential of becoming a truly international organization. Of the 28 Charter members, 22 were Chinese and 6 were foreigners, mostly Americans.  Today in our 53th  Rotary year, Our Club has over 90 members with 24 different nationalities.

            THE FIRST TEN YEARS The Rotary years 1948-49 through 1958-59 were years of "firsts." Dr. Ton So-Kim, our Club's candidate, was awarded the first (in Taiwan) Rotary Foundation Fellowship in RY1949-50. In December 1950 our Club held its first Charity Ball at Kwang Fu Hall in Taipei. TYPHOON made its first appearance in July 1951, with ET as its first editor. The intercollegiate English oratorical contest was started in RY 1956-57.

            A delegation of Taipei Rotarians and Rotary Anns attended the Inter-City Forum of Rotary clubs of Taiwan. Hong Kong and Macau in Hong Kong in March 1952, and in April 1953 we sent its first two delegates to attend the Rotary International Convention in Seattle.

            Ten other Rotary clubs were formed in Taiwan during our Club's first ten year. With our Club as sponsor, the Rotary Clubs of Keelung and Tainan were chartered in November 1953, and the Rotary Club of Kaohsiung in the same Rotary Year. These were followed by the Rotary Clubs of Hsinchu, Pingtung, Chiayi, Taipei West, Ilan and Taichung, all chartered in RY 1954-55, and the Rotary Club of Taipei North chartered in March 1959.

            Orphanages and underprivileged children were among the first beneficiaries of our Club's charity contributions. In October 1951, our Club helped install a tap water system for the Peitou Orphanage and an enclosing wall for the Ai Ai Liau Orphanage. A free evening school for underprivileged children was opened at the Wanhua YMCA in June 1954, and the I Kiang Children's Garden, equipped by our Club, was opened in June 1956. Our Club also gave provisions to the crew of the junk, "Free China," that sailed across the Pacific in March 1955, and established an emergency fund at the Taiwan University Hospital in January 1957.

            Other important activities of Our Club during its first ten years included a Courtesy Contest held in January 1950, a "one-price movement" started in February 1957, the dedication of 3 Rotary cabins at the YMCA Fu Lung Camp in August 1957, and a "Rotacom" basketball tournament held at the International House in June 1958.

             Two RI Presidents visited Taiwan in that period A. Z. Baker in December 1955, and Clifford A. Randall, with his wife, in November 1958. Rotary International celebrated its Golden Anniversary in February 1955; the late President Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China sent greetings.

             THE SUCCEEDING YEARS - RY 1959-60 saw the birth of District 345; in June 1960, the Rotary Clubs of Taiwan and Hong Kong and Macau were given District status. In April of the same year, the Chinese Rotarian Quarterly magazine made its first appearance.  In May 1961, the first District Conference was held in Taipei; and the Chinese Rotarian Quarterly was later recognized by Rotary International as the official regional publication of District 345.

             The years that followed, particularly the following ten years from RE 1968-69, are years of fast growth and expansion, not only of our Club but of the Rotary movement all over the country and in District 345. Our growth is measured not so much by the increase in the number of our members, but by the international composition of our Club's membership and by the multiplication of our activities and the increase in amounts of funds that we were able to donate to charity, and by the expansion of our services to both our Club and members and the community at large, and by our increased participation in District and International Conventions.

              We have continuously increased our contributions to the Rotary Foundation, and the number of Paul Harris Fellows among our members and some of their Rotary Anns. We have not stopped aiding the orphanages and underprivileged children who were among the first beneficiaries of our charity work. On the contrary, we have expanded these activities to also include the aged, the handicapped, and other needy persons.

               Our Rotary Anns have continuously and very ably assisted the aged for many years. The Women's Community Service Committee has expanded its projects to assist the handicapped and orphans as well. Aside from the traditional Christmas or New Year Party that w hold for underprivileged and crippled children, we also sponsored in 1981-82 a garden party for children patients at Cheng Hsin Medical & Rehabilitation Center.

               Our major community service projects, which are supported form contributions received during our annual charity drive, were indeed major projects for the community. In RY 1980-81, we supported the Taipei Life Line, in RY 1981-82, the Children's Cardiac Foundation. With funds of almost NT$2 million from the 1982 Charity Ball, we supported two major projects in RY 1982-83; the Rota-car Project to be administered by the Salvation Army, and the Chen Kuang Activity Center (join project with the Rotary Club of Taipei Ta-an). The funds collected in the 1983 charity drive were used to help the home for unwed mothers and the home for retarded children.

                In cooperation with other Rotary Clubs in Taipei, and as our contribution to the 3-H program, we donated US$50,000 to build water tanks for refugees in Thailand in RY 1980-81. In RY 1981-82, in line with the year's theme, World Understanding and Peace Through Rotary, we prepared slides depicting Rotary in the Republic of China and the activities of our club, for distribution to other clubs in other countries. We also visited and donated to the community service projects of our sister clubs in the Philippines. 

                 In 1982-83, our Club signed sister club agreements with the Rotary Club of Chicago and the Rotary Club of Westmount. Our other international service activities were the Thanksgiving Party for International StudeClub had the honor to have several heavyweight ministers of the ROC to address the Club: Minister of Foreign Affairs-Dr. Fredrick Chien, Minister of Economic Affairs-Mr. Vincent Siew , Minister of National Defense-Mr. Li-an Chen....

                                The major community service project for 1984-85 saw our club giving NT$300,000 to the Taipei Talking Library for the Blind and NT$200,000 to the Ai Ai Home for the aged.

                The major community project for 1985-86 was of equal importance: a van was purchased for the Sunlight Culture and Education Foundation and NT$300,000 was given to the Taiwan Scoliosis Foundation.

                The 1985 annual Inter-Collegiate English Oratorical Contest for Universities was held in June. The first prized was a month in London.

                Our Paul Harris Fellows numbered in 1985 at 50. We were well-represented at Kansas City in June at the annual RI Convention: both Secretary Bob and Rtn. Farmer were there.

                The Rotary Year 1986-87 was the most productive year of the club as PP. Gary C. K. Huang served as District Governor of District 345 that year. With his inspiration, the club added 26 Paul Harris Fellows and initiated an island wide scoliosis screening project with the support of the neighboring District 346 and District 347. About 150 1st grade girl students of the Wesley Girls Middle School were the 1st group who received the screening with the help of scoliosis registered nurse Miss Ruth Shannon and Rotary Anns.

              In the Rotary Year 1987-88, our club concentrated on the scoliosis screening training sessions. We sponsored 2 sessions: one in Hualien and one in Taipei. Thanks to Rtn. Jimlee who translated the slide tape provided by the Rotary Club of Novi, Michigan for use at the sessions. Chinese letters, brochures and posters were distributed to the session participants. Other community service projects included donating NT$300,000 to the ROC Foundation of Autistic Children and Adults in Taiwan and 26 mattresses to St. Anne's Home and sponsored a blood drive, jointly with Taipei Hilton Hotel., Ritz Hotel and Rebar Hotel, with over 700 people participating. The Women's Community Service Committee donated daily necessities to orphanages and visited Little Sisters Home for the Aged twice.

            The International Service Committee under the Chairmanship of Rtn. Hydraulic sponsored another exchanged student Ms. Calaf Huang, to S. A. and signed a sister club agreement with Rotary Club of Kyoto, Japan. In addition, the Board of Directors approved to sponsor the Foundation of the Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro Inc., which is well organized in the Philippines as our project for "World Community Service" for RY 1988-89.

                 The Rotary Year 1989-90 was under the leadership of President Captain and the club was marching towards our 41st year of services. The Club service committee was led by our Vice President Bearing Jr., and focused on improving our weekly meeting attendance, membership development and weekly program. The vocational service, under the chairmanship of Rtn. Wang, as usual, planned for a career conference for college students, vocational tour, and a Secretary Day.

                 The community service committee chaired by Rtn. Healthcare, focused on another blood drive to save lives, participated District Community Service Project to cooperate with the Police Station to promote the safety of our neighborhood.

                 International service committee, chaired by Rtn. Mac, continued to host another exchange student, Ms. Desiree Buys from South Africa, and sponsored a local student to S.A. We continued to solicit more Paul Harris Fellows to support the Polio-plus Campaign.

                 President Peter led the Club during Rotary Year 1990-91 with his innovative style of leadership, setting a lively, dynamic atmosphere at the meetings, as the Club was marching towards the 42nd year of services. The Club Service Committee was under the chairmanship of Vice President Pierre, who organized a successful Fund Raising Dinner Party, including the auction session presided by P.P. Philip, selling airtickets sponsored by KLM, China Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, United Airlines, Dragon air, etc, it raised over one million for the Major Community Service for the forthcoming year. The Program throng that year, due to the efforts of Program Chairman Rtn. Peat, President Peter and VP Pierre, the Club had the honor to have several heavyweight ministers of the ROC to address the Club: Minister of Foreign Affairs-Dr. Fredrick Chien, Minister of Economic Affairs-Mr. Vincent Siew , Minister of National Defense-Mr. Li-an Chen....                 

                   The 43rd year commenced under President Pierre's leadership and his charisma. The Club Service Committee, according to the Club's tradition, soon to take over the presidency for the coming year, is led by Rtn. Way. Out of his tight schedule, he still managed to see to the arrangement of his subcommittees activities. Among those distinguished guest speakers, Dr. Samuel Shieh of National Central Bank of China, Mr. John C.I. Ni of then Industrial Development & Investment Center, MOEA, Dr. Wu, Kuan Hsiung of CETRA, Mr. Peter Bien of China Airlines, Dr. Otto Lin of ITRI honored the Club by giving us informative speeches from their fields.                  

                    Rtn. Casablanca, a new Rotarian in town, happily took this task and worked closely with subcommittee members, the press, ICRT, local corporations, and the Rotary Club of Taipei Capital. With the above helping hands, the blood drive led by Rtn. Casablanca again proved to be a great success and drove more attention from our society. The total collection of blood is 2774 units.

                    The Major Community Service Committee under Rtn. Foto with the consultation of several senior Rotarians, selected the project to reconstruct the Cathwel Nursery. Through this sponsorship, the name of the Rotary Club of Taipei was properly exposed to the public and the Cathwel also received more attention accordingly.

                    After a successful sister club tie with the Rotary Club of Kyoto for 3 years, the Club decided to continue this tie with them, and a delegation from Kyoto came to visit our weekly meeting on April 16. Besides a warm welcoming weekly meeting and a formal contract signing ceremony, PP. Bearing and PDG Gary and several Rotarians played hosts to entertain our honorary guest. Another 2 year of sister club tie was signed to continue the fellowship between our two Clubs.

                    Two Rotary International Matching Grants programs were adopted by the Club: One is the Eye Bank of Manila, the Philippines, the other is a program to purchase facilities for a school for the blind in Istanbul, Turkey. With the encouragement of Rotary Foundation Subcommittee Chairman Patrick, there were 6 Paul Harris Fellow donors who received recognition on President Pierre's Inauguration Ceremony.

                    With the endeavor of the Club to get involved with the R.I. community, the Club was the number one 1991-92 per capita contribution to the Rotary Foundation in District 3480.

                    With the official visit of R.I. President and Madam Raje Saboo, PDG Gary was assigned to unite 7 other Rotary Clubs meeting on Thursday in Taipei to organize a welcoming party on March 26.

                    RY 1992-93, Rtn. Way takes over the presidency and endeavors to make our Club a truly international Rotary club by recruiting more members from different nationalities. To enhance a tighter fellowship between members, more fireside meetings are expected to be held. Hiking/jogging, bowling, golfing will also be scheduled during this year.

                    To fulfill his commitment, President Way ordered that a "Baseball Day" be held with the support of Rtn. JC, who is known as the director of Mercury Tiger's Baseball Team.

                     The Club is to establish a "Sister-Club" tie with the "Mother Club of Hawaii, " the Rotary Club of Honolulu, through the efforts of Rtn. EFE and Mr. Roy Wu, formerly Director General of the Coordination Council for North American Affairs and now the ROC Representative in Honolulu. The Agreement was signed in January of this year.               

            In the year of 1993-94, President Richard leads the Club to actively organize and participate in many activities, which includes an informal meeting in Shanghai City on November 13, 1993, and we are lucky enough to meet a 97-year-old, former Shanghai Rotary Club President back in RY 1934-35, PP Percy Chu, through the introduction of Prof. Ching T. Yang, who was a former Rotarian of Rotary Club of Wuxi.

            The 1994 R.I. Convention in Taipei City is another highlight of this Rotary year for every Rotarian here. To show our leadership, the Club hosts a Welcoming Party for R.I. Top Executives and Local club presidents on June 9, before the formal commencement of 1994 R. I. Convention on June 12, guests of honor include R.I. President Robert Barth, R.I. President-Elect Bill Huntley, R.I. Board of Directors and the keynote speaker Dr. Fredrick F. Chien, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

            Women's community service, led by Rtnn. Nancy, become active again. Their activities include: holda trip to the Heart Journey Foundation to find out their working situation in helping the heavily mental-retarded children; hosting a lunch for 30-40 orphans at McDonald's; tour to the Chang's Foundation -
Hong-Hsi Art Museum and the back of the house of the Grand Hyatt Hotel .

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