Posted by: masaranghk | February 9, 2014

2014, a new year and new opportunities

Every New Year we look back to learn from the last year, so dear supporters and readers let me begin this message with that thought. Last year I visited Hong Kong several times and it has been enormously gratifying! The year brought many breakthroughs.
willie2014 I saw so many intensely focused eyes of students, teachers and staff during my 15 or so lectures of the last year and Adrienne Watson did at least as many presentations as well. She also helped, together with some really supportive school staff and Garuda, to enable many students, as part of their CAS program, to come to Indonesia to see for themselves what the lectures really told and to participate hands on in good work to make our world a better place.
They also brought many donations of things that are hard to get in Indonesia. These items brought a great deal of joy for the animals, including the specialist bird food for the newly rescued 89 Lorikeets bought by a small group of Victoria Shanghai Academy Year 4 girls (see to the right), who had made a great deal of effort to fund raise. Thank you to all those who donated items!

Masarang Hong Kong spent time with the staff and students of a number of schools who then visited Tasikoki animal rescue centre or helped with a project. Staff and students of the VSA even set up a Masarang Club, which I think is great.
The ESF (English School Foundation) invited me to speak at their future leaders conference and I visited many of their schools. After that, a large group of teachers and staff of the ESF and VSA visited some of our projects in Indonesia to set up an environmental curriculum to become a constructive part of their educational program.  This program will link classroom lectures to actual field situations in Indonesia that will, with the continued support of ESF, even be visible through cameras and the Internet in classrooms. I feel that this cooperation has created a solid basis for a long-term cooperation that will benefit everyone.

During 2013, we had many meetings with the Masarang Hong Kong committee members in various places in Hong Kong, but several times in the Garuda Indonesia Airlines office that provided their meeting room for free. adrianlam2014It was a pleasure working with and formulating projects with Dr. Merrin Pearse and Ms Sharne McMillan. It was with some sadness to see committee member Ms Lindsay Clappe leave Hong Kong for London and Royce To take on new responsibilities in Hong Kong. I wish them both all the best for their new endeavours. We hope that we will be able to get some more volunteers to support the good work of Masarang Hong Kong. Adrian Lam, our accounts executive here on the right with Adrienne Watson, took wonderful care of the bank affairs, accounts and other official paperwork.  We are grateful for his continued help as well as the guidance and support of accountant, Mr Ken Deayton.

In 2013 I was asked/voted to become president of Masarang Hong Kong, which I was pleased to accept. Hong Kong is such an important place for my country Indonesia as a gateway to China and as a place from which wonderful support has been gratefully received. I am really pleased to have a chance to work with a network of good individuals and organizations that share the Masarang vision for a better and sustainable future for people and nature.

I intend to visit Hong Kong regularly, the next visit being on 28th March, when I will be speaking at the ESF Environmental Conference. I am also hoping to provide you with even more updates from the field that show that it is possible to make a real difference for a better world, even when we come from different cultures and are in such remote geographic locations. I hope you will frequently come back to this website in the new year to read our updates and hopefully feel motivated to become supporters like many friends and Masarang Ambassadors in Hong Kong have done already.

Gung Hei Fat Choy!

Dr.Ir. Willie Smits
Tasikoki, 27-1-2014

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