Bulletin 23 May 2011

Dave Foreman


Attending: Alisa, Cat, Mr. Chu, Donna, Driya, Fred and Mandy Brauer, Gabe, LLoyd, Marilyn Patricia, Probo, Rosalind, Rucina, Sue W

Apologies: Bruce (USA for medical treatment), Don and Sue Bennett (USA), Jody (USA), Dennis (USA), Driya, (Australia), Janet (traveling through Europe with her darling daughter), Jeremy, Kadek (in the field), Philip, Probo, Tjok Raka, Rustiasa, Tangsi, Zsuzsa, (Canada)

Guests: Guest Speaker Lyn Robinson, Rtns Eka Iskandar and Komang Mastra (RC Bali Taman), Alit Ariana (RYLA Graduate), Phillip Malone, Ela Albisser, Harriet Napier, Elizabeth Napier, Scott Greenfell, Lawrence T, Frank, Jeni and Abby.


DG Al’s hard work has paid off!  Indonesia”s District 3400 will become two districts in July, 2012, two years earlier than expected!  Rotary International decision-makers recognized how extraordinarily difficult it is for one DG to administer to almost 100 clubs spread over an area as huge as Indonesia.  In turn, it will be our responsibility to increase membership so that each of the two new districts has at least 1,000 members.

Alits thanks our club for his sponsorship

We were honored this evening by having Eka Iskandar and Komang Wd. Mastra, members of RC Bali Taman, in attendance.  RC Bali Taman is a power house club with 99% of its membership comprised of women… (We say 99% because we vaguely recall there may be one or two male members… but we could be wrong). Eka and Komang came to thank the club for sponsoring a physically challenged youngster, Alit Ariana, at  RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership in Action event.  For Alit, it was a great opportunity to hone his confidence and decision making skills.   He stood to thank us, looking quite happy and empowered by the whole experience.  Our club thanks RC Bali Taman for coordinating the sponsorship program.

Payangan”s Bukian #elementary school is at the heart of this  project, which is now officially completed and the final report is being prepared. We popped by to see how the sporting equipment was being used and again had to separate the teachers from the ping pong table! The sporting equipment was definitely meant for the children but it seems to have incidentally done a lot for teacher morale.

Temukus Water Project:  Just a brief word about the Temukus water project….work has not yet begun but neighboring villages have already heard the project is on the drawing boards and asked if they could participate.  Temukus village leaders are all in favor of sharing.  On June 5 club members and Rotaractors will be heading to Temukus to meet the village leaders and become better acquainted with several architecture/engineering university students who are taking an interest in the project.

PP Marilyn was given permission to brag about the kindergarten in her village.  The kindergarten, in operation now for the past four years, has been attracting some delightful attention.  A year and a half ago it was recognized as the model kindergarten in the Gianyar Regency, six months back it was awarded IDR 5,000,000 to be used at the discretion of the teachers and then last week, a phone call from the Bali Provincial Office of Education asked for a meeting to discuss the possibility of a new kindergarten building.  Wouldn’t that be terrific!

This one is for the birds! And yet another new building is under construction….Rtn Cat reported that RCBUS has donated a nesting box for a family of Bali Starlings (isn’t that a small building?). These beautiful birds were near extinction until a program sponsored by the Friends of the National Park successfully helped to bring them back.

***Rtn Bruce continues to get medical treatment in the USA but e-mails show Bruce is maintaining his usual fabulous sense of humor.  He’s under orders from Pres Sue to make a rapid recovery and get himself back to Bali!

GUEST SPEAKER:  Lyn Robinson

Our guest speaker this evening was Lyn Robinson, just a teeny tiny slip of a woman and a world-wide expert on SHARKS!

Lyn has studied sharks all her life and is very concerned about shark overfishing for the “fin trade.” And yes, sharks really are fish, even though they don’t have real bones, just gelatinous structures that serve as bones. There are 130 varieties of shark in Indonesia, which is considered to be shark heaven. Interestingly enough many of these sharks are not hunters, and live on plankton.

Should you ever meet a shark Lyn gave tips on how to courteously deal with it and avoid an unpleasant encounter.  First don’t swim far from shore (beyond the reef), or in murky waters , or in late afternoon (feeding time). If you insist on living dangerously, avoid wearing anything flashy like jewelry that could cause a shark to mistake you for a shiny fish.  And finally if you find yourself nose to nose with a shark stay calm and slowly swim away.  To help focus on staying calm keep in mind that the more activity on your part, the more likely the shark is to become ever more interested in you.

Current estimates are that over 73 million sharks are killed each year, although the number may be five times higher. Sharks have a low reproductive rate, some carrying their young for up to two years and most sharks giving birth to a very small number of young.  The resulting devastation of their stocks, primarily to supply fins for the popular shark fin soup in Asia is alarming. This is despite the fact, attested to by our own Donna Lum, that the fins have almost no taste; the sole appeal is as a status food.

Sharks are “apex predators,” making them an important part of the food chain. In Australia, where stocks have been heavily depleted, sharks no longer control the octopus population which preys on lobsters, so the lobsters have disappeared.  One answer to bringing back the shark population is “Shark Tourism.” In Palau, for instance, sharks now have more value alive in the water than dead.

The U.S. and Australia both have strong shark protections in place. But Indonesia remains the world’s largest shark fishery and there is no enforcement at the “artisanal fishery” level. Poverty in coastal villages here makes the $10 per fin a strong incentive to keep killing them. The collective impact of large numbers of small fishing villages throughout the archipelago keeps the pressure on sharks. Some NGOs are working throughout Asia to raise awareness at this local level.

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