A great cocktail of serious talk, colour and sparkles RI dignitaries who attended the Chennai Institute have taken back warm memories home of the great hospitality, interesting sessions, and above all, the colourful cultural bonanza that the host city, Chennai, has to offer. Here are some of their impressions.

What did you think of the various sessions at the Chennai Institute. Who are the two speakers who impressed you the most and why?

TRF Trustee Jackson Hsieh

TRF Trustee Jackson Hsieh:  The sessions were all very informative. Ms Shivani’s “Balance Sheet of Life” presentation made a great impression on me. I also got great ideas from Dada J P Vaswani’s “Light Up Rotary.” He’s a very noble and wise 95-year-old with lots of experience and positive insight.

Kristin Brown, Manager, Rotary Service ­Connections: I liked President-elect Ravindran’s “straight talk” on the issues facing Rotary globally and in India. Also both PDG Deepak Kapur and PDG Aziz Memon at the Polio update.

How do you rate the work done by Rotary India?  Which areas have they excelled in?
JH: Rotary India is an excellent region, I give them a 10. The event in Chennai was so bright and uplifting, just like the International Assembly and Convention events.

KB: I am very impressed with the work being done by Rotarians in India. I have visited projects in both Mumbai and Chennai and was moved by what I saw. I learned a great deal about work with disabled and disadvantaged children. I was amazed at the degree to which Rotary steps in and provides for Government schools and builds and staffs hospitals and other healthcare centres.

My favourite project is the Winners Bakery. It is a highly successful bakery which is able to support several vocational training projects from bakers to nursing students to computer classes.

Your general impressions of India, Chennai, particularly the “time out” sessions, the serious talk, the dances and other performances.

JH: The dance performances were absolutely amazing. One of my favourites was the procession during the Opening; so lively and energetic with one speech followed by a performance, one after the other. It really kept the energy high.

Seeing the excitement and diligence of the spastic children really moved me. They gave it their very best and showed nothing is impossible. Bravo!

KB: I really liked the dances from different parts of India.

Kristin Brown

What did you think of the flag ceremony and the film of Rotaractors carrying the flags in a boat from the southern tip of India to Chennai?

JH: The flag ceremony was unique and the Rotaractors great. The first time I’ve ever seen such an elaborate ceremony/video outside international conventions such as in Sydney.

KB: This was a fun way to “tour” India and get a glimpse of other sights to see — for my next trip to India … whenever that will be.

Any other comments on the Institute?

JH: I did sightseeing in Chennai only a few hours after the Institute; I spent my time with my aide DRFC Muthu Palaniappan, who was very friendly and welcoming. He showed me two famous Hindu temples and two churches, and I enjoyed the little time I had very much. My first visit to Chennai impressed me a lot and I hope to return soon.

KB: An impressive agenda with Rotary senior leaders, representatives of the Indian and Pakistani governments as well as prominent Indian artists and spiritual leaders! I appreciated the opportunity to visit an artists’ colony and some traditional homes in Chennai, as also the beach, Vivekananda House, Central Station and a Hindu temple.

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