August 31, 2000



Actually, PP JOHN SINGLETON and YOE are studying the possibility of forming the International Fellowship of Old Geezer Rotarians with Hernia Operations. JOHN had his a couple of weeks ago, and mine was this past Monday. At my table today there were several others who almost qualified, but they weren't quite old enough. It may be that funding will be a problem, but we are willing to consider any matching grants that may be available. Stay tuned, as we know you will -

PDG BILL GOODWYN strode forward fearlessly to lead the Pledge. He was followed by a new musical combo - BILL MAXWELL on the squeeze box and new member TODD GURVAS as our conductor. TODD was seated at my table, and when he returned I told him he did very well, considering the doubtful vocal quality of those he was trying to lead. Next up was DONN CONNER, who had quotes from Kingman Brewster, plus Mortimer Kaplan, reminding us that the difference between the tax collector and the taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the hide!

Introduction of visiting Rotarians was by RAY ZICKFELD, who passed it off to MARK BLOCK. MARK had his father in law, Bob Berman, PDG from Jackson, Miss and brother in law, Steven Spector. BILL MICHAEL brought Special Guest Tom Saires, a retired professor of Business Management from USC, plus David Jenkins from RHI Consulting, who has guested with us before. LEO TSENG was accompanied by Athena Jackson, and GEORGE DEA once again introduced Gaea Schwabee, last year's Rotaract President, and this year's Co-President, Yumi Hara. ELLIOTT TURNER brought Clarice Evans and RALPH SMITH was with his significant other, Betty Good. BOB YOUNKER was accompanied by his lovely daughter, Kathy, who leaves this weekend for a new job in Washington D.C. Shirley More was with us, as President of the Rotary Auxiliary.

Amid all this good news, PP TOM LENEHEN was braced to explain his recent trip to Mammoth. Prez STEVE suggested that TOM had some ulterior motive in visiting the local Rotary Club, and despite his disclaimers, was fined 325 clams for this expedition. TOM pointed out, fairly it seems to YOE, that in a couple of weeks he was going to Europe, and at that rate of fining, he probably couldn't afford the trip. Stay tuned. Next culprit was new member Neal Zavlosky, who coughed up a hundred bucks for missing two recent WVRC meetings. GEORGE DEA reappeared to remind us of the Club Assembly coming up on Sept. 28th at Riviera, with featured speaker District Governor Vicki Radel, plus Diana Ross, one of our scholars. New member Ken Kilpo reminded us of the Walkathon for the American Heart Association, at Mattel on Sept. 23rd. This prompted PP ROY BELOSIC to point out that such community service events should be routed to him, so he can get them into local newspapers. And PP JIM SUMNER announced the next Golf Tournament for October 2nd, plus thanking the members for their concern after his recent fall.

LENORE MULRYAN then introduced one of the candidates for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, Lee Broekman. She is of Yemeni-Moroccan descent, and has the most accomplishments of anyone her age that YOE, for one, has ever heard of. She graduated from the University of Judaism, worked at KCET, has given seminars in time management in the LA School system, and for the last year has been a deputy for our local City Councilman, Mike Feuer. An impressive candidate, and it's good to know that top students like Lee are attracted to our Rotary Scholarships. TED IHNEN introduced our speaker, Dr. Richard King, Dean of the School of Business and Director of Pacific Rim Studies at Woodbury University. His topic was Perspectives on China Today - and since he has been there FIFTY times since 1979, he is certainly well qualified to cover the subject. China is today the world's third largest economy, after the US and Japan, and their goal is to be # two by 2005. One of the guests with him in 1979 was the CEO of a large deodorant company, and he was enthused - "imagine, one billion people - why, that's TWO billion armpits"! Dr. King pointed out to him that there was only one customer, really, and that was the government.(At that time, that is)

The rapid rise in China's status was temporarily derailed in 1989, after Tienanmin Square, but everywhere now you hear the words, "Let's get down to business". People can now be openly critical of their leadership, which is allowed because commerce is replacing politics as the driving force in China. It is a risky market, but is developing rapidly. Dr. King suggested a proposed trade - for each piece of apparel we import, we will export one lawyer to them, but their appeared to be some resistance to this offer among some of our membership€¦

What is behind all this? Money is available - they call it mattress money, since it has been hidden away over time, but with the current l.3 billion Chinese, even small amounts of savings can become huge totals. Besides, overseas Chinese are now investing - last year they had 50 billion dollars in outside investment - the largest part from Taiwan, which has 20,000 merchants working inside China. This Taiwan investment is essentially owned by the Ruling Party in Taiwan - an interesting twist. They are eager to join the World Trade Organization, and when they do, it will force them to play by international rules of conduct, which is a real plus. The late Deng Xiao Peng made the defining statement about the future of China - "to be rich is glorious", and that has really launched them into worldwide competition. Their current trade balance is plus twelve Billion dollars, with 60 to 65% of their populations still engaged entirely in agriculture. The remaining 500 million people earn an average of $350 per year - but again, that's a lot of spendable money when so many people are involved. Dr. King estimates that there are between l50 and 200 million with an income of $l00,000 - that's the same as the U.S., for goodness sake!

The steps in making a deal are several. First, you prequalify your customers - can they pay? Then, you must have a trustworthy partner. Then, you get a Letter of Intent - which actually means nothing at all! Next come an Agreement - again, essentially worthless. When you get to a Contract, you are progressing, providing both parties have good mutual intentions. Relationships are everything, and the Chinese love to bargain. They will probably have copies of any previous deal you have made in China, so they do check you out very carefully. Sometimes they will ask you to do something for them - he gave an example of a man who had a l957 Ford, who asked Dr. King to get him a radiator and a couple of other parts that needed replacing. Once done, they did make a deal. Boeing waited nine months to sell a 707, were about to give up, and the home office said to give it two more weeks. Shortly thereafter, a call, and invitation to a picnic at the Great Wall. A man approached the lead Boeing rep, introduced himself, and said, "we want to buy a 707". The deal was done - and until that day, none of the Boeing people had ever seen or heard of this man who made the statement. (Editorial comment - that's a long wait for one airplane sale, but it's a hell of a good story).

Q&A - With so many engaged in agriculture, how will they pull them along? The government is providing many mechanical farming equipment aids to increase agricultural production. And all farms are now selling at least half their produce to private buyers. What is happening in the far west of China, where there are many minorities. The government has a hands-off attitude, and is watching to see what will develop. What are the chances of a major crackdown on this burgeoning freedom - again, economics is overcoming politics, and this is mainly apparent in the last five years. What is the economic impact of the 'one child' rule, and the strong preference for boy children? If you have a girl, you can try ONCE for a boy. If you get another girl, that's it. But this also means that that one child gets ALL your attention, the best schools, whatever. Dr. King, thank you for a most informative visit - come back again, please.

Thought for the day - "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do " from John Wooden.

YOE, Ernie Wolf