Tag Archives: Great Ormond Street Hospital

Dam Yangtze

The Forum resumed its regular Wednesday morning meetings on the 10th of January after the Christmas break with a talk by guest speaker Geoff Queen from Kettlewell.

Geoff titled his talk Dam Yangtze, a play on words to describe two visits he and his wife made to the Chinese Yangtze River at the time when a giant dam was being constructed which changed the geography of the area in many ways.

He started with a list of statistics about China including its population (1.25 billion) which is one fifth the population of the world.  One city has a population of 30 million whilst a settlement of 4 million is regarded as a town.

The Yangtze is the third longest river in the world and the dam was built at a location called the Three Gorges, regarded as particularly beautiful, and involved the displacement of over a million people.

Geoff illustrated his talk with a slide show.  Unfortunately the weather had not been kind to him although that and the polluted atmosphere highlighted the devastation caused by the dam to the existing towns and cities.

Geoff also visited the Great Wall, Beijing and the terra-cotta soldiers at Xian and at the end of his talk he invited those forum members who had visited China to share their impressions.

Mike Earle thanked Geoff Queen for his informative talk.

Geoff donates his speaker’s fees to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

Veni Vidi Vietnam

On the 22nd of February 45 members of the Forum attended the meeting at the Church Centre, the highest turnout for this season.

The guest speaker was Geoff Queen from Kettlewell whose talk’s title was based on a quotation from Julius Caesar.  The title was ‘Veni Vidi Vietnam’ which indicated that he was going to tell us about a visit to Vietnam.

In fact we learnt about a visit by Geoff and his wife to all three countries which once formed French Indo-China, namely Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, the talk being illustrated by Geoff’s excellent slides.

They found the people in all three countries to be welcoming, kind, forgiving and deeply religious.  They first visited Cambodia where any visitor is made aware of the rule of the Khmer Rouge who attempted to establish a pure socialist state by a policy of murdering all intellectuals and dissenters.

They then moved on to Vietnam, by far the most populous of the three counties where they were impressed by the recovery from the Vietnam War.  A feature of life is the large number of small motor cycles and the problems for pedestrians in avoiding them.

In contrast they found Laos to be much more peaceful with a large proportion of monks in the population.

Finally on the journey home they visited Bangkok and Dubai.

Mike Earle proposed a vote of thanks to Geoff for a fascinating talk.

Geoff Queen donates all speaking fees to Great Ormond Street Hospital and last year his donations totalled over£10,000.