Rotary club flag survives ravages of war in the Dutch East Indies

The club banner for the former Rotary Club of Batavia.

The club banner for the former Rotary Club of Batavia.

By Frans Erik Kramer, Jr., Phd

The ingenuity and courage of one woman, my mother, is responsible for preserving a relic from the pre-World War II Rotary Club of Batavia (Jakarta), Indonesia. It is in memory of her selfless devotion that I share this story.

In March of 1942, three months after the attack at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese took possession of the Dutch East Indies, now named Indonesia. We were living in Batavia (re-named Jakarta in 1945) at the time. My father, chairman of the semi-private government Agricultural Trade Union Association, was president of the Rotary Club of Batavia. During the occupation, he became the head of a resistance group in West Java.  Continue reading

Rotary clubs target dengue fever

Rotarians inspect tub sites with the mayor of Surakarta. Rotarians shared details of the project with the mayor to use in other parts of the city.

Rotarians inspect tub sites with the mayor of Surakarta. Rotarians shared details of the project with the mayor to use in other parts of the city.

By Paul Spiekermann, M.D., a member of the Rotary Club of Westport, Connecticut, USA

Rotary, with its army of volunteers, is uniquely suited to help prevent the spread of dengue fever, a painful and debilitating disease that infects 50-100 million people a year, mostly in tropical and subtropical regions.

The dengue virus is transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes. While 80 percent of Continue reading

Polio survivors share a wealth of insight

John H.G. Soe at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand.

By John H.G. Soe, a polio survivor and member of Rotary Club of Jakarta Sentral, Indonesia

At the age of four months, I was stricken with polio. My parents, due to their superstitions and lack of understanding, abandoned me to the nuns of a Catholic orphanage in Medan, Indonesia. It was a huge orphanage of 200 children, and I remember listening to the bells and sounds of prayers.

On school holidays, relatives would come and pick up many of the children, but not me. I was always left alone. I had never been cuddled or carried on someone’s lap. I had never known my parents, but only the gentle kindness of the nuns. I was starving for the warmth of family love. Continue reading