Visit to Hong Kong June 2012
This venture started out as an idea by one of our brethren who is a long time resident of mainland China. It started some 12 months prior to the actual visit with little more than a suggestion that he thought a visit from Lodge Scotia U.G.L.Q. to Lodge Eastern Scotia, Hong Kong would be appropriate given the similarity of the names. Such a visit might provide a platform for us to forge links with our brothers in another jurisdiction. Terry Philip, our erstwhile master, quickly took up the challenge and suggested in open lodge that not only would he like to make the trip but he would like to pay the lodge a fraternal visit should enough members be interested. There was more than enough interest to keep the idea moving forward.
Come June, 8 of our intrepid members managed to meet up in Hong Kong. They were W.B. Terence Philip, W.B. Joe Fillipone, W.B. Tony Vecchio, W.B. Ted Faulkner, W.B. Kerry LeBoutillier, W.B. Denis Atterbury, B. Ron LeBoutillier and B. Roger Kelly. Our first taste of the hospitality we were to receive was on our arrival at Zetland Hall. Hands were thrust forward from every direction to greet us in true Masonic fashion. Our fraternal visit could not be carried out as planned because of renovations being made to Zetland Hall. They had to meet in a make shift lodge room and space was at a premium. It was agreed that rather than stand on formality we should just enter for the opening and enjoy the fraternity. Less formality and more fraternity seemed to me to be great formula for success. We watched a second degree being conducted on B. Ryan Chun Kong Lau. It was a memorable and uplifting ceremony. Our W.M. made a presentation of a fine gavel and base made from Queensland timbers and bearing plaque commemorating the visit. Our thanks go to W.B. Earl Jones who showed his not inconsiderable talents in making such a beautiful memento.
Meanwhile our wives were being entertained by a number of their ladies. They were first of all taken to a number of the markets for which Hong Kong is famous. Then it was onto the train and off to a Spanish Tapas restaurant for an evening meal, for which our hosts refused even the suggestion that we should pay.
We were joined by the ladies for after dinner drinks when the festive board was closed and finally bundled into taxis and sent back to our hotels. But the adventures did not end there because the following evening we were treated by Eastern Scotia to a seafood feast on Lammar Island. This time we greeted and parted like old friends.
One of the brethren confided in me that this was the first time he could remember a fraternal visit from another lodge. That they embraced the opportunity to practice brotherhood goes without question. There was overheard a great swapping of stories, email addresses and cards. There was talk about repeating the exercise again in the other direction on some sort of rotational basis.
We have to thank all the brethren of Eastern Scotia Lodge for their hospitality and kindness and above all for their fraternity. I have to make a special thanks to B. Tam, who ran around after us, made sure we were where we supposed to be and generally made life very easy for us. All the brethren made this such a memorable evening for us.