Thursday, July 18 2019


Teed Off (Aug 24, 2014)

Update: August, 24/2014 - 19:06

with Robert Bicknell

Mark Khan, who should make a great Jewish grandmother someday as he takes great delight in reminding me when I'm wrong (which could be a full time occupation), reminded me that Tiger Woods pulled himself out of Ryder Cup team consideration. I had said Tiger's ego wouldn't allow him to do that. I was wrong and Bubby Khan strikes again.

Well, this has been an interesting week.

First, I got called out by some friends in the US to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which simply means you either donate US$100 to the ALS Research Fund, or you take a bucket of ice water over your head. This is to raise both awareness and money to help fund a cure for the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I sent a donation, but still did the ice water.

And yes, it was very cold.

The fun part is that once done, you get to challenge three others who then have 24 hours to do it then post the video on either Facebook or YouTube. I join the ranks of countless others who have done this, including Bill Gates who was quite inventive and channeled his inner geek to build a contraption which would dump the bucket on him.

In this case, I challenged Jeff Puchalski because he always helps charities, Joe Millar because he has life too good in Da Nang and needs some strife, Mark Khan because he keeps reminding me when I'm wrong and Bob Van Mol simply because he is Bob Van Mol and will probably find some way to do the Ice Bucket Challenge in such a way that is truly bizarre.

I don't know why we can't do something like this in Viet Nam on the Viet Nam Facebook pages or something. Anything to boost awareness of a particular charity is good. In this case, the upcoming 15th annual "Swing For Life", the charity golf tournament which has raised over $800,000 for some very good causes here in Viet Nam and tees off at Vietnam Golf & Country Club on 29th August, would be a good candidate.

Hey, if it meant more donations for the charity, I'd happily take another bucket of ice water over the head. Motto: "Donate to the "Swing For Life charity" - or take a bucket".

For those living in a cave, or are new to Viet Nam, "Swing for Life" is an annual golf tournament of Saigon Golf Association (SGGC). After 14 years, Swing For Life has funded billions of dong for charitable activities such as: equipping 4 specialized vans for the "Blood Donation" programme; providing thousands of wheelchairs for the poor disabled; providing eyes operations for 1,811 poor children (in 2004 and 2005); constructing 2 fully-equipped clinics in District 9, HCMC (in 2006) and Tri Luc Commune, Thoi Binh Ward, Ca Mau Province (in 2007); constructing Thoi An Dong elementary school (Rach La branch), Can Gio District, HCMC (in 2008); installing solar energy system at DK1 rig and granting scholarships to children of DK1 rig officers (in 2009); providing heart operations for children in many provinces of Viet Nam (in 2010); supplying essential equipment for residents and officers in Paracel Islands (in 2011); constructing a clinic in A Luoi Ward, Thua Thien Hue Province (in 2012) and providing 969 eye surgeries for poor patients and children in HCMC (in 2013).

Whew! When we say that Swing For Life is the mother of all Charity golf tournaments in Vietnam, we're not joking. I am proud (as we all are) to be one of the original organizing committee members and continue to promote and participate in this event. No matter where I am, I return to HCMC for it.

The upcoming 15th Swing For Life will benefit "Chung suc bao ve chu quyen bien Dong" (Join hands to protect Viet Nam's sovereignty in the East Sea) which will help fishermen heading for the open sea for fishing and assist Viet Nam Coast Guard and Fishery Surveillance with essential equipment to safeguard the peace of the East Sea.

Swing For Life's accounting is completely transparent. Every dollar raised goes to the charity. There are no shenanigans and a complete breakdown of funding is provided to those who are curious where the money goes.

I hope to see you there… or taking an ice bucket challenge… — VNS

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