Thursday, May 22, 2014

HONG KONG LIFE SAVING SOCIETY: HKLSS Rocks!

HONG KONG LIFE SAVING SOCIETY

The editorial staff of "County Recurrent" News recently returned from Hong Kong where the undersigned attended the annual meeting of the International Trademark Assn. (aka, INTA) that is a must go to event each year for avid trademark lawyers, even those that moonlight occasionally as recurrent beach lifeguards...  One of the highlights of this trip aside from the aforementioned INTA Annual Meeting was the visit to some of Hong Kong's finest beaches and their lifeguard facilities. In this regard, the Hong Kong Life Saving Society is the heart and soul and the historical force behind the success of life saving in Hong Kong.

First and foremost, add HK to your lifeguard bucket list!  Trust me!  The beaches are beautiful, well maintained and are guarded by fit and trained lifeguards from April - November.  Over 40 beaches are supervised by their lifeguards and they are also netted to keep out sharks.

Big Wave Bay beach as seen from the Dragon's Back trail.
Close up, Big Wave Bay beach
Entry to Shek-O beach
Shek-O beach lifeguard towers.
Shek-O beach lifeguard rescue equipment
Shek-O beach and its LCSD HK Lifeguard Station and Garage
Close up of HK lifeguard on duty at Shek-O beach

The HK government agency that staffs the guards is the LCSD.  For instance, at Repulse Bay there is a working lifeguard station with an LCSD office with video monitoring of the swimming area, as well as a garage full of lifesaving equipment (see photos below).  Repulse Bay is just one of over 40 public beaches that have lifeguard safety operations and shark netting in Hong Kong.

x-ref:  http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/beach/en/beach-location-hk.php

LCSD Office at Repulse Bay


Repulse Bay lifeguard crew photo (on wall in LCSD office)
On duty LCSD HK lifeguard at Repulse Bay

In partnership with the LCSD is the separate privately held corporation, the Hong Kong Life Saving Society (aka, HKLSS), which has been around now for 60 years. As previously mentioned,  HKLSS is the heart and soul of HK Life Saving.


     http://www.hklss.org.hk/public/modules_eng/Int/Intro.asp

HKLSS does the training and certification of the guards. This is done at Tower #4 at Repulse Bay.  There is additional equipment storage at Repulse Bay adjacent to the HKLSS Mountbatten Hall of Life Saving (more about this Amazing and Awesome Shrine to Life Saving below).

HKLSS equipment at Repulse Bay



Backing up a bit, before my trip, I contacted World Traveler and G Wagon Spokesman/LACo Rescue Boat Captain, Jay Butki, who put me in touch with several HK guards that he had met and got to know in the past at the Sanyo Bussan lifesaving competitions held in Japan over the years.  Through email, I was able to learn of some of their favorite beaches: Repulse Bay, Shek-O, and Big Wave Bay.  Contemporaneously, I spoke to USLA President, B. Chris Brewster, at the recent USLA 50th Anniversary in Huntington Beach last month and asked if he could write me a Letter of Introduction (LOI) to HKLSS.  This LOI was previously recommended to me back in 1986 before I traveled to New Zealand and Australia and I received a very nice LOI from then Assnt. Chief, Howard Lee, that I still have.  Side-note: As the club manager of the Noosa Heads SLSC (Alan Coates (R.I.P.) in Queensland in Australia was reading my LOI in March of that year, out from the bunk room walks LACo OL, Bradd Schwichtenberg, my Pali High swim teammate!...   In any case, back to present day: Chris Brewster prepared a letter and sent it off to his colleague and friend, Patrick Yeung, the President of HKLSS.  I also received an LOI from CSLSA President, Mike Buerlein, as well as Acting Chief Steve Moseley of our very own LACo Fire Dept Lifeguard Division. These letters were sent off to both the Hong Kong Life Saving Society and LCSD via email.

Upon my arrival in HK, I also hand delivered copies of my Letters of Introduction to the downtown HK office of the HKLSS in WanChai on Hennessey Road on Saturday, May 10th.  The HKLSS office had just closed for the day and I was only able to snap off a couple of photos at that particular time.

THE HONG KONG LIFE SAVING SOCIETY


That was a Saturday, as mentioned above. On Monday, May 12th, I got a call from the Office Manager of HKLSS at my hotel and we set up a time and place for lunch and a visit to Repulse Bay for Friday, May 16th.

On Friday, May 16th, I was met at my hotel by the VIP's of HKLSS. We then had lunch nearby at a very special venue that was a real treat.  The instant camaraderie and the generous and heartfelt hospitality with which I was received was very special indeed.  Following lunch I got a tour of the downtown office of HKLSS in WanChai which was filled with staff working on setting up events, inspections, certifications, training, etc. It was a sight to behold. It reminded me of our own LACo Lifeguard Training Center in Manhattan Beach.  This was my first official visit and photo opp of the HKLSS operations...

At the Hong Kong Life Saving Society Office with HKLSS President, Patrick Yeung, Phd.







THE HONG KONG LIFE SAVING SOCIETY PERSONAL LOG BOOK

Next we drove on out to Repulse Bay where I got a tour of the working lifeguard station run by the LCSD.  It was all business in the office and our visit was brief so as not to interfere with their operations.  Next, we walked the grounds and beach and observed the lifeguards towers at Repulse Bay and the shark netting.




Unanticipated and next was the adjacent very classic Chinese architecture and statues of Gods which was a real treat.  These ceremonial and traditional Gods were those with respect to the ocean and life saving.  Many photos were taken!  :-)  I was now being swept up in a euphoria of life saving and was stunned by its breadth.  I crossed a short bridge that added 3 days to my life apparently and I walked past a God who protects Life Savers.  I got to hold hands with the God of Wealth and I have been assured that wealth is in my future.  I can say without any doubt that the wealth of humanity and camaraderie shared this day has made me a very wealthy man.

The Lion of Water Safety



Check your retirement benefits in advance because each time you cross this bridge 3 days will be added to your life...

The God of Love and Matrimony


The God of Wealth


The unknown and unexpected treat was still to be observed.  We walked next into a building that was being remodeled and was draped with a very large green colored tarp to protect it from the wind and rains.

the enshrouded mystery

We walked up some stairs and inside into a hall and it was as if I had been transported to a fictional and magical hall right out of a fairy tale or a set at Disneyland.  I was overwhelmed as I took in this gigantic hall. The colors, the statues, the plaques, the awards. I was stunned and in shock and in awe. My hosts asked me what I thought of this place and I gushed that I felt like I had gone to lifeguard heaven!  I felt like a little kid in a magic castle.  I could not believe what I was seeing.  They could have just left me there and I would be content to never leave!

Lord Mountbatten's Youth Recreation Centre - The Hong Kong Life Guard Club

Exterior signage of the HKLSS Hall of Life Saving
note: The Hong Kong Life Guard Club was the previous name of the Hong Kong Life Saving Society.

X-Reference/Links:

1. "The Club House was built in magnificent Chinese Palace-style with a view to attracting tourists and lifesavers from all over the world.  It was built... in 1962 and the foundation stone was laid on may 30th, 1964.  It was completed and officially opened on Oct. 19, 1964."  "The extension of the Club House was completed in 1972, was named THE LORD MOUNTBATTEN'S YOUTH RECREATION CENTRE..." (History of Lifesaving in Hong Kong, page 79, "Lifesaving in Hong Kong Golden Jubilee Edition".)

2.  "... Lord Mountain personally opened the Mountbatten Hall, the new Training Headquarters of the Hong Kong Life Guard Club on February 21, 1965, in Repulse Bay...." (History of Lifesaving in Hong Kong, page 71, "Lifesaving in Hong Kong Golden Jubilee Edition".)





Below, the gracious hosts from the Hong Kong Life Saving Society, L2R, Alex Liu, Peter Yeung, and Apple Chan.





As I walked around the room with my jaw open and dropped, I observed many, many plaques identifying lifeguard agencies from all around the world and I was stuck with how inclusive this Temple of Life Saving truly is. That is its most treasured characteristic, in my opinion.  This is the Hall of Life Saving for Hong Kong Life Saving Society members only but this Temple honors Lifeguards from ALL AROUND THE WORLD.  To have the opportunity to visit and tour these hallowed grounds that is so respectful of our chosen calling to save lives was something I will never forget and will always treasure.



*** Video Alert ! ***

The Temple of Lifesaving: The Video

     http://youtu.be/keA__cQuYKU






note:  Anyone with an interest in logos, brands, and trademarks will appreciate all of these lifeguard agency plaques.  For the ocean lifeguard these logos and patches are cherished emblems representative of our shared commitment to lifesaving.  For the trademark lawyer/ocean lifeguard, however, it felt like I had been delivered into the middle of an ice cream parlor and got to look at hundreds of different flavors of ice cream.  And for those of us who love all things 'vinyl stickers", these walls were of equal or greater value than renaissance tapestries on the walls of Versailles.  Just sayin!...


The photo below from 1966  includes current HONG KONG LIFE SAVING SOCIETY President Patrick Yeung, at far left. "The Hong Kong Branch won the William Henry Memorial Trophy which recognizes the best effort among Commnwealth branches in percentage increase in the number of awards taken in 1966, 1975, 1977, and 1984.  On the occasion in 1966, delegates from Hong Kong received the Cup from Pincess Margaret at St. James' Palace when she opened the 2nd Quinquennial Commonwealth Conference.  This cup was named in memory of the Society's founder." (History of Lifesaving in Hong Kong, page 75, "Lifesaving in Hong Kong Golden Jubilee Edition".)



I cannot thank my hosts enough for this very special opportunity.  To witness and observe the inclusiveness of this hallowed ground has reaffirmed my own commitment to inclusiveness and to continue my personal mission of communicating and keeping my colleagues in the loop as much as possible through "County Recurrent".  To know that our colleagues in the HONG KONG LIFE SAVING SOCIETY understand and appreciate our shared passion, commitment and mission of inclusiveness has been a real gift.



Respectfully submitted,

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News
http://CountyRecurrent.blogspot.com

(All photos & video by & Copyright Will Maguire 2014.)

Additional resource material:

1)  http://www.solobackpacker.com/2012/09/16/repulse-bay-beach/

2)  http://www.nextstophongkong.com/attractions/top-attractions/repulse-bay/

3.  http://fieldfictions.blogspot.com/2011/09/in-search-of-happy-gods-in-repulse-bay.html

excerpt: "... The Tin Hau temple is also, appropriately, home to the Hong Kong Life Guard Club Training Headquarters..."


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