Last week, the Australian Chinese Medical Association hosted our 29th Annual Dinner. We were initially worried as the day was cold and wet, but as evening came, the rain and winds receded, setting the scene for an amazing night. The backdrop? The trifecta of the breath-taking Sydney Harbour, the magnificent Harbour Bridge and the iconic Opera House… need I say more?!
The night kicked off on the top deck of the luxurious Blue Room Glass Boat. We enjoyed the gentle evening breeze and took in the lights and sounds of the bustling Darling Harbour, as we caught up with friends over drinks. The spirit of collegiality was in the air and was elevated by the serene classical pieces played by the very talented Desmond Ma (on the cello) and Andrew Jung (on the clarinet).
The boat soon set off into the night towards Sydney Harbour. We took our seats, no doubt each making new friends at our tables as we enjoyed the smooth and mesmerising music of the live band, One Groove. As entrees were served, our beautiful M.C. Emma Zhang took to the stage to introduce the official proceedings of the night. As we cruised under the majestic Harbour Bridge, A/Prof Seng Chai Chua (ACMA President) gave the presidential address. In his usual laid-back style, he highlighted how far our organisation has come since it first started 30 years ago. It was an important message—apart from the Australia Medical Association, we are now the largest medical networking organisation in Australia, and despite the enormous changes in the Chinese medical community in the last 30 years, our organisation remains one characterised by vitality. Our philanthropy, through the work of the ACMA Charitable Trust and through our members' dedication to the Australian−Asian community, continues to make a difference.
Ms Zita Dettori, our guest of honour representing Douglass Hanly Moir, then gave a great speech. The loyal support from our most significant sponsor has been crucial to our continued success. Other V.I.P. guests of the night included Mrs Cathy Lam (President of the Hong Kong University Alumni Association NSW Chapter), Dr Bao Zhou (Chairperson of the Chinese Australian Services Society), Dr Huiling Li (President of the Sun Yan-Sen University of Medical Sciences Sydney Alumni Association) and Dr Janet Hung (Director of Synergy Medical).
Prof Danforn Lim (ACMA Senior Vice President) then presented the 2019 Fellows of the Association. Fellowship of the Australian Chinese Medical Association (FACMA) is one of the highest honours we bestow upon select members who have made exceptional contributions to the ACMA and the broader community. The four new fellows for 2019 are:
- Dr Lionel Chang (Plastic surgeon)—accepted in absentia
- A/Prof William Chik (Interventional cardiac electrophysiologist and general cardiologist)
- Dr Tony Pang (Pancreatic, hepatobiliary and acute general surgeon)
- A/Prof John Sinn (Neonatologist and allergist)
Other awards presented that night included:
- ACMA Above and Beyond Award: Ms Zita Dettori
- Outstanding Achiever Award: Dr Tao Geng
- President Appreciation Award:
- Dr Lisa Yu Zhang
- Dr Huiling Li
- Dr Vivian Liu
- Community Appreciation Award:
- Hong Kong University Alumni Association NSW Chapter
- Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Science Sydney Alumni Association
- Chinese Australian Services Society
- Merit Certificate:
- Desmond Ma
- Andrew Jung
The ACMA secretarial team, headed by Emily Hung, and the entire Management Committee team were also acknowledged for their invaluable work.
With the official proceedings over, the main course was served and the entertainment started. The Sassy Sisters got us into the mood by taking us back to our nostalgic youth with a brilliant, energetic and perfectly choreographed routine with songs from the 40's through to the 60's.
Next up was Brazillian Samba! The dancing and the costumes were simply breathtaking and took us right to the streets of the Rio Carnival! The dancers were accompanied by two muscular, bare-chested guys who performed an alternating routine of heart-pacing drums and heart-stopping Capoeira. On multiple occasions, we could hear gasps from the audience as the Capoeira kicks and backflips missed heads and support beams with millimeter precision! The Samba, the drum-beats, and the Capoeira infected us all with the energy of the Carnival… one by one, young and old, got up and started moving in synchrony.
But alas, our boat soon sailed back into Darling Harbour and it was time to wind up. As we descended the gangway at Kings Street Wharf and said our good byes, the beaming smiles on everyone's faces told me that this was a night which will be remembered.