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ECCT Christmas Lunch

By the ECCT's calculations, there will be 23 days of Christmas this year, given that Christmas stated on 2 December, when around 120 ECCT members, colleagues, friends and families gathered for a lively celebration, and lasting all the way until 25 December.

Guests arriving early were able to stave off winter chills with a warm cup of mulled wine (known as "Glühwein" to Germans & Austrians and "Glögg" in Scandinavian countries) served with raisins and nuts and accompanied by ginger biscuits. This was just the first in a smorgasbord of traditional European festive dishes that guests were treated to.

The lunch also served as the forum to thank outgoing ECCT Chairman Bernd Barkey. CEO Freddie Höglund presented him with a plaque in recognition of his dedication and outstanding service to the ECCT over the past two years.
Later, to get members in the Christmas spirit, the Taipei European School's junior choir and musicians took to the stage to perform some lively Christmas songs. The choir was introduced by TES CEO Allan Weston, who also demonstrated his maestro skills by conducting the TES jazz band in one of its numbers.

Just as the choir and band were about to leave the stage, Saint Nicholas (also known in some parts as Santa Claus or Father Christmas) happened to show up and proceeded to give presents to the children. The bearded man in red had a voice that sounded very similar to a certain well-known Swiss lawyer in Taipei but his dress and demeanor were otherwise so authentic that no one present bothered to investigate further whether or not he was the real Saint Nicholas. Instead, the show went on.

Saint Nic went on to single out certain ECCT members who had been especially good this year. Director Eng Leong Goh was given the moniker "Mr Eco-Friendly" by Saint Nic' for taking part in every beach cleaning trip in the past three years and bringing 300 of his colleagues and friends with him to the beach. Thanks to Mr Goh and his colleagues the beaches were left in spotless condition. As a reward for taking care of the planet and an incentive to continue with the monitoring work, Saint Nic' gave Mr Goh a pair of binoculars.

ECCT Vice Chairman and Treasurer Olivier Rousselet was also singled out as having been especially good and hard-working for taking on ECCT accounting supervising duties during the year as the ECCT switched to a new accounting system and hired new staff. This required doing his other job and working for the ECCT at the same time. Since working two jobs is very taxing for the brain and very tiring, Saint Nic' gave the treasurer an abacus to help make calculations simple (apparently Saint Nic's Lapland operations had run out of calculators).

Not wanting to leave anyone out, Saint Nic'called upon selected guests to come on stage to sing a few songs. He then asked elves to give everyone else a gift. After Saint Nic had departed by sleigh and reindeer, guests lingered a while longer to savour some more Christmas spirit, both the liquid and spiritual kind.