Yvonne Lai writes in SCMP, on Sep 05, 2011
After the success of its “No Nation Without A Donation” fund-raiser last year, refugee charity Vision First decided to bring the event back bigger and louder at Solas in Wyndham Street on Thursday. As a team of African drummers set the beat for an evening of raffle ticket sales and heavy drinking – in the spirit of community service, of course – 10 guest bartenders sporting electric-blue sequinned bow ties geared up for rapid rounds of charity bartending for a packed house.
“I’ve had plenty of practice drinking – but not so much mixing drinks,” Anand Singaram said before his round. “My strategy is to serve lots of beer.” Fellow guest bartender Katherine said: “I’m a hedge fund manager with zero experience tending bar. I’m just going to throw a bunch of stuff together and hope it tastes like a cocktail. I imagine I’ll get yelled at a lot.”
It would seem that the collective lack of bartending experience did not slow the drink orders. Vision First education director Tiffany Sturman tallied up donations surpassing the HK$100,000 target at the end of the evening. [Edit: raised over 180,000$] “There were definitely many memorable moments throughout the night, but I think everyone can agree that our African drummers helped put everyone in a festive mood right from the start,” Sturman said.
“Their energy and rhythm flowed through the crowd and built momentum, which our guest bartenders were able to capitalise on.” The funds raised will go towards Vision First’s Graduate Equivalency Diploma programme, which will help Hong Kong refugees choosing to resettle in the United States and Canada.