Hans Bonfigt
Thursday December 31st, 2015

(Deutsch) Bertrand Russell und das Internet 5.0

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

I have been friends with the Chess Grand Master Gerald Hertneck for many years. Gerald is considerably younger than I. In the late 1970ies, I had quite a few quickies with the then still very young Gerald and his friend Robert Zysk. We were all members of the SK Obermenzing. My chess friends and I were already “grown up” at the time and we had plenty of fun with the young and humorous guys.

Later, when he was already a very successful chess player, Gerald, along with some others, initiated the Munich Chess Foundation (Münchner Schachstiftung).

Since the chess world championship is now under way, he sent us an email:

Dear chess friends,

GeraldHertneckthe count down for the biggest chess event of the year has started! On Saturday, November, 8th, the World Champion duel between the current holder of the title Magnus Carlsen and his Indian challenger Vishy Anand will begin! Here is the official page of the tournament (http://www.sochi2014.fide.com/).

A year ago in Chennai, Carlsen won clearly and without being beaten with 6,5:3,5. To be sure, Magnus Carlsen is still the world’s number 1 and therefore the favourite for the duel. However, during his last two tournaments, the Chess Olympics in Tromsö and the GM Tournament in St. Louis, Carlsen had to be content with coming in second. In March, Vishy Anand surprised many experts, winning the candidates’ tournament easily – and in September, he won the Grand Slam Finals in Bilbao.

As I see it, the psychological advantages is with the long-standing world champion Anand, since this time around he enters as the challenger who has little to lose, while in the worst case Carlsen will have to give up the title of world champion – which would also minimize his market value.

I also think Anand will be better prepared for the fight in terms of opening theories. He will have learned from being beaten last year. In particular, he will try to play more dynamically, rather than letting himself be pushed into Carlsen’s favourite domain. What I mean are slightly better final matches which, with lots of patience and enormous stamina, Carlsen can win.

In short: as I see it, chances in this exciting match are totally even, even if the difference in terms of ELO numbers seems to be a clear statement: 2792 for Anand versus 2863 ELO for Carlsen. Statistically, this equals an expectation of winning of 60 per cent versus 40 per cent. But especially in a match with 12 individual games, psychology and dynamics play quite a significant role!

Now there is the question how to best follow all the individual games of the world championship. For the first time ever, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, along with the Munich Chess Academy, decided to offer an online report this year. If you click here: Link (http://www.sueddeutsche.de/thema/Schach-WM), you will get a 10-minute video with Chess grand master Stefan Kindermann after every game. He will discuss the highlights of each game and give an insightful illustration. It would make us happy if you took the time to follow the report.

Gerald Hertneck

Here is some information and contact data on the Munich Chess Foundation:
With the innovative training concept: ”Schach nach Königsplan“, the Munich Chess Foundation teaches children and adolescents precious competences for their future development.

Besides the ability to concentrate and the development of efficient cognitive structures, motivation and trust in their own competence are the key concepts of the promotion program.

The positive consequences of chess training on the mathematical competence, reading and orthography, as well as the emotional and social development of students have been clearly documented in numerous scientific studies.

I also witnessed the process myself. When, around the age of 12, I started playing chess in the chess club, my “school grades” suddenly improved considerably. And I also firmly believe that, through my entire professional career, there is a lot I have to thank chess for.

The thing I admire most about the foundation is that many children who had already been considered lost for society due to their under-privileged situation in life were brought back to social life and turned into a success.


Münchener Schachstiftung

Zweibrückenstraße 8
80331 München
fon (0 89) 95 89 43 30 
fax (0 89) 95 89 43 32 

Dear family, dear friends,

I am going to open a training centre for professionals where handicapped adolescents can learn following the dual system. We will start with the faculties cooking and restaurant staff.

When I lived in Germany, I spent 34 years cooking. I cooked between Munich and Berlin, in station restaurants and 5-star hotels, for simple guests and VIP’s. There was always plenty of work, I was never unemployed. This is not just because I am an industrious person, but also because there will always be enough work in gastronomy.

Education is the Central Chance

For me, too, it was hard to climb up the ladder to the master’s level. The reasons were diverse: financial problems, needing more time for family and children, having to learn a totally foreign language and all the restrictions because I was a non-native.
Why was I never unemployed? Because gastronomy never died. Why did I continue up to the master level? Because in Germany, the opportunity to continue your education gives adolescents a chance.

Dual Educational System after the German Model

Consequently, I will try to offer all I find positive in Germany to the adolescents here in Vietnam, too.
Since the dual educational system is new and alien to the Vietnamese, it is not easy for me to create educational openings. Currently, I am doing a lot of work in order to get there.

As to finances: I receive support from Germany for building and furnishing the school. But it is difficult to run the school, because most of the apprentices come from bitterly poor families. The apprentices also receive wages from the companies they work for, but this is minimal and many parents cannot even spend an Euro each day for their children.

Children from Poor Families – a Vicious Circle

The apprentices come to the city from afar, mostly from the country – where there is still a family tradition: three generations living under one roof, many children and little rice. Many children will terminate their school education and move to the city, such as Saigon, in order to find jobs. They will spend their entire lives working as untrained helpers, they will live in the slums and again have many children who, again – like their parents before them – will spend their entire lives working as untrained helpers.

A finished professional training will give the adolescents a chance to escape from this vicious circle.

We want to give the adolescents this chance.

Take me for an example. I come from a catholic family with nine siblings, bitterly poor. When I was a small child, I lived in the Don Bosco home for orphans, where I had the chance to graduate from high school and get a chance to finish my professional training in Germany.
I managed because many benefactors gave me a chance. That is why I firmly believe that adolescents in Vietnam, too, can do it.

Please support my project!

Let us give them the chance to show it to us and let us lead them on the path; with love and patience, they will manage!

Give me the chance and I will hand it on to those who need it most. That is why I returned to Vietnam: in order to help build Vietnam and preach Christian belief through my own example.

For more information about the new project, consult the website: anremaisen.com

Best regards  xin kính chào

Francis Văn Hội
(MS – Editing / Translated by EG)

Markus Seidt
Tuesday December 18th, 2012

News from Vietnam #16 – Christmas Letter

Dear friends,

here is what happened to Thào Thi Dung (23) in village number 11, Quang Hoa, Dak G’long, Province of Dak Nong. In 2009, she was locked into a cage next to the house by her parents. She had to do all activities of daily life, such as eat, sleep, personal hygiene, in this cage. Her parents, Mr. Thào Seo Cáo and Mrs. Mai Thj Chu, told us that, three years ago, various symptoms of her illness were apparent. She was provocative, started to rail at everyone and finally took to beating everybody in her family who got close to her. The parents thought their daughter was insane and locked her up in a cage in order to avoid contact with humans.

Mr. Le Viet Sinh, chairman of the village committee of Quang Hoa said: “three years are a long time. Basically, she should receive professional help. I will send a letter to my boss and see if I can and may do something for the woman.“ Indeed, the chairman of the village committee is correct: three years is a long time. For the Thào Seo Cáo family, it was unbearably long. By rights, the Catholic Church should have done something for the woman by this time. It seems like the charitable organisation of the church does not really function well in Vietnam.

Beautiful Facade

It is shortly before Christmas. The preparations for the Christmas Festivities in Vietnam are under way. No matter if Christians or communists, the streets are illuminated, the shops are full of plastic Christmas trees, all the shopping centres are full of glamour and colourful lights, like Rio de Janeiro during the carnival. The Catholic churches, too, are decorated with exaggerated illumination and huge mangers. Billions of VND are spent for these decorations. Everybody is in an excellent mood, there is no hint of a contemplative Christmas. These are purely secular festivities. And the non-Christians seem to understand one thing above all else: the Catholic Church is rich.

Shadow Existence Outside

On witnessing all these things, I kept thinking of my handicapped children in Thai Binh and in the Mekong Delta. There are people with handicaps who remain outside of life in Vietnam. They need more than just assistance and money. They need a smile at their workplace, the mercy of a neighbour, a visit by the village pastor. In this country, many people believe that handicapped people should stay at home; they have no business mingling in society, they cost money and are a nuisance. Only in rare cases do they receive love and understanding from their parents, family and neighbours – mostly if they are supposed to still be of some use. In those cases, they are the free servants for the family. They are not welcome, many of them do not even officially exist. They have never been registered, were considered children of the devil or animals with human characteristics. However, they are very much sought-after when it comes to displaying them in order to collect charity contributions.

The Church Could Help – But is That What She Wants?

In Vietnam, the church keeps telling people that the government is not doing enough for handicapped persons. This is absolutely correct, but then: what did the church do for these people? Far too less, regardless of the fact that the church could and must do a lot more. The Vietnam church spends horrendous sums of money on building churches. Village pastors live comfortably and well in the parsonage and do little. Mind you, I do not object in principle against priests doing just fine and churches looking beautiful, but that is not what the essence of a church should be.

In Vietnam, we have more than 5.5 million handicapped persons and 10 million Catholics. Those 5.5 million handicapped persons would be a nice target group for the church if the members wished to live what their evangelists preach and do good deeds. For a poor country, 5.5 million handicapped persons are an enormous social burden. It is quite possible that the government would like to do something for them, but cannot. The church could do something, but she does not want to. Mind you, I am not saying the churches do not move in that direction, but their motion is too little, too slow and without real organization or true goals. The church must do more for handicapped persons and if that is really what she wants, she can do it, too.

United in Doing Nothing

Churches should not be rich in buildings, but rich in love – especially for handicapped people. The gospel should not be preached just through sermons, but through behaviour. In Vietnam, the communist civil servants are happy with how the priests currently live. They will do all they can in order to make life for priests, nuns and deacons even more comfortable, because then they will neglect their vocation. They must live as comfortable as possible, they are not supposed to develop new ideas about improving the situation for handicapped persons. This is not good for society, but the civil servants will sleep better. As long as the church is weak, the government will be strong.

It is about time for the church in Vietnam to take the Christian Mission seriously and start talking with the government in order to realize a true cooperation. What they need is love, faith and a little courage to change the course.

To all of you, your families, friends and acquaintances a Happy Christmas and peace and health for the year 2013.

Yours Francis Van Hoi

MS (editing)
Here is the necessary information if you want to make a contribution:
Empfänger: Salesianer Don Boscos    
Konto-Nr: 22378015    
Bankleitzahl: 37060193 (Pax – Bank)    
Verwendungszweck: Agent-Orange-Kinder

(Translated by EG)

Detlev Six
Monday December 17th, 2012

The Drug Barons‘ Christmas Wish from the Politicians.

Please, dear politicians, keep up the drug ban.
Our living depends on it.
How else are we supposed to earn half a billion dollars?
The drug ban is our business model.
Sure, there are some side effects.
The death-rate in the Mexican drug war is 24 times higher than in the Afghanistan war.
Not nice.
That is Guatemala is even 240 times higher.
Not nice either.
More countries have fatalities in the drug war than had in WW-II.
Something we had not planned in this way.
But to make up for it, we create jobs.
In the banks, where our money is laundered.
10,000 jobs alone at DEA.
That is the US drug authority.
Each day, hundreds of new jobs at CCA.
That is the jail concern.
We even make your cities a safer place to live in
You have only us to thank for the fact that 108,000 of the 660,000 inhabitants 
of Baltimore were in jail at the same time.
Never was there a time when the streets of Baltimore looked more lovable.
Please, dear politicians,
just think about our oh-so-modest wish,
and remember all those little contributions we make to your private accounts.

Here is my private Christmas wish:

Please, dear IF blog readers, do not listen to the drug barons.
Do something against the drug ban.
The war against drugs cannot be won.
You cannot kill drugs with guns.
And drug warriors and drug barons will grow back 
just like the poppy seed on the opium fields.
End the drug war!
End the lucrative drug business!
Put your signature underneath the petition for abolishing the drug ban!

Here is the web site “Breaking the Taboo

(Translated by EG)

Thai Binh, May, 31st, 2012 – the Training Center (Don Bosco Shelter) for handicapped children in Thai Binh is finished. By now, 30 children are living in the house. They learn, work and spend leisure time together. The neighbours are friendly and accepting, and they donate food at regular intervals.

The Training Center was mainly financed by the Hilfswerk Deutscher Zahnärzte (Relief Organization of German Dentists).  Dr. Klaus Winter and his wife Helga Winter came to Thai Binh for the official opening ceremony where the keys were symbolically handed over to Bishop Peter. From August, the Training Center will be run by the Don Bosco Vietnam Salesians.
New Project:    
Hostel for Handicapped Children and Street-Children in South Vietnam.

My work for the Training Center is now finished and I will start a new project: a hostel for handicapped children and street-children in South Vietnam. I have now been back in Vietnam for three years. There were quite a few times when I felt I wished to leave and return to Munich. I needed three years to adapt to life in Vietnam. After many interviews with the authorities, I will now get a residence permit for three years.

Interim Resume after 3 Years in Vietnam

During the last three years, I cared for handicapped children in North Vietnam. In order to gain some experience, I was counselor for Caritas Saigon and active in various church organizations, Buddhists institutions, and also state organizations. In some way or other, I now seem to have become more mature in Vietnam and can work independently.

I am used to working, thinking and talking like a German. These three characteristics often cause embarrassing situations: in Vietnam, you cannot directly say NO, you cannot make quick decisions, you cannot think independently and make your own decisions. This is true both for the church and the government. I can adapt, but I will continue to work like a German. Because I feel this is a good idea, even if some say I am arrogant or high-and-mighty – I do not care what they say.

60th Birthday

Tomorrow, I will celebrate my 60th birthday with my children at the Training Center. We will eat well-seasoned barbecued belly of pork with rice pasta. The children look forward to a good meal, because usually we have to make do with 0.30 Euros per day.

5,500 € for a Playground, a House and a Cooling Chamber

In February, Don Bosco Bonn paid me 5,500.- Euros. It was my Christmas bonus for 2012. I used the money for financing a playground for street-children and handicapped children in the Rach Gia /Mekong Delta. It also served for building a house for a poor family with a handicapped father and a 20 qm cooling chamber for girls belonging to an ethical minority in Da lat.

Now they can store their vegetables and seasoning until the wholesale dealers come to pick them up. Now storage is improved, the vegetables will no longer rot, the girls can work all day long and do not need to get up before dawn.
I thank you very much and send the most grateful greetings from the children,

Van Hoi Francis
(Rivised by MS)
(Translated by EG)

Here is where you can make a generous contribution:
Empfänger: Salesianer Don Boscos
Konto-Nr: 22378015
Bankleitzahl: 37060193 (Pax – Bank)
Verwendungszweck: Agent-Orange-Kinder

Roland Dürre
Sunday December 25th, 2011

(Deutsch) Video von Nathan Kurz

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Dear Friends,

To be sure, my yearly report is a little late, but there was much work for me. It was a truly difficult year.

1/ Due to floods and several small typhoon, the construction work on the Don Bosco Shelter took four months more than we had planned. At long last, the school is finished, the children have arrived. There is room for 50 children, but I am afraid bishop Peter will give entrance permission to up to 100 children. There are many friends – and many who envy us: the school is so beautiful, almost like a hotel. As time goes by, the school also becomes a meeting pint for other young people.

2/ Currently, I am living at the school alongside the children, because there is so much to organize. We have many helpers from Southern Vietnam. They work with us doing voluntary work in various directions and areas.

3/ Now, I and bishop Peter must see to it that the school gets under way. There are running costs to pay… Early in February 2012, the courses will start. We will have to pay materials, machines, teachers,…

4/ On December, 17th and 18th, 2011, we organized a Christmas party for the children. This year, there were also many children from the federal institutions who came and celebrated with us. On the whole, there were 1,200 children and 500 helpers. Local STASI officers presented a few difficulties, but luckily there were some officers from the central STASI helping us – so all was well eventually. This year, we had a food corner and a small kiosk. The children were handed coupons for buying various edibles or small objects. It was great fun, many of the children had never eaten quite as well as now, they also bought much chocolate.

5/ We also have two special children from a leprosy village visiting. Their illness is non-contagious, but the two siblings do look very ugly. The girl, An, is 12 years old and her small brother is 8. Both of them have suffered a lot and their skin looks like fish scales. The small boy lost his eyes.  Because she had been afraid and too poor, their mother had abandoned them in the forest. Some people living in the village occasionally brought them a little food. They lived totally separate from human society until the nuns took them in. They are not allowed to go to school. I would like to take them at our school, but the other children get scared when they see them. I have to find a solution.

Now the year approaches its end. I wish you all the best, health, peace, work, and…

In the name of all my children, I thank you all so very much. Please continue remembering my children and support my work in the future, as well. 2012 will be another very hard year for me.

Sending kind regards from Thai Binh,

Francis van Hoi and all my children

(Translated by EG)

Here is the information about where you can donate money if you wish to help.

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Roland Dürre
Thursday November 24th, 2011

A Golden C64 For A Good Cause

It was a nice party at the Café of the Müller’sches Volksbad in Munich, Rosenheimerstr. 1.

Our friends and partners Dr. Annegret Haffa and Dr. Horst Höfflin celebrated the 25th anniversary of their agency Dr. Haffa & Partner GmbH!

The public swimming pool cafe was a suitable location for the beautiful festivity. We cheered each other without restraints and wished 25 more successful years on us all!

Horst is a passionate entrepreneur. Due to his ancestry, he adds special knowledge in choicy wines to his technological competence in communications.

In addition, he collects beautiful, old objects. His oldtimer motorbikes, in particular, are a feast for the eyes.

He is taking this jubilee as a reason to part with a precious and much-loved piece of his collection. To be sure, it has no combustion motor, but still, it has accompanied him for a long, long time.

It is a Commodore 64. This type of computer was an important means of production in his agency 25 years ago.
Now we are talking a very special specimen of the ‘Golden Edition’. It was released in 1986 to accompany the production of C64 number one million. The ‘Golden Edition’ was limited to 200.

The one owned by Horst has the serial number 1000126.

The action will start on Friday, November, 25, 2011 (tomorrow!) at 17:02:52 hours and will end ten days later, on December, 5th, at 17:02:52 hours. I will publish the link to the auction page as soon as it starts

And here comes the best about it:

The money the auction will bring will be donated to “Reporters sans frontiéres”!

So why don’t you participate?

(Translated by EG)

The bid of the winner was 3.676,77!

On the picture, you see the festive atmosphere of the beautiful party! The room is still empty, but as the night progressed, it really filled up!

Photograph: Ingo Weber

Roland Dürre
Friday October 14th, 2011


I owe my moments of greatest emotions and deepest memories to my children.

It happens often that the many nice experiences with every one of them creeps up in my memory. For me, however, being a parent also meant a “school of experience”. And I successfully applied what I learned from and with my children in life. For this, I want to thank them and my wife.

A successful professional career, too, was not bad and felt quite nice. Those were often a reason for me to be happy. But their highest value lay in the fact that they made it financially possible for me to afford more than the one or two standard children of today’s average household.

But, above all, you need a wife who goes along. Let me use the partner-slogan: children can turn a good relationship into a great relationship.
🙂 From good to great!
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