District Governor 2000-2001


And the world would be better for this

(June 2000 Issue)

I would like to begin with what I said at the start of my main speech last District Assembly. I said, “The Object of Rotary has not changed in the last 95 years. Great things never changed: the northern star, the centre of gravity, motherhood, love of God, friendship and so on. It is the conviction that Mother Nature would not change that has encouraged ages of men and women to continue their search for knowledge, the secrets of Nature, the principles of intellectual truth, and above all, the knowledge of oneself. Similarly, it is the unchanging desire to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a worthy enterprise that has spurred generations of Rotarians in search of the best methods and processes through which they can put more Rotary into Rotarians, thereby enabling Rotary to be more relevant and useful to Mankind.”

My friends, this is how I interpret Rotary, and this is what I expect of every club and Rotarian in the District, in Hong Kong, Macau or Mongolia: to put more Rotary into Rotarians, to be relevant, and to make the world a better place in which to live, for ourselves, but more importantly, for those who need our service.

Doing good has never been easy; and the road to godliness has never been straightforward. Take cleanliness, for example, which Dickens said is next to godliness, the welfare, livelihood and health of countless poor children could be enhanced by quanta and their misery appreciably alleviated, if only each child is given access to clean water and a small bar of soap. Many Rotary clubs in Asia have been working on clean water projects and have made good progress, but there is still so much, so much more to be done.

I told you before and some of you would recall the video in which Frank Devlyn warned us that our journey with him next year would surprise us, delight us, challenge us, and even exhaust us, but above all, change us. This will be the challenge ahead, and may I add, not only for the next 12 months, but also for the rest of the lives of those who have Rotary in them. This is the Continuity I have been talking about for the last year.

Frank Devlyn has urged us to be proactive. Yes, we must be proactive. We must be proactive with membership development and extension; we must be proactive in improving Rotary’s public image, our image in the community; and we must be proactive in the use of latest information technology and the Internet.

My response is summarized in the District Goals I presented at the District Assembly. Once again, these goals are not ends in themselves. Rather, they are means to achieve Rotary’s objectives, which are to develop effective clubs and to promote Rotary. Accordingly, we are planning to increase our membership number to 2001 by mid 2001, but without forsaking the high and consistent standards and quality in the membership. We are planning to provide more Rotary training so as to prepare our members to take up leadership roles beyond the club level. We are planning to encourage every member to contribute towards the Rotary Foundation. Above all, we are planning to be relevant in our community, by taking their problems head on and taking action together with them and our partners in service.

I quoted Dr. Martin Luther King at the District Assembly. Let me quote again, “The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand at times of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.” Our incoming Action Presidents and Team Members will not be unaware of the challenge that lies ahead. Frank Devlyn has challenged us to create awareness and take action. He has warned us that it won’t be easy. He likens it to the mission of Don Quixote seeking his impossible dream, except that Don Quixote was a man without vision. Don Quixote was not a Rotarian. Our Action Team members will be Don Quixotes with a mission to create awareness and to take action in our club, in our community and in our world, and the world would be better for this.