PDG John Wan – Continuity – September 1999
By John Wan
(September 1999 Issue)
Governor Dipo always stresses the importance of continuity in his speeches to Rotary clubs during his Official Visits. He would ask Rotarians to recall the number of occasions their club leadership had abandoned projects initiated by their past leadership in order to start theirs, only to find out at leisure that theirs were put aside equally unceremoniously by their successors. True, I recall the many agonizing hours I spent listening to debates on whether to take up projects that straddle two or more presidencies. Some quoted chapters and verses from Rotary literature while others cited examples from past practices in or outside the District to support their respective points of view. Not surprisingly, often the Board would rather err on the conservative side, resulting in worthy and meaningful projects being left on the wayside, often forgotten and never to be picked up again. “All these would change from now on,” Governor Dipo assures us, and one hopes that will be the case.
But this will be the case. Indeed it must be the case if we are to continue to live up the Rotary ideal of “Service Above Self”, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world. As our world leader Carlo Ravizza has said, achieving continuity requires a great and meaningful change in attitude. It means respecting the programs of our predecessors and working as a team with our successors. This is precisely what your district leadership have been doing. All of us now work as a team. We have only one objective, which is to put more Rotary in the District membership, and we are determined to succeed. We are conscious that it means hard work, it means accountability and openness, it means putting away our ego, and above all, it means trusting and supporting each other. To some people, this may appear to be a fundamental change. It may well be, but we believe it will be a change for the better, and more importantly, we are not changing for changing sake. We believe that this attitude change will help foster continuity in the District, and we hope that the membership of the District will copy. After all, I would like to believe that most of us have joined Rotary because of the ideals Rotary stands for. These ideals have motivated generations of Rotarians to serve their fellow human beings generously and with humility, and which have made them credible people along the way. It would be wrong to abandon them for worldly and other unworthy motives.
Looking back, our District does have fine examples in clubs which have been carrying on multi-year projects, and very good projects too. At the risk of being invidious, I would mention a few. We have Admiralty sponsoring the Outstanding Disabled Persons Award, New Territories sponsoring awards to recognise students who made the most progress, Hong Kong Harbour continuing with their support for a resource centre for mentally handicapped children in Tuen Mun, Kingspark Hong Kong working with the Spina Bifida Children Support Group, Tolo Harbour sponsoring drama competitions among youths, and many others, not forgetting the many Rotaract and Interact clubs being sponsored by clubs in Hong Kong and Macau. Many of these projects and programs have been designed for children and young people and thus take on a particularly special meaning in this New Generations Month. Long may these clubs continue with these meaningful projects.