Part 4 of the North Korean article published in issue 35 of the DG Weekly e-Newsletter on 28 March 2014 has caused some concerns among our readers. I must submit when I first received the article, I initially also had some reservations. But when I asked myself what organization might be in the best position to pull North Korea back to the International Community, my answer would be Rotary. Readers may find the following correspondence between DG Eugene and Tong Leung of interest.
Dear DG Eugene,
I find this golf trip to North Korea highly inappropriate. Who are we building a friendship with? — The military or the people? Those who can afford to play golf in North Korea are the military or the elite. They run one of the most oppressive countries in the world. Are we trying to make peace with them? Understanding the hunger of the children and the plight of the citizens there and trying to help them would be a worthy cause. Glorifying how wonderful it is to win a North Korean golf tournament at one of the ‘most exclusive’ golf clubs in the world is not my image of Rotary!!! Rotary is a larger international organization than one Dennis Rodman and we have a bigger image to lose!
It is great to receive response from you.
The golf game is not organized by Rotary. The reason why we have included information on it in the newsletter is because after my trip alongside with 30 or so Rotarians of our District 2 years ago to DPRK i.e. North Korea, I have received numerous inquiries from my fellow Rotarians about how they might pay a visit to the country. We simply would like to highlight the choice to our Rotarians, if they are serious about going there.
For your information, RC Shanghai has been sending humanitarian aids to DPRK non-stop. We sent our share over, with the help of International Red Cross, after our trip 2 years ago. One Rotarian of RC Kowloon North has been sponsoring high school students in Hong Kong for international understanding trip to DPRK. A few Rotarians in our District have actually helped starting up the International Kim Il Sung Foundation, which was chaired by the current leader of the country.
Rotarians of D3450 have helped and can help North Koreans over lack of food and other resources, and have helped and can help building goodwill between DPRK and the rest of the nations. It is in this spirit we are allowing the golf event to be promoted in our newsletter.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my email. I appreciate it. I, like many, take a skeptical view of today’s North Korea regime. As a member of a non-political and humanitarian organization like Rotary, I am all for any efforts in the betterment of the livelihood of the under-privileged and in the increased understanding between countries. I just hope that the effort would not be misplaced.
Thanks for being a fantastic leader of our District.
Have a good weekend.