You have to be a DG once
For my final DG message, I have asked PP Shirley Kong to be an interviewer to ask questions on behalf of our readers. Hope you enjoy our dialogue.
PP Shirley: Seems like everything is wrapping up nicely, huh Eugene? Being a DG surely isn’t something to be taken lightly. Do you think it was all worth it?
DG Eugene: Oh, but of course! What I’ve gotten out of being a DG has been so much more than I put in and has left me a fuller and richer person. In fact, I think that being DG is something that everyone has to do in their lives.
PP Shirley: What do you think you’re taking away with you from the experience that you’d like everyone to have a chance to share in?
DG Eugene: First of all, I want everyone to share in my new perspective on Rotary. I had done a lot of research on the Rotary motto and Rotary values even prior to beginning my tenure as DG. While we often link these concepts with service, service is only one of many means of actualizing Rotary goals and awareness. While I am delighted to hear Rotarians tell me that coming to meetings and activities gives them an opportunity to meet and talk with good people, I don’t want to encourage any exclusionary attitudes.Rotary is about inclusion and integration. However, I too often heard Rotarians tell me that once they left the shelter of Rotary and were on the outside engaging in business, they couldn’t use the same approach and had to dismiss the high standards and values of goodwill that we are trying to make practiced and true. Some even said that the Rotary Motto and values can’t apply to their work and daily life. So, this experience has given me a new perspective on how Rotarians feel in the ranks, and has given me direction on how to improve Rotary in Hong Kong. I want to guide Rotarians toward developing their own values and applying Rotary core values to their daily life.
I also have a greater insight into how big Rotary is, and how much RI can do. There are many opportunities in RI and the Zone which being a DG opens up for you. These include serving globally, engaging in RI activities, and participating in action groups. Personally, I am interested in and have already signed up to work with the RI human trafficking and child slavery groups. Thus, having been a DG has opened up more doors for service which I hope will aid my own personal growth and development.
PP Shirley: In addition to better connections with the global Rotary family, what else do you think you’ll carry back to your Rotarian life after your tenure has ended?
DG Eugene: Even though I was a DS in two different years and a DG, I found myself spending a lot of time in administration. I can work out details, but actually enjoy doing service more. Being a DG has given me the benefit of knowing what happens in many clubs. I now have a bit of a bird’s eye view of the culture, interests, services, and activities of many clubs. I hope to serve our clubs more in the future and engage in their service activates while simultaneously working with district. In this way, I aspire to draw more attention to the new Interactors, Rotaractors, and Rotary clubs which were set up in my year.
PP Shirley: Well, it sounds like your DG experience has opened a lot of doors and set you up for even more success! But, I still can’t imagine that just anyone could do it. I mean, there are so many disputes to quiet and compromises to find. A DG would certainly need to have outstanding interpersonal skills.
DG Eugene: Yes, indeed. Interpersonal skills are a must, otherwise no one would listen to or support me. It’s part of the image too. A DG is a figurehead of Rotary, and as one of Rotary’s many ‘faces’ a DG needs to maintain and develop amiable relations to both promote and exemplify Rotary values. In the same vein, finding comprises is a bit of a reoccurring theme as a DG. In fact, another reason to be a DG is to further hone your interpersonal skills.
PP Shirley: In addition to outstanding interpersonal skills and a love for Rotary, what other characteristics do you think would come up on a job description for DG?
DG Eugene:First and foremost, as a figurehead of Rotary, it is imperative that every DG has a crystal clear understanding of Rotary’s aims and values. In this way the DG will make considerations, decisions, and presentations on behalf of those values. Secondly, a DG needs to be able to articulate those values, instill his listeners with a sense of the Rotary mission, and imbue them with Rotarian ethical and moral values. Third, a DG has to be able to take criticism. There will be comparisons and judgments cast. A DG needs to know how to learn from what he can, roll with the punches, and keep on running. Fourth, a DG needs to have an intimate understanding of our district and a well-developed worldview. In addition to understanding our home base of Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, and Mainland China, promoting international peace and cooperation is a Rotary core value. A DG must be able to forge new relationships and maintain the intimacy and friendship of old ones across regional boundaries.
PP Shirley: Well, I guess you got a lot out of it, but you must have had to put a lot into it too. It seems like a pretty high stressed position.Can you comment on that?
DG Eugene: The stress associated with being a DG has three principal sources. It’s time consuming, you need a vast array of knowledge on a host of topics, and there are many public speeches and presentations.Eight to ten activities a day is quite normal. At the same time, the DG is required to report to RI. I normally did this after midnight when it was still morning in the US. DGs also have to give speeches in Cantonese, Mandarin and English and be able to talk and respond to matters that they aren’t even familiar with. You have to pay attention to not only Rotary knowledge, but everything that is happening around you both locally and globally. It’s stressful, but it’s also rewarding. I’ve gotten so much more out of this than I ever thought. For anyone that loves Rotary, being DG is a dream come true.
PP Shirley: Well DG Eugene, you make a strong sale. I’m going to have to give this DG thing a second thought!