My Dear Rotarians and friends, in particular my Action Presidents,
The Year 2000 will almost certainly go down in the family annals as an eventful and unforgettable one. We coped with my mother’s death, Rosita’s cancer relapse, the son going abroad to study, our training at Anaheim, my becoming District Governor, my three visits to Mongolia, and my new job in a new department, to name the few that are fighting for disk space and RAM at the time I recall them.
The Year began with me trying to get transport home from Happy Valley after watching the Millennium Fireworks with thousands of rather well behaved partygoers. Rosita decided to watch the countdown from home with the children, having had to finish hosting a late dinner on my behalf for a returning family. I lost contact with the driver. Indeed, the mobile phone simply refused to work. I found out later that millions were making calls around the time, resulting in nobody being able to call anybody. I walked a distance towards the Wanchai direction before I could flag down a taxi to take me home. Shortly after I sat down to watch how the rest of the world was celebrating the Millennium Countdown, the driver called to find out where I was. I wished him a Happy New Year and asked him to go home. That was the first hour of the year. You wouldn’t want me to go on. Would you?
It would not be too meaningful to rank the events I listed in order of importance. They are all important and significant in their own right. Each event interacted and interplayed with the others and competed for time and attention. It has not been an easy year, and I am proud that both Rosita and I have held up reasonably well. We have survived and we are grateful. We are grateful to all our families and friends who have been supportive all the way, through good times and bad, through thick and thin. As we move out of the year, we would like to thank all of you and many other well wishers who have prayed for us, who have gone out of the way to do special things for us, who have asked after us all the time, who have written us comforting and uplifting notes, messages, letters and cards, and who have cared for us quietly in their own special way. To those friends who have lost sleep because of us, we are sorry, but eternally grateful. To those whom we have been unable to thank personally either because we do not know how or because of circumstances, we seek their forgiveness and we wish them well.
Even at the worst time, we have not forgotten counting our blessings. The belief and conviction that we have families and friends out there praying and worrying for us has been a powerful and motivating force and has kept us going. We can never thank them sufficiently.
Many of our friends are in the Rotary family. We thank you for your understanding. In particular, I thank my Action Presidents and my Action District Team and Advisors for the hard work they have put in to create awareness and take action. I thank them for the wise counsel, the selflessness, the generosity, the dedication, the leadership and most important of all, I thank you for the spontaneous and very often unqualified support to your clubs and your District. This is Service Above Self. This is Rotary’s Ideals of Service being played out day to day and in reality. This is love.
Perhaps the priceless prize that I will get at the end of my term and even before that is the opportunity of having worked with such a bunch of fine men and women and the fellowship that we can always expect to have both now and for a long while.
On this happy note and in the spirit of Christmas, Rosita and I wish you, your family and loved ones a truly Merry Christmas, filled with joys and happiness, children’s laughter, good food and wine, unending parties, love and peace of mind. May the holiday season recharge, regenerate and rejuvenate you so that you would be filled with energies and be ready for more service for the people who need your service. May you always be in a mood to be generous and be more than able to afford such generosity, to the benefit of the needy in general and The Rotary Foundation in particular. May you wake up every morning feeling fresh, ready to love and be loved and to communicate happiness. In short, we wish you well.
Talk to you soon.