Thank you, Emcees Alice and Vincent. Mr. C Y Leung, My Family of Rotary, My Action Presidents, Fellow Rotarians and Friends, My Partners in Service, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is certainly a great occasion and a moment I would treasure and remember for a long time. So I would try to do it slowly, hopefully to get it right. Looking back, it seemed only yesterday when I stood here last year for my acceptance speech. I said that I had accepted the office with humility and as an opportunity to serve. A year later, with eight more pounds around my middle and donning noticeably more gray hairs, I can tell you that I have been truly humbled by the experience of having been a district governor.
I would not chronicle what I have done or not done last year. That is the job of historians. More importantly, I believe that the process is more important, much more important than the results. The office of the Governor is an institution. He is the only Officer of the Rotary International in the District and the Rotary International President expects him to carry out a host of responsibilities, but with not a lot of authority and hardly any resources. Herein lies the challenge, the ultimate challenge to one’s humor and nature, capacity for work, capacity for food and drinks, reliability under pressure, ability to handle relationships, and a host of skills including sleepwalking. There is so much to do and so little time to do it. No one single person can do it all by himself or herself. It follows that achievements in the term of a governor reflect the collective efforts and wisdom of the District rather than those of any one person or a few persons.
This is what “Continuity” is all about. The Rotarians among you would recall that Past World President Carlo Ravizza had asked us to Act with Consistency, Credibility and Continuity, with a footnote that we must have the Courage to Change. His successor, President Frank Devlyn has urged us to Create Awareness and Take Action and at the same time told us that the reason for so doing was because Mankind is Our Business, which in turn is the theme of his successor, President Rick King.
Now, fellow Rotarians and Friends, the apparently different themes in successive years have not changed the Object of Rotary or Rotary’s Ideals of Service. This is fundamental. In the same way, our desire to pursue the Ideals of Service, our desire to take our service to the people who need them most, and our strife for a polio free world and for world understanding and peace, all these and others will not change or diminish with changes in Rotary leadership at any level, be it at the international, district or club levels.
The success and achievements in the last year are due therefore to the collective efforts of dedicated Rotarians in the District, in particular the Past District Governors many of them have given me valuable and timely advice, often without my asking. These wise men are really worth their weight in gold. Stand up PDGs to be recognized, and let us all give them a big hand.
Many of our Past Governors have been recognized by World Headquarters for their sterling work to humanity in general and to Rotary in particular. This year, we have seen for example Past Governor Arthur Au, our Master, receiving the Service Above Self Award at the District Conference held in April. I am happy tonight to recognize another Past Governor for his efforts to promote the ideals of The Rotary Foundation and to present him The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service on behalf of the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
The Citation for Meritorious Service is a very special form of recognition and is awarded to only one Rotarian in each District each year for exemplary and significant service to The Rotary Foundation. Rotary’s objective of world understanding and peace can only be advanced and will only be ultimately achieved, by the unselfish and unlimited participation of Rotarians.
Our Foundation works only when Rotarians work. It moves into the future only when Rotarians make it move. Its potential as an instrument of doing good in the world is limited only to the degree that we, as Rotarians, limit our involvement and support.
So, it is my great pleasure and honour to recognize this fellow Rotarian among us. This Rotarian has an impressive public service and community service record. He has been very active with youth programmes all these years. This year in particular, he has inspired us with his vision and dedication to Rotary and Foundation programmes. He has indeed brought great honour to our District. He is none other that Past Governor Joseph Lee. Congratulations Joseph, our Governor in 1989-90 and please come for the award.
A thoroughly merited award indeed; and congratulations, PDG Joseph .
That brings us to the District Officials. These are the District Committee Chairpersons in charge of a host of functions and activities ranging from fellowship to sports, youth to technology, Rotary Foundation to training and so on. They also include the Assistant District Governors, the District Secretaries and other members of the District Management Committee. Collectively, they have functioned as my very effective vanguard, promulgating and interpreting district policies, and at the same time, taking the brunt from members all the way without grumbles, well not a lot anyway. Stand up my District Officials and receive a big round of applause.
Many of these worthy District Officials worked extremely hard throughout the year and even before the year began. Among them is one Past President who convened the first meeting in April 2000 and has been providing exemplary leadership in steering and coordinating the planning, organizing and operation of no less than ten District-wide sports and recreational events. Such dedication deserves special mention and recognition. He is none other than District Sports Convenor Tony Kan, Past president of Rotary Club of Shatin. Thank you Tony and please come for the Award.
Then, there are my presidents, my Action Presidents who have been ever so supportive, outspoken and proactive, each in his or her own way, but always standing behind me figuratively and literally, as you see them now. I have had great times with them individually and collectively. We had joy, we had fun and we had seasons in the sun. All these would last me for a long time. These are the Action Presidents, Ladies and Gentlemen; please join me to give them a hearty and most deserving round of applause.
For the record, all but two presidents have been awarded the Presidential Citation from RI President Frank Devlyn. I have earlier presented them their thoroughly merited certificates. For their achievement, President Frank has also recognized me with a special Presidential Citation.
In addition, two presidents have received special awards from President Frank Devlyn in recognition of outstanding community service efforts, and for outstanding achievement in promoting awareness and understanding of Rotary through a public relations campaign.
The Significant Achievement Award honours the club with outstanding projects that address the needs of the local community and that could become a model for future activities and inspire other Rotary clubs. The award goes to the Rotary Club of Guia, Macau. President Cinderella please step forward.
The RI Public Relations Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of the Rotary club in a District in promoting the good news of Rotary and in organizing projects that have enhanced Rotary’s image in the community. And the Award goes to the Rotary Club of Kingspark. President Tom Hui please.
Now, the District Officials and the Club Presidents alone could not have achieved what we have achieved without the support of the ordinary Rotarians. These are men and women who have been quietly doing great things. These are the frontline soldiers in the trenches. They are the unsung heroes of the District, without whom we would not have a district and the Governor would have nothing to govern. I owe them a lot. Rotary owes them a lot. Let us give these generous men and women a big hand.
We also have among us our partners in service. These include people in the Rotary family, that is our Rotaractors, Interactors, Ambassadorial Scholars and Group Study Exchange Members. They also include our partners in other service organizations and non-governmental organizations. Earlier, our emcees have recognized the representatives who are with us here tonight, but there are many others. We owe a lot to all of them and I invite you to join me to give them a round of applause.
Last but certainly not the least, I thank my own family. How can I forget them? Rosita has been with me all the time, and even when we could not be physically together, our spirit is with each other. When she was well, she would take up the tedious but necessary filing work, arrange my papers in order of priority and destroy the junk mail. She would remind me of the deadlines for returns and replies, and help me understand how people’s mind work so that I can keep my brain functioning some of the time. More importantly, she keeps the children up to speed with my schedule so that they would not complain. I am forever grateful to my wife Rosita, and my children Stephanie and Lawrence. I invite all of you to join me to thank my family, in particular Rosita.
Nothing now remains for me to do except to wish my successor Johnson Chu a great and successful year ahead. Johnson is a great guy and a truly dedicated Rotarian. I assure Johnson that he would have my full support in his term as I had the same from my worthy predecessor Dipo Sani. I have already briefed my team of Action Presidents to give their full support to their respective successors, those men and women in black or regal eagles. None of them has said no, so you and your team can expect full support from us.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you, particularly the non-Rotarians, for being here tonight to share our happiness. To the Rotarians sitting next to these friends, don’t lose a great opportunity to ask them to visit our clubs and to join us, either as full members or as honorary members. I wish all of you a great evening, and may God bless you all.