Ten Years On

It could be jet lag; it could be old age; it could be last night’s dinner; it could be the rain; and it could be anything. I got up around 4am and decided to read something. I switched on my laptop and was greeted by a glaring message from the antivirus software that it had quarantined an infected file which could not be repaired. It went on to advise me to do a full scan. I was in a robotic mood and I did as I was told. After more than an hour, 83 minutes and 57 seconds to be exact, I was told that it had scanned 169,546 files, and that none of the files was at risk. Instinctively, I asked where that quarantined file was. I went to the system, found the file and promptly deleted it with the antivirus software, wondering why I did not do that in the first place and instead spent more than an hour fidgeting and watching the software do its work.

I recall the days when I was District Governor while holding down a full time job: I used to get up in the wee hours and presently went before the computer to work on Rotary matters. There were always plenty to do: an email from RI; requests for messages from clubs for their anniversary balls; speeches for the week; and so on. Very often, I had messages from Raymond Wong who apparently enjoyed working in those unsociable hours. Indeed many decisions were taken early in the morning before I took the morning shower and went to work.

Ten years on and the habit remains, but somewhat adjusted to changed circumstances. After Rosita passed away, I was conscious not to spend too much time gazing at the ceiling, lest I would do that all day. Very often, I sat before the computer updating files and replying to emails, or simply playing silly games. Then I got onto some study courses and I found that I needed those hours very badly: I was always short of time for catching up with my reading and for writing up assignments. I recall turning on the computer one morning and found an email from my tutor telling me that I had scored a few A pluses on some essays on Mahayana topics. I was naturally overjoyed; but no sooner had the emotion subsided than other mixed feelings set in: I had nobody to share the happiness at the time.

After Su came to my life, things have changed, of course, and it may not be very desirable for me to behave like a bachelor. Besides, what used to be urgent are no longer so. Priorities have changed. Still, I would get up before daybreak sometimes to do some work rather than lying in bed, and that was how I started the day this morning.

I had been booked for breakfast in Central at my favourite restaurant at the basement of Prince’s Building. This place used to serve very cheap and good breakfast – eat all you can eat for $88. Many of the Rotary working meetings, particularly Hepatitis B related, were held here. Then prices went up to $98 and with restrictions on orders; and today, an English full breakfast with four choice items is priced at $128, while the eat all you can eat option is only available on Saturdays, at $168. I wonder whether our Financial Secretary is aware of the changes.

Today’s meeting was not Rotary-related, but all NGOs and voluntary service organizations apparently are no different as far as the problems they face are concerned. There are always people trying to push problems to others, while some are more interested in getting themselves known than getting the work done.

Talking of Rotary work, I owe my Action Team – I mean the Action Presidents and all the Assistant Governors and District Secretaries in 2000-01 – an update on what transpired at the Reunion of the Decade held on 3 June 2011. What happened was that we had four tables at the Centenary Block of Craigengower Cricket Club. Many Action Presidents turned up, but some could not stay for the food, while we had quite a big turn out of AGs and DSs. In addition, we had some visitors from District 3300 (Malaysia) including Past Governor Khoo Boo Khean and a few past presidents.

Everyone said something on what happened in the past ten years. Some said more than others, while some provided visual aids. I had thought of making notes on their presentation with a view to writing something more substantial, but I failed to make any notes on the occasion. Instead, encouraged by a few past presidents and, I would like to believe, with the consensus of every present and some not present, I announced that I would not collect money for the evening’s dinner, but would accept voluntary donations for a fund to be set up in the name of the Action Team. Nobody discussed in great detail how the fund would be used, but it was generally understood that it would operate on general principles along those of the Rotary Foundation. PP Thomas Wong (HK Island West) volunteered to keep the money, and he told me recently that we have close to $100,000.

I believe we have set a good example of how Rotary reunions can be organized not only for fellowship, but also for service, which is the why and wherefore we are in Rotary in the first place. I am more than very happy with this Action Team. I have often talked to Rotary clubs, and to one in particular, about why we are in Rotary. At times, I felt that I was talking to a brick wall. I hope this spirit can continue, for a very long time. More importantly, I hope that our act would be emulated by others, so that Rotarians would be known and remembered not only, or worse, not just, for their abilities to enjoy themselves and each other’s fellowship, but also for their keen desire to do good.

Talk to you later.

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