District Installation – Speech of DG Eugene Fong

Distinguished Guests and my fellow Rotarians,

Thank you IPDG Kenneth Wong, his team of District Officers and Club Presidents, for making a difference in the past year. You have brought us with all the achievements so that we can further build up from here. We have reached more members in our district. This allows us to consolidate and let more members understand Rotary. We have reached a wider territory for the district. We got the green light from Rotary International to have the opportunity to bring Rotary to Guangdong. This allows us to plant the seeds of Rotary in China. We have launched a successful campaign in organ donation in Hong Kong.

This allows us to spread the same message, which essentially the message of love, in China. We have done all the ground work for implementation of the new grant structure for Rotary Foundation. This allows us to take a big step forward to further develop along the six Areas of Focus of the Rotary Foundation. Thank you again IPDG Kenneth Wong, district team, and presidents for last Rotary year for all the efforts.

We Rotarians are a people who are not only leaders in selected fields, but more.

In HK, Macau, Mongolia, China, in fact all over the world when we read the newspaper, when we listen to people in everyday conservation: People are calling for leaders with integrity. Citizens are calling for fellow citizens to embrace diversity in society. People are calling for governments to serve and take care of the needs of their people. While we might not aware, all these qualities we are seeking in our leaders are in fact the core values of Rotary.  These core values are within us in Rotary. We are a people with integrity, leadership. We are a people who serve, tolerate, and embrace diversity. We are a people who treasure fellowship. Without Rotary core values, the world will not be where it is. The world won’t get to where it needs to go without Rotary values. The world is in effect calling for Rotarian-like leaders to impact upon our lives.  We are in fact calling for leaders to be more Rotarian-like to impact upon our lives.

But we Rotarians are not satisfied to just have impact upon our own lives, but more.

Rotarian-like leaders are those who strongly feel for and are deeply embedded in Rotary core values. And they have taken many forms in history: In ancient China we might have called them “gentlemen” 君子.  In medieval Europe we might have called them “knights” 武士. In the modern days, we call them “individuals of significance”. They are significant because they realize the noble values of human beings. Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Sun Yat Sen.  These individuals of significance change the lives of others: from the East to the West, from one generation to another. They are our aspirations in life. We want to spend my whole life learning to be like them: to sublime, to upgrade, to elevate ourselves to the highest nobility attainable, a state of true beauty in any human’s life.  And we can achieve higher purpose of life through Rotary, by living out and staying true to the values of integrity, service, fellowship, diversity and leadership. The world is calling for more individuals of significance to inspire others’ lives.

With Rotary in mind, with life in mind, it does not matter what service projects we do, we are going to change lives. Not only physically, but also we shall plant the seeds of our core values into those who get into contact with Rotarians.  This is the biggest gift we can give, and the biggest legacy we can leave behind. For 2013-14, we will continue with the projects we do: water, leprosy, The One, Adopt a school, poverty alleviation and so on. We do all our service projects with a sincerely humble hope, a sincerely humble hope that we can plant Rotary values in our lives and in others’ lives.

My fellow Rotarians, linking Rotary and life creates a very powerful message.

I searched on previous RI themes: three times in the past, they have put the words “life” or “live”, the verb form of “life”, with “Rotary” in one theme.  The RI theme for this year is “Engage Rotary, Change Lives”.  “Engage Rotary, Change Lives”.  I believe the verbs have somehow weakened the message. Why don’t we just highlight Rotary and lives?  Rotary for life!  How wonderful! This matches with our year 1314, in Chinese一三一四, 一生一世.  We Rotarians are a people who are dedicated not only for weeks, months, years, but more.  13-14 is a special year of pledging our life-long commitment to Rotary: we stay in Rotary for life, for our lives and for others’ lives.  Thank you.


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