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A Call to All Rotarians in our Club, by President Eric Ong

My dear fellow Rotarians,

As we prepare for the new Rotary Year and the tasks and challenges ahead, I ask you to look back over the years of Rotary that you have enjoyed and of the different friends and experiences that you have made. When we try to determine what is needed to realize our theme for the year we cannot escape from the fact that first and foremost is the need to strengthen our club. To do this we need to understand that our experiences of the past are just as relevant today as it was in the past. Learning from our experiences is necessary to enable us make our tomorrow better. As R.I. President Shekhar Mehta advises “We must dreams big, guided by our shared vision of Rotary, we must plan, inspire and motivate Rotarians to reach goal – goals to expand the reach of our organization by increasing membership, and goals to increase the impact of Rotary by serving the world.

We see ourselves as part of a great tradition, as links in a chain joining our future to our present. If that chain is to continue, every link in it must be strong.” It is encumbered on each of us as Rotarians to make the ideals of Rotary stronger in our Club in the year ahead and even stronger the year after.

If the future of Rotary is to be in our hand then we need to ensure that we have an active Club with every member involved and interested in making the Club stronger. Whether you are a newly inducted Rotarian, an ordinary Rotarian, a Rotarian Board member, a Past President or a Past Governor we must all stand on the level, equal in our commitment to serve in the name of Rotary. We cannot take for granted and leave well alone the present strengths and shortcomings of our club. We would not be out of step to address the first pillar of Rotary, the reason why Rotary was founded in the first place,,“ the development of acquaintances as a means of service”; fellowship; “ the glue that binds us ”. We cannot take fellowship for granted, for unless we have good fellowship it would be difficult to have Rotarians wanting and looking forward to our weekly Wednesday meetings, looking forward to working together in projects or in dispensing service to the community. We need to get more then 50% of our members actively involved in our projects which should not just be left only to the members of the Board or members of the Project Committee.

We must try through better fellowship to ensure that we regularly have at least a 70% attendance at our weekly meetings and that we have regular and increasingly better attendance at our monthly Service Function meetings. Only when good fellowship exists can we convert the RINOs among us. Exempt members can make a significant contribution to fellowship by actively participating in the Service Committees and in the various projects. Rotarians not serving on the Board of Directors are not necessarily excused from being active in the Service Committees. Your active participation will greatly enhance fellowship in our Club and will be an encouragement to the newer Rotarians.

To our younger and newly inducted Rotarians I say to you that when each of you became Rotarians you promised and agreed to subscribe to the main tenets and ideals of Rotary. Make it a goal to get to know your fellow Rotarians better. Participate in service. Come forward to volunteer even when not asked.

In this regard I would like to say to all Rotarians in our Club that we are collectively responsible for the health and strength of this Club. Each one of us is standing on the shoulders of Rotarians past and present and it is our collective responsibility to shape and determine the future of our Club and of Rotary in Penang. At the end of the day everything that we accomplish will be done through the collective strength of the members of this Club. We will achieve this through improved fellowship; through genuine fellowship goodwill will prevail. When there is goodwill the burden of service will be shared among many shoulders.

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