Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Dear fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors,
February is here and it’s very special in the Rotary calendar since it is designated “Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution month”. On the 23 February, we celebrate the birth of our organization – World Understanding and Peace Day (WUPD).
As we celebrate the 116th birthday of Rotary this month, let us focus on one of the cornerstones of Rotary International – World Understanding/Peace Building and Conflict Prevention.
It has been said that poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources are some of the triggers of conflicts in our world. Thankfully, through the many service projects; The Rotary Foundation, Rotary and Rotaract Clubs around the world are taking action to combat these issues.
Our District 3310 comprises three countries namely Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore. It’s a microcosm, demonstrating the diversity in demographics and strength of Rotary ideals in action.
Since 2002, Rotary has created and supported five Peace Centers. Every year, about 130 Peace Fellows graduate with a masters or certificate in peace building are appointed to become catalysts for peace around the world. This year, Rotary club of Singapore has sponsored one such scholar through TRF Global Grant to study in Singapore.
My initial idea of all clubs coming together on 23 February to celebrate WUPD in their region is somewhat thwarted due to the Malaysian MCO and restrictions in Singapore due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Nevertheless, all clubs in Singapore will be having an in-person business meeting either by singly or jointly with other clubs. Rotary Club of Singapore will be the main host for the WUPD meeting at Conrad Centennial Hotel. Clubs from Johor/Melaka, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei can join in the meeting via zoom at 8pm (GMT+8).
In January, the District Vocational Service committee successfully concluded District Virtual Vocational Insights and Perspectives (V.I.P) Forum in conjunction with the Vocational Service month. The next District Vocational Dialogue 3 is scheduled on 21 February 2021.
On 16 January, the Rotary Learning Institute (RLI) successfully completed the virtual Graduate and Faculty Orientation for the Sabah region. Congratulations to all the graduates.
On 30 January the first ever COL/COR workplan 2021 – What you need to know awareness program organised by COL/COR working committee was conducted virtually.
Another first was the virtual Community Project Showcase organised by the District Community Service Committee on 31 January which saw some 154 participants from our District and other Districts.
The last couple of months have been tough for many of us. We experienced the worst spike ever in COVID-19 cases so far throughout Malaysia, and with that came the MCO for the second time. Compounding the matter were floods in Johor and Sabah. As a result, lives were lost, and livelihoods of many families were severely disrupted. The District Disaster Response Management Committee headed by PP Foo Kok Hing, together with RC Batu Pahat, RC Johor Bahru and RC Kota Kinabalu Pearl, were able to provide to the immediate needs of some of the flood victims.
The first round of D3310 Sabah COVID 19 Response matching Grant of RM 50,000 was given out to 10 of the 13 clubs in Sabah. The projects are in various stages of completion. The second round of grants was rolled out on 14 January and the closing date for application is on 28 February and the projects must be completed within 2 months of approval.
To date, I have completed 68 of my “DG club visits”. There are 3 clubs remaining, one in Singapore and 2 in Melaka.
Membership in the District has grown by nett 4% or 79 members making it a total of 2153 members since the commencement of the current Rotary year. I appeal to all clubs to continue to do their best to retain existing members who have been our friends in service. The District Membership and New Club Development committees are working very hard despite the pandemic. The District is expected to charter 2 traditional clubs and one satellite club in due course.
Our foundation giving for End Polio is reasonable but our contribution to Annual Fund and Endowment Fund is far from our goals. I urge every Rotarian to contribute at least US$25 to the Annual Fund. I appreciate this year is especially challenging in terms of fund raising due to the COVID 19 pandemic, but we must continue to do our small part to make contributions to the Annual Fund. Your contributions will help to strengthen peace efforts, provide clean water and sanitation, support education, grow local economies, save mothers and children, and fight disease.
February is a busy time for clubs and the district getting ready for training events, International and District Conference. 2021 Virtual International Assembly is scheduled from 1 to 11 February. Our District Governor Elect Dolly Yeap with D-LEAD Chairman PDG Andre Suharto have already started planning PETS and DISTAS. PETS will be held from 29 March to 5 April and DISTAS, from 18 April to 27 April.
Our 30th District Conference will take place virtually over three days from 21 May to 23 May. On the first day, there will be the opening formalities. The second and third day will feature keynotes speakers. The District and RI award ceremony will be held on Sunday (23 May).
February 2021 is also Lunar New Year month. My wife Nica and I wish all of you who celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year a happy and prosperous year of the Ox. Happy Lunar New Year and Gong Hei Fat Choy!
Yours in Rotary,
District Governor 2020-2021