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President Thaya's Message

18 May 2022




My fellow Rotarians and friends of Rotary,

What's The "Spirit" Of Rotary?

As we are preparing ourselves for a big charity event, the Rotary Charity Ball, it is pertinent to rekindle the question, "What is the spirit of Rotary?" And have we ever tried to describe it?

Firstly, our motto of "Service Above Self" describes our purpose - we strive to provide service for the benefit of others. When it comes to activities in clubs, our focus should be on providing service through the use of our labour and/or resources, or through funding the provision of it.

We are not a fundraising organisation! We are a service organisation that fundraises with the purpose of supporting service activities. When fundraising, we remember to always promote the purpose of fundraising - what we are doing and why we are doing it. This helps with member engagement, and this approach may attract interest from potential Rotarians!

Let's now focus on our organisation. We have many challenges, including retention of members. It is often said that to get a new member involved, give them a responsibility, to encourage ownership.

Consider: what are the jobs? How are they decided and distributed? How are they handed on? Do we have succession plans? How are members' skills recognised?  Are the skills used for the benefit of our purpose?

As Rotarians, we say we are "People of Action", and through our collective actions TOGETHER, we are "doing good in the world". We are problem solvers. We are opportunity creators. We are community builders-and we are much more!

We also say that, as a team of Rotarians, our output is greater than the sum of our parts. For this to occur, all parts need to be working in continuous harmony-and that's the clue to the Spirit of Rotary!

  • Every Rotarian is generous with their time and acts in good faith. We respect what members can do and value all contributions and the time they invest.

  • Everyone does their part-individuals agree on what they can and they do it. When agreeing to do something, get it done in a timely manner. Show and gain respect. It is both earned and given.

  • Everyone plays their part (s) on time and in sync. Agreed, cooperation is a relatively straight forward concept, and with it, together we can achieve great things.

  • Everyone has a position or role, and they play within it, not trying to occupy, undermine, usurp, or get in the way of someone else's position or role. They run their race, along their track and pass the baton once they complete their race.

In short, everyone supports one another through cooperation and goodwill to achieve the completion of their respective tasks. Everyone plays a team game, with mutual respect, while living the Four Way Test.

Along the way, we have great fun, enjoy mutual friendships and gain fulfilment through service to others.

Does this seem like the spirit of Rotary to you?

Each of us can act to ensure behaviours that have the potential to inhibit us and disengaging members are eliminated from our organisation. We lead by example by modelling the type of behaviour fit for our organisation.

Here are four ways in which we can express kindness and generosity towards others by giving:

  • Time: It can mean the world to a person who's hurting or lonely.

  • Talent: An organisation like Rotary, uses the talents of gifted individuals to serve the community.

  • Treasure: Financial support. This is why we do fundraising from time to time, whether it's through Rotary BBQ or Rotary Charity Ball.

  • Touch:  Everybody we meet struggles with anxieties and fights battles they usually don't talk about. So, our smile and words of encouragement can be like a lifeline that helps keep them afloat that day.

At times, selfishness is so innate in each one of us that it's like breathing; we do it without realising. So, in order to change, we must rearrange our priorities and reprogram our minds and decide, "I will not let this day pass until I have said or done something to help, bless, and encourage another human being." That is a classic example of "Rotary Spirit".

From what I learned recently, if we like to conquer selfishness, become more generous, and be influenced by the "Rotary Spirit,"

  • Give away something you would prefer to keep. The goal is to break your emotional attachment to material things.

  • Progression to anonymous benevolence Leave a needy person a cash gift in an envelope. Don't put your name on it, and don't tell anyone you did it.

  • Make time for someone during your busy schedule.

  • There are a few necessary components in giving. Giving that is selfless, secretive, strategic, and, of course, sacrificial!

"Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can."

- John Wesley, Letters of John Wesley


Rotary Service to You

Thaya Ponniah

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Last Update Wednesday May 18, 2022