President's Blog

Kenneth Poon

President 2019-2020

Members Meeting 6th August 2019

We pride ourselves to be the first choice of visit for oversea rotarians visiting Hong Kong. Today we had Rtn. Alan Cheng from Rotary Club of Vancouver visiting us. Originally we also expected P Arvind Batra and Rtn. Raj Jain both from the Rotary Club of Jaipur Central, India. However prior to coming, they inquired about the safety in Hong Kong and eventually cancelled their visit. It is really sad to see Hong Kong’s image dropping to that equivalent to a Third World Country!

As our Club has registered as a Rotary Peacebuilding Club, I initiated a Peace Experience Sharing Moment into the Lunch Meeting. PP George Koo followed up on it to discuss the dire situation in Hong Kong. PP Selwyn asked what I think we could do. I replied with a quote from the senior partner in my previous Partnership Firm: “Work hard and pray hard”. We all need to have faith in Hong Kong.

Our speaker on the day was Mr. Sam Kong from the Hong Kong Productivity Centre (HKPC). His topic was “Industry 4.0”. Industry 4.0 is dubbed the fourth industrial revolution that makes use of the latest IT, AI and IoT in manufacturing to deliver products just in time and tailored to need. HKPC have been working in partnership with Fraunhoter IPT of Germany to assist SMEs in Hong Kong to upgrade themselves to meet the Industry 4.0 criteria since 2015. Hong Kong is pushing hard on innovation, but innovation without a high value manufacturing base to follow up makes it difficult to realize all those great ideas we have. It was great to hear the work HKPC is doing in this area.

I will be away for the next lunch meeting on 20th August, joining DG on his trip to Mongolia. IPP Donna has kindly agreed to step in for me. Thank you Donna. In the next two weeks there will be a host of events. Starting on 14th, Wednesday, we will have a Club visit to the Rotary Club of Admiralty as part of our “connect” efforts. On 19th, Monday, we will be holding the fellowship event “ Age 5 Masters meet The Masters” at the Opera Art Gallery at Wyndham Street where we will be awarding prizes on behalf of the Rotary Club of Kherson, Ukraine to the winners of the Stamp of Friendship International Art Competition. On the 20th, Tuesday, will be our regular lunch meeting. Our speaker on that day will be the Consul General of Korea. Given the recent situation between Korea and Japan, his speech will be very interesting. Then on 20th, Tuesday again, after the lunch will be a fellowship event to visit the European Office in Hong Kong for a deeper understanding of this entity that has made the news since the announcement of Briexit. There must be an event that you like!

YIR

P Kenneth

Members Meeting 16th July 2019

Today we had overseas visitors, Rtn. Mike Hebert and his wife Diane from Rotary Club of Brunswick, North Carolina. We also had Ms. Elike Hon, our ex-member who initiated our signatory “Test for Life” project whilst she was with us, Rtn. Jones Chan from RC Admiralty and Rtn. Sherman Chan from RC Lan Kwai Fong plus other guests by members.

The speaker was our own PP Kelvin Mui. The title of his speech was “Design and Business”. IPP Donna has always said that our own members are masters in their fields and their insights are as good as any prominent speaker we can get from outside the Club. Listening to PP Kelvin’s speech proves that point. He took us through the process when he approaches a project, be it a shop, an office or residence. His principle is the design has to be balanced between irrational desires and rational facts. E.g. in a shop, how to balance the desire to show as many merchandise as possible and still keep the shopping environment spacious and comfortable? In offices, how much common areas should be provided so that it encourages collaboration but at the same time allow sufficient space for focused work? PP Kelvin’s studio get around these problems by using statistic approaches like measuring the time spent by staff on focused work and collaboration discussions and plan it accordingly. Such scientific assistance to their artistic design work ensures that the completed environment will play its part in enhancing the business, making it more profitable or efficient.

The Q&A part was also interesting. PP Selwyn Mar, who used to run one of the largest department stores in Hong Kong, asked how to design and improve the business of a “Tai Pai Dong” or a street stall in “Women’s Street”? The vote of thanks was given by Rtn. Dr. Ankie Mak whose clinic was designed by PP Kelvin himself. She said the environment of the clinic is so comfortable that her patients tend to stay on after their treatments for their daily gossips. Nothing better to a professional than commendation from his customers!

YIR

P Kenneth

Installation Speech 9th July 2019

DG Wilson, VIPs from the District, Presidents and Past Presidents from fellow clubs in Area 2 and Area 7, all guests, welcome to our Club Installation Lunch.

It is indeed my honour to be elected as the President of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong, the first club to be chartered in District 3450. I joined Rotary quite early, admitted in 1991. In those days we met every Tuesday at the Mandarin Hotel and often had 8 to 10 tables full. PP Vernon told us in our Annual Gala Dinner that Radio Hong Kong used to broadcast the speeches made by our speakers. Those were before my days, but I do remember groups of reporters waiting outside our dining area for an interview with the speaker after he or she delivered the speech.

I am a surveyor and was made a partner in my firm at the age of 30, the youngest in its history. After I was made a partner, I was told by my senior partners that I now had to go out and find jobs for the firm. So they ushered me into the Rotary Club to establish connections. I made a lot of good friends in Rotary, but I never managed to get a job from it. However, Rotary did open my eyes as it allowed me to establish a network beyond my industry and build up my confidence in social connections. These assisted me greatly in the build-up of my career. For this, I am indebted to the Club. So after I retired and Donna asked me to take the role of President-Elect, I could not find any excuse to turn it down and therefore deliberately took on the challenge.

We pride ourselves in doing community services. Last year we had a full year of activities including visits to Guizhou to see the Left Behind Children, medical support visits and improvement works to Elderly Homes for the Salvation Army. We started an Art Therapy project together with our Rotaractors to assist elders with dementia. We eventually managed to accomplish our pledge to retro-fit a 6 by 6 Land Rover into a mobile clinic suited to roam desert terrain and deliver it to our partner Club in Mongolia to provide cervical cancer screening services after more than 3 years of hard work.

I found that Rotary is more than doing services. RI President Mark Maloney said: “you do not have to choose between Rotary and family. You can have both”. To ensure I can have both, I deliberately asked my wife, Ellen, to come and join me today as endorsement of her support for me to act as President. There is also truth in P Maloney’s statement from a different angle. Rotary is not just a club that brings professionals together to uphold business ethics and pay back to society by doing community work. The Rotary principles can also be a way of life. The 4-way test: Is it true? Is it fair? Will it build goodwill and friendship? Will it be beneficial to all? These principles can be applied in life and business also. Nowadays, social inequality has caused confrontation on a worldwide scale. A “Us” versus “Them” mentality keeps spreading. In EU, locals reject immigrants. In America, the working class are indignant that they are stripped off by the elites in Wall Street. In Hong Kong … I do not know what to say. Why should society be seen as so unfair? So lack of goodwill? Applying the Rotary principles in life could make our society more stable and sustainable.

In the coming year, we will continue with our existing work and at the same time adopt “Peace Making” as the core theme in planning new services. We have already started by registering as a Peace Builder Club with the Rotarian Action Group for Peace and will be setting up a Peace Committee in our Club to drive the movement. Initially, we intend to work with our Rotaract Clubs and Interact Clubs to build peace by providing mediation skill building to youngsters so that when they have disputes, they can think in each other’s shoes. We believe that if one can understand the underlying restraints of the other party, disputes can be avoided and mutual agreements can be more readily made.

To finalize, please let me introduce to you my Board Members: To start, IPP Donna Buckland who has also kindly consented to be the Programme Director; Hon. Secretary Janice Leung who we all rely on

to keep ourselves in line and in compliance; PE Peter Lau who has kindly agreed to take on the Membership Committee Chair shouldering the arduous task of getting new members. Peter is out of Town and cannot join us today; PP Dr. Frankie Lam, our Foundation Chair and link to the RI Foundation; Priscilla Law as Vice President and Public Relations Director; Connie Leung as our Hon Treasurer. Connie is in China and cannot join us today either; we have a strong services team consisting of PP Kelvin Mui as Services and PPE Director, Dr. Ankie Mak as Youth Services Director and Seishu Tanetani as International Services Director. Both Ankie and Seishu are also overseas and cannot join us today. I am deeply indebted to all of them for their unrivalled support and pledge herewith that I will do my best to keep up with the great work that my predecessors have done in keeping the Rotary Club of Hong Kong thriving for the past 88 years.

Thank you.

Kenneth Poon

Installation Lunch 9th July 2019

Today we held a modest lunch to conduct my installation as the 89th President of the Club. Before the lunch, we had a meeting with DG Wilson and other members from the District to report on our work in the last year and our plans for the coming year. I would herewith express my thanks to DG Wilson for his acknowledge of the great work done by IPP Donna and his encouraging words regarding my plans.

Over 50 Rotarians, guests and Rotaractors attended. I am particularly happy that my wife, Ellen, and my daughter, Stephanie, attended also to witness my installation. The ceiling in the Bankers Club is a bit low therefore the venue was as noisy and exuberant as a Chinese restaurant but it was great to see everybody enjoying the fellowship.

The Installation eventually started off with IPP Donna reporting on our work in the past year. Instead of speaking, she used a video and it was amazing to see everyone quieting down to watch it. Good move, Donna! She was followed by a speech from IPDG YC, then by my installation speech and finally an address by DG Wilson. The message from DG was membership growth is important (and encouraged by RI) but membership quality is equally important. Take good care of your rotaractors and encourage them to join Rotary when they feel they are ready as it will be definite that they share our same value. The whole Installation process, including the mini raffles draw, ran smoothly. Thanks to the hard work by our Executive Secretary, Yancy!

The event was closed by a toast to all the Clubs who had members present. These include: RC Admiralty, RC Central, RC HK Bayview, RC HK financial Center, RC Kowloon Golden Mile, RC Kowloon Tong, RC Lan Kwai Fong, RC Mandarin HK, RC Metropolitan, RC Peninsula, RC Peninsula South, RC Smart HK, RC Victoria, RC Wanchai and Rotaract Club of HKU.

Over the past few days, I attended a number of installation dinners and found that every Club has their own style. Some started with singing the Rotary song and some held a solemn oath taking pledge by the new Board. The only part that is the same is the passing of the sash from the IPP to IPDG to DG and then to the incoming President. Great diversity with a common core!

YIR

P Kenneth

Members Meeting 2nd July 2019

Today was my first luncheon meeting as President of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong. A bit clumsy in my handling but I will improve at it. I was warned that attendance might be light as it was the first working day after a long public holiday weekend. And what a holiday it was, as we witnessed half a million people protesting down the streets and riots in the Legislative Building until mid-night! Many must have been worried and stayed up late at night to witness the events.

I took the advice and arranged a “Review and Preview” session instead of inviting a guest speaker. IPP Donna gave a review on the magnificent work done under her leadership in 2018-2019 (her full report is uploaded on our website) and I took the chance to have a direct discussion with the attending members on what I planned to do in the coming 2019-2020 year and invited their comments. The meeting was attended by 15 members and we had a very good discussion with members proposing many ideas on how to raise members’ commitments and attendance. Our senior members shared their valuable experience on how they managed to run the Club when it had near to a 100 active members. Very inspiring and helpful for my future running of events.

The next meeting will be our Club’s Installation Meeting on 9th July, Tuesday. We expect visitors from District including DG Wilson and Presidents from friendly Clubs to attend and witness the event. Looking forward to meeting you all on this big day.

Yours In Rotary

P Kenneth

Membership Fellowship Sustainable Service meeting 18th June, 2019

The final luncheon meeting of the Rotary year 2018-2019 was dedicated to our members.

We celebrated our long serving members. There are 25 members in our club with over 25 years of Rotary under their belts, with the longest serving member being Rtn James Wu with 52 years in service. Collectively there are over 880 years of Rotary. As a club, we have approx 1280 years of Rotary service among our current members.

A wise man said it’s not the number of years in your life that matters but the life in your years. I do hope that our members have filled and will continue to fill their years with more meaningful Rotary fellowship and service life.

Guest speaker Dr. Kit Sinclair helped us reconnect with international rehabilitation service projects RCOHK supported in the past. A good session to understand occupational therapy - it was wonderful to see Rtn Adrian reconnecting with Dr. Sinclair and PP Vernon.

Members are our biggest asset. Our members define our prestigious club - a diverse hub of business leaders. The achievements our club enjoyed this year in Rotary service making global and local impact, is owing to the members’ continuous support. It was my true previlege to have served you as your club president - I will sign off on that note and look forward to a great year ahead under P Kenneth’s leadership.

YIR / P Donna

District Conference 18th May 2019

The 59th District Conference concluded with 500 participants and with representatives from RI. 7 delegates from our club was present to showcase our club’s achievement in the house of friendship. Special thanks to PP Arun who attended as the mother club’s CP delegate. We marched in first- after all, our founding members brought Rotary, an international service organization, to this part of the world. Our new addition to the club DDS Connie did a marvelous job of introducing the guest of honour - Mr Ronnie Chan, GBS. Ronnie spoke to us about the current situation of US and China with future context. For me personally, I was humbled that we had 7 delegates and 1 Rotaract president representing our club. We are 88 years old but we are not sleeping! Rotary is a big family and like any family, a gathering like this makes you realize we have challenges but also an opportunity to pave way for district’s future. We, as a mother club, do our bit by participating.

See you next Tuesday for a joint meeting at Grand Hyatt. Let’s participate in the fellowship and service Rotary stands for.

YIR / P Donna

Membership Fellowship & Sustainable Service Meeting 7th May 2019

We had the pleasure of having Mr. Leon Naidoo, South African Consul to Hong Kong join us, one day before South Africa's national election day. I know the votes are still being counted as we speak - oh the thrills!

It was lovely to see Rtn HJ Isler joining with Rotarianne Lucy Isler- a South African compatriot. I value the international nature of our club- a hub for diverse and laser sharp minds, we meet for friendly meals and work together to support services.

And speaking of services, three cheers for our services team with IPP Kelvin relentlessly executing the shipment of our mobile clinic to Mongolia. The renovated mobile clinic can now continue its journey providing cancer screening services to Mongolia’s poor. The recent 88th anniversary charity Gala’s fundraising success has greatly contributed to the financial resources needed to enable the shipment - thank you all members who supported. Service and fellowship is what our club is about. And building on this, perhaps an element of genuine friendship too. We had a cake for Rtn Janice and HJ’s birthdays, and also for Mother’s Day- one for PP Marta. All the best for your new arrival in June PP Marta - you are making history again.

The next club meeting will be a 3 Generation joint meeting at Grand Hyatt. Please mark your diary for the 21st of May and let’s be there for fellowship, service and friendship.

YIR / P Donna

Membership Fellowship & Sustainable Service Meeting 16 April 2019

April’s last luncheon was truly happy occasion to welcome back PP Selwyn Mar. We celebrated with PDG Jones Wong, who was the DG when PP Selwyn was the President for RCOHK. He joined us in short notice to re- pin PP Selwyn. PP Patrick Yeung gave a warm welcome note of a good friend coming back and all of this was witnessed by visiting Rotarians from Minnesota and Mumbai. Hats off to Rtn Benjamin and PP Steve turning up for Rotary luncheon on their birthday too ! Attendance matters as it is reenergizing to see good friends for lunch. And for a junior Rotarian like me, I learn from my conversations with senior Rotarians at lunch. 😊 Amongst this fellowship we made sure we are reminded that we here to serve- our guest speaker shared remarkable service stories for people in need in China. Our club will form a due diligence committee to learn more about this service project in Sichuan so we can be of help in a best way possible.

Easter break is great to reset after busy Q1, I hope most of you are going to have a relaxing one. For me, I finished my annual market visit, so will enjoy my Easter in HK- travelling 8 countries in 8 weeks was tough but I got my energy back from Tuesday lunches. Look forward to seeing you on the 7th May, for fellowship, service and knowledge. Happy Easter Everyone !

YIR / P Donna


Membership, Fellowship &Sustainable Service Meeting 2 April 2019

As a corporate person, I have a habit of looking for an organisation’s unique value proposition. For our club, I think it’s “International, Prestigious & Heritage bound”. April’s first meeting indeed demonstrated this quality, where we had visiting Rotarian from San Francisco (world’s #2 club) and from Kyoto (very prestigious)- they enjoyed meeting our members of RCOHK the #1 Rotary club in Hong Kong ( I would say this, right? 😄). We enjoyed learning about media in digital era presentation by our guest speaker- P Derek of RC Wanchai, our daughter club.

Rotary indeed is a big international family and I enjoyed singing the birthday song together with you all at the lunch for our loyal, long serving members, Rtn Benjamin and PP Steve. They share the same birthdays and between two of them, there is 56 years of Rotary service. Amazing dedication indeed.

Dear members - with 2 months left to go in this Rotary year, I am delighted to see more of you turning up at the regular lunches. It gives me that “push and pick me up”. I truly believe that the membership of our club is our biggest assset. You, the members, make and define our club’s unique value proposition.

Next regular luncheon is on the 16 April and we will have one of our previous member coming back on that day officially, so let’s “be there”.

YIR / P Donna (Writing from Hong Kong !)


Membership Fellowship & Sustainable Service Meeting 19 March 2019

Re-connection, reintroduction and recollection was in the air today. We welcomed two great members into our club, PP Connie Leung and Rtn Danielle Hou. We look forward to your contribution to our club and fellowship. The induction of the two members was made special by having 11 PPs present to witness the special occasion. As the oldest club in the District, we are lucky to be guided by the wealth of knowledge and advice PP Council provides in order for us to reconnect with our heritage while reinventing ourselves to stay relevant. Much to our delight, PP Selwyn Marr announced coming back today - a great example of our members reconnecting. The credit goes to you all loyal members, your years of dedication to our club’s service and fellowship is an huge intangible asset to Rotary in Hong Kong. Special thank you to Rtn Ankie, our new PHS member, for your charming introduction to skin health. Everyone enjoyed Dr. Ankie’s talk, I got some tips today too :) Fellow Rotarians, did you know Rotary was the first genuine social network? Through the fellowship and friendship we develop through Rotary, we can achieve some amazing things for our community. Let’s celebrate this in style at the upcoming 88th anniversary charity gala on the 10 April at Hong Kong Club. Chat soon.

YIR / P Donna ( in Bangkok)


Membership Fellowship & Sustainable Service meeting 5 March 2019

First meeting of March was full of international affairs. Rotarians from US, UK, Mexico, and Germany came to visit, among our international club members who all call Hong Kong home. Rotary is special in connecting people internationally, for those of us who travel a lot, it’s nice to be able to find a Rotary club everywhere you go, to broaden your network and build social and cultural capital. Rtn Joseph Pang I hope you enjoyed our members and the international visitors singing birthday song for you- your dedication to our club and the stellar attendance record is a real example and inspiration. For those of our members who celebrate birthdays in March, hope to see you at the next meeting. This month, we have another member joining us, PP Connie Leung, who is an international woman leader in her field. I look forward to welcoming her formally at the next club meeting on the 19 March, we have 4+ tables organized for the induction. Befitting to this occasion, our very own Dr. Ankie Mak will be the speaker to share her areas of expertise. I look forward to seeing as many of you.

YIR / P Donna ( writing from Hochimin )


Membership, Fellowship & Sustainable Service Meeting 19th February

Today was rather an auspicious occasion. Full house luncheon to celebrate the birthday of loyal members, including PP Vernon, on the eve of our 88th club birthday. 88 years is a long time of service and fellowship. Thank you PP Mitzi, PP Sandra and PP George, for sharing your tribute and fellowship memory of Rtn Randy Kwei. Rtn Adrian, thank you for educating the younger member of the club like myself, on the club's heritage. As you may have read in the club's half year newsletter full of club's achievements, we are reinventing ourselves, built on the solid foundation we inherited. The guest speaker of the luncheon talked us through the financial and marketing innovation linked to social values. I looked at the interaction between our members and the speaker and thought, 'where else would you go to find a group of business and community leaders, who genuinely believe in developing themselves, through building social capital and contribute to our community'. Rotary is a special place and I am proud to be part of this club, who brought Rotary to Hong Kong, 88 years ago. I look forward to coming back to Hong Kong this weekend to volunteer at our service partner event, UNESCO peacemaker's celebration. See some of you this weekend and the next club lunch 5 March.

Yours in Rotary P Donna (writing from Thailand)


Membership Fellowship Sustainable Service Meeting 8 January 2019

New Years’s Fellowship Meeting was full of happy reconnection. We celebrated the anniversary of the 18th birthday for PP Frankie and PP George. Brilliant.

Then we ran the happy broadcast sergeant- Rotary tradition I brought from New Zealand.

Rtn Ray Bera - announcing successful operation- he has iron man legs now! So good to see you back.

Rtn Michael Duck - announcing his daughter’s wedding in June, we wish for a magical one.

PP George - just celebrated 60 years wedding anniversary. That’s truly diamond standard loyalty, trust and love.

PE Kenneth - just had his first grandson, PE Kenneth good things keep coming to you !

PP Steve - spent family Christmas in HK first time in 20 years and is launching EMBA course focused on Russia. Legends don’t rest - they keep going ! Rtn Adrian wished everyone happy new year as his portion of happy broadcast. Visiting Rotarians PP Alex Leung and PP Connie Leung also shared happy news and the redbox got full with over HK 2,600. Well done RCOHK - Sharing the happy news and giving towards community service.

The next club meeting on the 15th will be run by our PP Arun, as I will be professional duty-bound to attend the AFF. I may spot one of our own PPs there on the stage too. 😄

Dear Rotarians, let’s keep reaching out to each other, we all want to hear and share.

YIR / Donna


Membership Fellowship Sustainable Service Meeting 18 December 2018

The last meeting of 2018 was made special by many factors - the Salvation Army colonel’s message of giving, the children’s choir, and visiting Rotarians including a PDG from the US. But most importantly your presence made it special for me.

Dear fellow Rotarians, my heartfelt thanks for the great turn out at the AGM. Your voice and endorsement matters. As a volunteer to this organization, your feedback is the most meaningful motivation. The board of directors worked hard to do justice to the heritage of our club and their hard work crystalised into a great outcome of our club once again getting recognized as a leading club by the district and by international Rotary leaders.

To take this momentum to the next level, I can’t be more thrilled to have our VP Kenneth Poon as our President Elect for our 89th year. Our membership is stable, our fellowship is strengthening and our services continue to make sustainable impact. So well done Rotary Club of Hong Kong, the club is made of you, by you, and for you.

Let’s have another great 6 months. We have our 88th year anniversary, community services projects and great fellowship events ahead. Merry Christmas to you all and see you on the 8th of January for our New Year lunch.

YIR / P Donna

Membership Fellowship Sustainable Service meeting 18th June, 2019

The final luncheon meeting of the Rotary year 2018-2019 was dedicated to our members.

We celebrated our long serving members. There are 25 members in our club with over 25 years of Rotary under their belts, with the longest serving member being Rtn James Wu with 52 years in service. Collectively there are over 880 years of Rotary. As a club, we have approx 1280 years of Rotary service among our current members.

A wise man said it’s not the number of years in your life that matters but the life in your years. I do hope that our members have filled and will continue to fill their years with more meaningful Rotary fellowship and service life.

Guest speaker Dr. Kit Sinclair helped us reconnect with international rehabilitation service projects RCOHK supported in the past. A good session to understand occupational therapy - it was wonderful to see Rtn Adrian reconnecting with Dr. Sinclair and PP Vernon.

Members are our biggest asset. Our members define our prestigious club - a diverse hub of business leaders. The achievements our club enjoyed this year in Rotary service making global and local impact, is owing to the members’ continuous support. It was my true previlege to have served you as your club president - I will sign off on that note and look forward to a great year ahead under P Kenneth’s leadership.

YIR/P Donna