Incomming president Maleeratna Plumchitchom’s speech at the Installation Dinner of Rotary Club of Bangkok, on Monday, 18th of June, 2018

At 70 years in age, many do forgo an active life in society to stay home and enjoy their grandchildren. But at Rotary, age does not matter. Many are over 70 years old, and still conduct active lives, coming to our regular meetings, attending our service above self projects, giving advice,and ideas, to help our club in fulfilling our objectives. These valuable Rotarians have inspired many young members in turn to follow in their footsteps and become valuable  rotarians as well. We have many inspirational mentors amongst us in our club these days such as past rotary international president, H.E. Bhichai Rattakul,  PDG General Saiyud Kerdpol, PP Vinai Sachdev and many more. They embody our Rotary theme for the coming year BE THE INSPIRATION.

I  am very proud to be elected as president of this prestigious  club, the Rotary club of Bangkok, to lead the 88th year of our Rotary Service. And may I also take this opportunity to thank outgoing President Dr. Urs for his inspiration in leadership.

I wish to remember our late great King Rama IX, also the Royal Patron of Rotary in Thailand, who in his royal speech to the Rotary Club of Bangkok at the Gala Dinner on feb 27,1969, mentioned that, after consulting Prince Dhani, he felt it appropriate to accept the invitation for the Rotary Club of Bangkok gala dinner as the Rotary Club of Bangkok is the senior rotary club in this country. And the motto of rotary is “service above self”. Men of different professions join forces,  dedicating themselves to improve  the condition of the community in which they live. Later in his speech, he further remarked and I quote:”The proceeds of tonight’s affair will be partly used to complete the rotary program and I must say that your efforts are very commendable. I can assure you that the other of the proceeds will be used for the welfare of hill tribes.” End quote.

Even his Majesty the King’s speech was 49 years ago, our tradition of doing service above self must and does remain .We  continue to join forces to do many good things for our communities. The only difference from 49 years ago is that we now have not only male members but another 20% are female members as well!

I believe that  we are very lucky to have witnessed so many projects that our beloved late king has done for our country. His deep philosophy , powerful ideas and great vision continue to guide us in the right direction.

He truly remains the great inspiration! His late Majesty in his time addressed many of the pressing problems facing the country that included the environment, hilltribes and deforestation.  In recent days, Thailand has become the focus of attention to another huge environmental waste problem.  It is shocking to see the damage that a callous attitude towards plastic waste is now causing to our beautiful marine and natural resources.  I have already initiated some discussions with my incoming Board if our club may adopt a service project in this area besides our numerous other service projects in Rotary’s 6 areas of focus.  Another area, that I am also concerned about is the critical state of our country’s education system that I fear is failing to address the competitive skills needed for our next generations to thrive in the new economy. These are truly difficult and long term problems that I believe Rotarians among other leaders will need to be the inspiration to address.

I am most happy to be part of the Lake of Love project initiated by Past rotary international president H.E. Bhichai Rattakul. The lake of love too was inspired by his Majesty the late King’s knowledge, wisdom and love of his people.

King Bhumibol in his speech had inspired us to recognize that problems are a challenge and that out of the darkness of the challenge will come light.

This will help my committee members and I to face the problems that may occur during our rotary year. We are ready to accept the challenge, since  we believe in our king’s advice that there shall be the light to guide us to sail through all those challenges. You, as our valuable members, friends and families who are gathering here , will be the light for us. Lets us have the courage, the wisdom ,the vision and the strength to fulfill our Rotary dreams and live our motto of “Service above self”!

For instance, 3 years ago PP Cheimi,PP Kallaya, and PP Ateeb inspired us with the club’s 85th anniversary history book through their steadfast and untiring efforts. So now we have our valuable past history as reference and the many good deeds of all those wonderful Rotarians before us to Be The Inspiration for us to follow.

HM King Rama 9 in another royal address to Rotary on Nov 9,1970 concluded that speech with this remark and I quote “Rotary is an ideal in action and action  is worth more than speech. Let me end my speech  now for more action.” Unquote

Ladies and gentlemen, I am likewise inspired by my greatest mentor to end my speech here with a similar call to my fellow Rotarians to once again “Be the Inspiration” for more action.

Thank you

President Maleeratna Plumchitchom

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