Espinoza: The 2023 Kaohsiung Rotary Institute experience

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Espinoza: The 2023 Kaohsiung Rotary Institute experience
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Rotary International (RI) holds the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) every year. This year’s RLI, dubbed as the 2023 Kaohsiung Rotary Institute, was conducted at the iconic Grand Hi-Lai Hotel in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan from Dec. 8 to 10.

The RLI is a grassroots coalition of Rotary Districts implementing a leadership development program for “potential” leaders of Rotary Clubs. This was established in 1992 and has become a worldwide organization with divisions in every major continent. RLI believes that excellent CLUB leadership (all types of club leaders) is essential to the future of Rotary in a complex and fast changing world. Most Rotarians have not been exposed to the great scope of Rotary around the world and have not considered what leadership skills are necessary to move Rotary forward. (Rotary website)

The gathering also aimed to be an excellent opportunity for Rotarians to learn, share and strengthen the Rotary spirit. Indeed, I learned about some matters which were unknown to me even after I served as president of RC Cebu South from May 2017 to June 2018. It was a good experience as a Rotarian to visit the city, and see many of its tourist spots and huge shopping centers.

Together with our Rotary Club Cebu South president Edwin Villaber, president-elect Glen Rivarez, and club secretary Dennis Lercana, I attended this Rotary Leadership for the first time. It was also sort of a short vacation for me and my family. My wife Dr. Malou and son Dr. Dominic joined me on this trip, and they enjoyed the shopping centers.

During the four days of activities at the hotel, we met our past District 3860 Governor Mae Ann Solomon and current District Governor Twinkle Gamboa. We also had good vibes meeting Bisaya Rotarians from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon.

Believe it or not, we just walked (nagdaginot sa TD) on our way to the Grand Hai-Lai from our hotel in the morning and in the afternoon going back to our hotel. It was a good and healthy walk (more or less 10,000 steps) where we observed how clean and tidy the streets and canals were. Kaohsiung City, if my memory serves me right, had a sisterhood agreement with Cebu City during the time of former mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Kaohsiung’s public plaza is devoid of bystanders.

The city’s traffic is orderly. The motorcycles have their own wide lane so they do not mingle with cars, buses and trucks on the main road. Pedestrians obey and observe traffic rules. I did not see one person cross the street when the red light for pedestrians was on. The motorists did not stop or obstruct the zebra or pedestrian lanes during stops on red light, which our PUJ (public utility jeepneys) or MPUJ (modern PUJs) and habal-habal drivers do not follow.

I saw residents carrying garbage bags and waiting for the garbage truck to arrive. They themselves placed their garbage in the compactor garbage truck. Indeed, they are very disciplined.

When Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama revealed his wild dreams to make Cebu City Singapore-like I was so amazed because Singapore is too high a standard to follow. Kaohsiung City, on other hand, could have been a better choice for a model being a sister city

While there is a language barrier for some Taiwanese, people like taxi drivers and shopping center attendants, some of whom we engaged, spoke and understood English. It was good that Glen Rivarez speaks a little Mandarin as he used to work in Taiwan. That was the only way we were able to order mouthwatering food in restaurants. The people in Taiwan speak Mandarin.

This is not a promotion, but Kaohsiung is a nice place to visit. The weather is fair.

Merry Christmas!


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