Rotary Club of Singapore North first started in Nov 1981, when Rtn MN Swami from Rotary Club of Singapore East and Mr.Kim Li Chee met with PDG Fong Hoe Beng also from Rotary Club of Singapore East at his house where they decided to sponsor a new Rotary club to be led by two East club members; Robert Pwee and MN Swami. Within the next few months, new members were recruited through personal contacts and on 04 April 1982, the Rotary Club of Singapore North was provisionally formed with 22 charter members all coming from different occupations and averaging 35 years of age. The regular weekly meetings were held at the then Merlin Hotel at Beach Road. The new club became the 7th Rotary club in Singapore (at present, there are 21 clubs) when it was chartered on 10 Aug1982 with CP Robert Pwee as its Charter President. The 1st anniversary dinner was held in April 1983 at Ming Court Hotel with Mr Goh Chok Tong, then Minister of Health, as the Guest of Honour. At the event, the club proudly contributed a kidney dialysis machine to the Ministry. The club was named Rotary Club of Singapore North as two clubs that came before it were named S-East and S-West following the compass points.
The club held its weekly club lunch meetings at various hotel venues, ending up presently at the Singapore Swimming Club having moved from the Pines, Steven Rd in 2013. Each year, the club will hold a formal dinner to install the new President and his board of directors for the new Rotary year.
In the early years, these dinners were grand affairs with every member helping to organize and members chipped in by taking a table or more for the event. We had Ministers, Ministers of States, high ranking Rotary officials attending as Guest of Honour to grace the occasions. Funds were raised for charity from raffle draws and auctions with sponsored prizes. Guests were entertained with quality performances and given door bags filled with goodies to bring home. Those were good times.
While several members have joined and left throughout the years, a core group remained to help guide the club to continue on each year and to recruit new blood. Today, the club has 26 members(25 fee paying members and 1 honorary member) and the charter members still with the club are CP Robert Pwee, PP Seow Hong Chiow and PP Kim Li Chee. The club had its first lady member in 1998 and first lady president in 2004, followed by another in 2008.
Each year, the club will carry out a major charity project to help selected organisations. Among the several projects undertaken, the club had raised funds of more than $55,000 to purchase food and supplies for the Myanmar cyclone hit victims; $30,000 from a charity film premier for the Boys Brigade Centre in Siem Reap, Cambodia; organizing golf tournaments (one had former president, the late Mr. Ong Teng Cheong taking part), to raise funds to support Autism Resource Center; Bone Marrow Donor Program; Margaret Drive Special School; MINDS; New Direction (a drug rehabilitation facility); Rotary Family Service Centre; Singapore Narcotics Association; Singapore Children’s Society; contribution of funds to help the victims of flood and landslide disasters in neighbouring countries; NorthWheel project, with members helping out to repair wheelchairs for the needy.
Other major fund raising projects carried out by our Club are: Production/ staging of musical shows, Carnival sales store, sale of Rotary souvenirs and festival cards, including MRT fare cards, job and property seminars, charity film premiers, walk/ jogathons, the island wide Young Executive of the Year Awards from 1998 to 2002, with a major sponsor; ‘Water Smart’ campaign with Singapore Life Saving Society; donation of recycled computers and learning tapes. Some of these projects were featured in the major papers. Joint projects were also undertaken with our Sister club, Rotary Club of Taksin-Dhonburi in Bangkok on an annual basis. These involved gifts to homes of under-privileged children and visits to prisons to help organize training programmes for the lady inmates.
On the fun side, members enjoy great fellowship through weekly lunches and dinners especially on many of the festive occassions, karoakes, family outings in Singapore and overseas trips to Malaysia, Thailand and HongKong. Other outings included boat cruises and car expeditions to Malaysia to shop; visit to places of interest and sampling of good food especially the delicious durians. On the serious side, the Board of Directors and the respective service groups, meet separately every month to discuss the affairs and projects of the Club. These meetings usually end with a fellowship dinner.
Our Club signed sisterhood relationships with the Rotary Club of Taksin-Dhonburi, Bangkok and the Rotary Club of HongKong Northeast. This is to promote friendship and cultural exchange outside our club and country. Our club also sponsored two Interact clubs, ITE College West and ITE College Central, to develop community awareness among our youths and to introduce Rotary ideals to them.
Contributed by Past President Kim Li Chee (Charter Member since 1982)