Dear fellow Rotarians,
When I was a child, Korea experienced a terrible war. After it was
over, my country received a great deal of help from other governments
and humanitarian organizations, help that put Korea on a track of
health, hope, and economic growth. In the decades since the war, both
Korea's economy and its Rotary club membership have grown enormously.
I feel there are two reasons for this. One is Koreans' desire to help
others as we were once helped ourselves; we all want to pay back some
of what was given to us. The other is the natural affinity Koreans
have for the values of Rotary: integrity, honor, hard work, and
fairness. Many of Rotary's core values are also core values in Korean
business. Koreans know very well the lesson taught by Herbert J.
Taylor, author of The Four-Way Test: We do not succeed professionally
despite our ethical behavior; we succeed because of it.
When Korean businesses interview potential employees, they look for
what we call chim shin uro, or "pure heart." A person with a pure
heart is someone who has personal integrity, a person who treats
others with honor and respect and can always be counted on to do
what's right. It is a highly valued trait in companies, and it is
equally important in Rotary. As Rotarians, our integrity is what
makes us successful in business, in service, and in life. "Pure
heart" is what we in Rotary call Service Above Self.
Koreans also talk about work as chip an. Chip an means "inside the
house." It is a way to talk about how important our work is to us,
how our companies are like our families. Our businesses and the
people in them should be treated with respect, honor, and dignity
because, Koreans believe, good personal relationships are the basis
for good business. We in Rotary also believe that honest, open
relationships with customers, co-workers, and employees are
important, as are our relationships with all our fellow Rotarians and
those we serve through Rotary.
True service gives us pure hearts when we bring it "inside the
house." This is the reality behind Service Above Self. This is the
reality of Rotary, the reality that inspires us and challenges us
Dong Kurn (D.K.) Lee
President, Rotary International