MAY MARKS THE END of this Board’s tenure and my stint as your FCCJ president.

We’ll wrap up our year in early June with a final meeting, followed by elections and the handover to the new officers. It’s a cycle that has governed our Club for years. Some people believe it is too short; after all, what can a board of directors achieve in just a year. Others, like me, who are still active in developing their journalism careers, find the call to serve the Club for more than a year a difficult decision, since the time and commitment required is a demanding sacrifice.

While that debate continues, however, I want to remind Regular Members that there is still time for nominations. I urge everyone to take the opportunity to support and guide the FCCJ as it faces several crucial decisions the upcoming Club move to a new location and building a stable financial platform. This year, we’ve made enormous progress towards these goals. For a start, we’ve begun to share a number of expert opinions with members in efforts to facilitate open debate. A lot of progress has been made on this front, which I believe is a very good thing for the Club.

I have learned several important lessons during my term. I strongly believe there are capable people out there who can provide valuable support in making important reforms. By this I mean that journalists and Associates should respect each other’s talents. The crucial fact is that some Associates represent management expertise that journalists need when called to govern the Club.

At the same time, the FCCJ is a journalist club representing the core principles of free speech, transparent debate and respect for diverse opinions. All efforts in Club management must go towards protecting this reputation and extreme care must be taken to maintain it. With mutual respect between associate and regulars, we can work together to make a strong FCCJ, and I would hope that this remains an important platform for future boards.

This can only work if there is open debate. We have our differences and they should be clearly addressed. But the bottom line is what is best for the FCCJ not proving a personal point.

A difficult proposition? I don’t think so. One of my most memorable moments as president was making the toast at our 70th anniversary celebration last October. Digging into the FCCJ past to find inspiration to write my speech was quite an experience. Indeed, the origins of the FCCJ’s birth, when journalists from all over the world gathered to report on democracy in East Asia, must not be forgotten.

As we dash through another busy day of reporting the news, I urge Regular Members to consider being a candidate for the elections and to keep the FCCJ flag flying.

Have a wonderful month of May.