ADDRESS OF THE DISTRICT GRAND MASTER OF THE DISTRICT GRAND LODGE OF THE EASTERN ARCHIPELAGO AT THE
A very good afternoon to you all, my Distinguished Brethren .
We welcome each and every one of you to this our Half Annual Communication 2018 and it is heart-warming to see so many Brethren seated here today, from near and far. On behalf of the District Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelago, I sincerely thank each and every one of you for having taken time off your busy schedules to join us.
Brethren, I will also hasten to add that the total numbers we have here today is just over 400, a significant number by any count.
One of the largest we have seen for any Half Annual Communication. But Brethren , this only represents some 20-25% of the total number of Brethren in our District. Baring those who are unable to be here today for health and aging reasons and those who have prior commitments, what happened to the remaining 75%???
You will also note that most of the Brethren present here today are the regulars who support the Communications year after year. I look forward to the remaining Brethren making some effort to attend these Communications to be updated with the happenings in the District and more important still, to also meet and re-establish relationships with the other Brethren from all over our District and the visitors from our neighbouring Districts.
I must particularly acknowledge the large and increasing numbers attending from Lodges in Singapore and Thailand which has been growing from year to year.
Our very special and heartfelt thanks to Right Worshipful Bro. Vivian Lee from the District Grand Lodge of Hong Kong and the Far East for his kind attendance today. Also accompanying him is RWB David Fok, who is no stranger to us and also the newly minted Deputy District Grand Master, W Bro Joseph Lee and members of their delegation and trust that they will all have an enjoyable weekend with us.
We also welcome Bro. Yip Wing Kong, the Worshipful Depute District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and his deputation. Their presence every year reflects again the close relationship between our two Constitutions and we are confident that it will only continue to grow from strength to strength.
We welcome RW Bro Thong Kean Sin, the Provincial Grand Master of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Lodge of South East Asia of the Most Worshipful, the Grand Lodge of Ireland together with RW Bro Lau Kee Seong and Brethren of their delegation.
Again my special thanks to all the Master Masons who have made special effort to join us today and we trust that you will find this weekend educational, enjoyable and memorable as always.
Our heartfelt thanks to the Chairman of the Organising Committee, W. Bro Niran Rajaratnam and his team for their tireless work once again together with the Worshipful Master of the Stewards Lodge, W Bro Koh Kia Hong. We will recognise each of them individually at the banquet later this evening. Thank you my Brethren.
To our Deputy and Assistant District Grand Masters, we thank you all most sincerely for having assisted me tirelessly throughout this period with your support, guidance and attendance at all installation meetings and special occasions. They have all travelled far and wide with me throughout this period.
Our District Grand Secretary, W. Bro Ahmalu Rajah and his Assistants and their team at the District Offices both here and in Singapore have always ensured that all necessary arrangements and administrative details were attended to on a timely basis. We recognise and record all their effort.
Our District Grand Director of Ceremonies, W Bro. Raji Ramason and his team have all been working very hard together with the relevant Directors of Ceremonies from individual Lodges to ensure that ceremonies were conducted to expectations and their high standards, so well maintained.
We thank our District Grand Treasurer, W. Bro Thambyrajah Sundram for managing the finances of the District in his usual impeccable style with a close scrutiny of the accounts of individual lodges and guiding them accordingly, where necessary.
A special word of thanks to our President of the District Board of General Purposes, W. Bro Alan Tang Swee Kam and our President of the District Board of Benevolence W. Bro Kenneth Khoo and all their respective Members for their dedicated service and continued guidance.
To all our other Acting District Grand Officers and members of the various Boards and Committees who have played their respective roles accordingly, our heartfelt appreciation to you for your undivided commitment and support. These include:
The Library & Museum Committee
The Investment Committee
Members of the RMHB in Kuala Lumpur
Members of the MHBL in Singapore.
Trustees of the Joseph William Yee Eu Foundation
And many others
All these Brethren have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure a smooth running of the District.
During the Annual Investiture in April this year, we were honoured by our Most Worshipful Grand Master with again an unusually high number of Initial Grand Ranks and Promotions.
We congratulate all who were conferred their honours and recognise that your respective appointments is most surely deserving and an encouragement to all, especially the younger Brethren. We look forward to your continued active support in the District.
This evening, we are again honoured to have our Ladies join us later at our Banquet.
We have always encouraged engagement with our families and in particular our good ladies, and we are pleased to note that many Lodges now invite their good ladies to join them at festive boards, whenever possible. .
The Ladies in many lodges have also formed groups wherein they organise activities as amongst themselves. This helps bind the relationship between the Ladies themselves and also the Brethren.
We strongly encourage the continuance of such activities
Inter Lodge Relationship
We have been recommending that lodges within particular regional areas support one another in all ways and in particular in their respective lodge activities.
In broad terms, we have lodges situated in the:
Kindly support one another in all the regular activities and in particular Installation Meetings, Installed Masters Nights, Visitations and Ladies Nights amongst others. Where possible conduct joint meetings as amongst yourselves as was done recently in Kota Kinabalu, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I look forward to the other regions organising their respective joint functions soon.
In supporting the Lodges within your described areas, please also offer the same support to our sister Lodges in their activities as I am sure they will also like wise support us too.
There has been a considerable improvement in the standards of workings in our respective Lodges and we are particularly pleased to note from our Visiting Officers’ reports, that Ritual Books and notes are very seldom used during ceremonies. However, some Lodges are still struggling with these efforts.
May we again strongly encourage all Brethren involved in ceremonies, to take time to prepare the relevant portions of their work for the benefit of the candidates during their ceremonies and the immense impact it will then have on them.
Worshipful Masters , Lodges and their Lodge Committees
Regretfully this year, there seems to be an unusually large number of Lodges having challenges within their own Lodge. Officers whom the WM had appointed are not standing together with their W.M.s’ and instead continuously oppose him and bad mouth his performance and programs not only within the Lodge but to others outside the Lodge.
In addition, there has been increasing numbers wherein senior Past Masters appear to have strong conflicting views with their W.M.s’ and his Lodge Committee and thereby creating disharmony and resulting in some cases of black balling and threats of black balling.
These are all very unhealthy practises and must be put to an end immediately. There is nothing that sitting around a table and discussing as matured Brethren cannot resolve.
To all the senior Brethren and in particular District and Grand Officers. You must lead by example as the younger new Brethren look to you all as mentors for guidance. Your example goes a long way in guiding and moulding them.
EGO and self-pride is the main reason for all the above. We should all learn to leave these aside and work in peace and harmony which is the hallmark of our esteemed Institution.
This year, with the Tercentenary events coming to an end, the number of overseas trips have also reduced significantly.
Kindly take note of the major forthcoming event in our region. This being the Installation of the new District Grand Master of The District Grand Lodge of Sri Lanka in November this year. Kindly mark your diaries accordingly.
The event will be officiated by none other than our Pro Grand Master and his team from London.
Mentorship and Education
We would like to place on record our special thanks to W. Bro Harwant in organising Lodge Mentorship programs. There again seems to be a renewed interest in these with increasing number of Brethren attending these programs. I look forward to these continuing greater vigour.
This has always been the hallmark of our Fraternity. I am so happy to note that with the regular publication of the Ashlar, we are now able to see an increasing trend amongst Lodges organising charity events and taking care of the needy and less privileged.
I thank you all for your untiring efforts and encourage you all to continue your great work.
Regalia and Clothing
Brethren, the District has arranged for T shirts and ties bearing the District logo for your use. These are available for sale downstairs.
I would like to encourage everyone to use the T Shirts during charity functions and other events as this would lend the level of visibility most needed for our Institution. There will also be some uniformity.
The District ties can be worn at all meetings within the District and I must add that this is strongly encouraged.
Kindly note however, that ties with logos from other Constitutions may not be worn at our meetings.
New Lodge and Members
We are delighted to report that earlier this year we were able to consecrate a new Lodge called the Oldham Lodge in Singapore. This is the first old schoolboys lodge in our District and it has received tremendous traction with a now long waiting line of initiates.
I wish them well and trust that this momentum will be continued.
There are also currently initial plans to consecrate new Lodges within our District and this is being done with much care to avoid forming lodges for the sake of EGO and diluting the already thin membership in some Lodges and in the process creating more problems than is necessary.
Most of our Lodges have also seen a considerable increase in new initiates and this augurs well for the Lodges in particular and our Fraternity in general. This appears to stem from younger Brethren arranging various activities for prospective candidates together with their partners.
I look forward to this trend continuing and growing from strength to strength.
We trust that each and every one of you will have an enjoyable and memorable weekend with us and will return to your respective Districts and Lodges and extend our greetings and warm wishes to all the Brethren who were not able to join us.
We look forward to welcoming you all to the Mystical Island of Langkawi in December 2018 with your families for a great weekend during the Annual Communication 2018. This also coincides with the Centenary celebrations of Lodge Kedah No 3830 E.C.
The Organising Committee has put together an exciting program and I look forward to a tremendous support from each and everyone one of you together with your families and in particular, our missing 75%.
May I take this opportunity to wish all Brethren celebrating Hari Raya next weekend a joyous occasion with friends and families.,
May the Great Architect of the Universe Bless each and every one of you.
Dato Jeyaraj Ratnaswamy
District Grand Master
09 June 2018