Address by Professor Rosie YOUNG Tse-Tse, GBS, JP



HKSYU The 39th Graduation Ceremony


Speech by Professor Rosie YOUNG Tse-Tse, GBS, JP

President HU, Dr. CHUNG, Governors of the board, fellow graduates, teachers,

students and distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.


On behalf of Mr. VAN and myself, I wish to thank the President and Board of

Governors for conferring on us the prestigious award of Honorary Doctorates of this

young but already well established University. For myself I feel particularly happy

today to share this honour with Mr. VAN Lau, a renowned Artist, whose sculptures are

exhibited in many prominent places in Hong Kong, China and abroad.


I also feel humbled that I can share the same platform with my predecessors

Professor JAO Tsung I and the Hon. Mr. WONG Yan Lung who were recipients of

honorary doctorates from this University a year ago. Both Professor JAO and Mr.

WONG are household names in Hong Kong. Professor JAO’s lifelong achievement

in the study of Chinese culture has earned him the reputation of being the treasure of

our nation. Mr. WONG in his former role as Secretary for Justice has won universal

acclaim for his personal integrity and his unstinting effort to uphold the rule of law,

which he has done quietly and steadily with no fanfare.


The status of a university was conferred on Shue Yan in Dec 2006. She is therefore

the youngest university in Hong Kong. She is also the first private university in the

SAR. But her reputation has already traveled far and wide. The founding of Shue Yan

College, her predecessor, in 1971 by Dr. Henry HL HU and Dr. CHUNG Chi Yung and

the College’s subsequent evolution into a university have formed an integral part of

the history of the development of tertiary education in Hong Kong. The dedication

and perseverance of the founders to achieve this goal without compromising their

ideals are most admirable. For over three decades they had to struggle alone without

any financial or moral support from the government.


The most important and if not the only asset of Hong Kong is our people, their

talents, endeavour and commitment. The universal aim of education is to help people

develop their full potential. Universities being the powerhouse for post secondary

education have two basic functions – to preserve, advance and transmit knowledge

through teaching and scholarship and to promote the search for objective truth

through research. Sir Thomas MORE in the 15th century remarked that ‘the end

of education is utility – useful to its members in that it provides them with a means

to develop their personal understanding, skills and interests; that it can be useful

to society, in that it prepares men and women for citizenship and for highly skilled

work’. Thus he added a third dimension to the function of a university, i.e. the role

universities play in the community including its socio-economical, political and cultural



The world today is very different from that in the 15th Century. Air travel has

narrowed distances between countries and the internet has eliminated the time

required for information to travel from one place to another. Globalisation is now

the rule rather than the exception. Innovation and technology have brought about

unforeseen changes in our daily life. Most of these changes have been translated into

communal prosperity enabling people to enjoy a better quality of life. But this is not

the whole story.


There is an increasing trend for people to focus on wealth, enjoyment and

self interest. There is still a tremendous difference in healthcare and education

opportunities between the haves and have-nots. While the core values of universities

remain unchanged we need to do more. We reaffirm that scientific and technological

advances can take us to new frontiers and breakthroughs, but we should also

acknowledge the importance of humanities (Literature, Philosophy, Ethics, History

and Spirituality), social science, which include cultural studies, psychology, sociology,

anthropology as well as the arts (namely, performance, film, and other visual arts).


Before the introduction of the new ‘334’ secondary school structure, students

were allocated into science and arts streams. For a variety of reasons the science

stream was much more popular but these students had to give up the study of subjects

like literature and history at an early age. The new system provides some remedy by

abolishing early streaming.


Here I would like your permission to talk about something that I am familiar with

i.e. the practice of medicine and medical education. The practice of medicine is

both an art and a science. In recent years the paradigm has shifted more and more

towards science and this is what it should be. New technological innovations and

scientific discoveries have led to more sensitive and precise means of diagnosis

and the development of new drugs that are more effective and more specific and

less likely to cause side effects. The facilities for transplanting organs, the effective

treatment of malignant diseases, the initiation of life in the test tube, the potential

for genetic engineering and the development of advanced life support systems have

greatly increased the efficacy of medicine and power of doctors to prolong life and

relieve suffering. Whilst the modern doctor may succeed in his capacity as a healer

of the patient’s physical ailment he often fails in his role as a compassionate carer.

We realize that in addition to scientific knowledge and skills, the curriculum in a

medical school should include the humanities. By doing so we hope to nurture caring

physicians and deepen their understanding of the human existence. Thus when they

graduate as doctors they can provide the best holistic care to their patients and the

community. In 2012 a new Medical Humanities Curriculum was therefore introduced

in the Medical Faculty of the University of Hong Kong.


More emphasis on humanities and moral values in university education is not

new. This was already one of the aims of Shue Yan College when it was established

in 1971. Furthermore Shue Yan education was designed to produce graduates ‘who

are ready to apply their global outlook and understanding of Chinese cultural values to

support the harmonious development of Hong Kong and China in the 21st century’. I

think we should salute the founders of Shue Yan College for their foresight, vision and



Source:  December Issue 2013

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