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March 31
2014 年 3 月 27日

器之為用,道的氣度

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昨天有幾位同學找我,可惜由於公務纏身,失之交臂。幸好經特別安排,得以邀約在今天清晨就台灣發生的社會衝突交換意見。

五年多前,我把在美國34年的高教經驗帶來香港;對外城大成為香港第一所正式向台灣招收大學本科生的大學,對內藉著募款基金,大學投入大量經費,積極推動學生實習,期望促使至少一半的城大生在畢業之前,花一學期以上的時間往訪世界先進學府。執杖千里行,由大學提供平臺,為實踐學以致用的理念,在專業學習、服務社會方面做多面向的努力,見識他山之石,避免人云亦云,有所蒙蔽。此外,我定期與許多從國外回校的學生座談,了解他們交流實習的心得感受。

台灣近日的服貿紛擾,令人不安。同學投入社會事務,追求理念,熱情感人。我以為,提出訴求,不屈不撓的勇往直前,只是爭取理念的「器」。器之所用,不可或忘遵守法治。出於關心,我曾去信馬英九總統,希望基於年輕人對社會關懷的純真,政府耐心與學生及大眾探討公共議題。關心同學,我提醒注意自身的健康與安全。

服貿事件讓我想起1994年諾貝爾經濟獎得主 John Nash 於 2011年11月7日應邀來城大演講當代遊戲規則之事。其精神,就是如何由當事者設下雙贏策略。這才是匠器之外的「道」。John Nash 劃時代的理論對世界經貿、社會福祉,甚至國際政治都有很大的貢獻,值得重溫重視。

年輕人是未來的希望,無論當政者或關心時事的同學都應該在器之為用以外,注意道的氣度。莫待春風花落時,不堪愁望奈何天;願以此與大家共勉。每個真正關心社會福祉的人,都應了解並客觀分析問題,就事論事。記得,欲挑戰權威,先要戰勝自己。

 

Idealism, practicality and The Way

I met with some student yesterday who wanted to exchange views about the recent social unrest in Taiwan. The unrest, related to the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA), is very disturbing, bringing together a clear case of idealism versus practicality.

Commendable as it is for the students to devote themselves to public issues and pursue their ideals, such appeals and dogged determination, in my opinion, are only the means to attain one's ideals. In an effort to employ the means we should not forget the rule of law.

It is very important that students in higher education have the opportunity to broaden their global outlook so that they become wiser about the world. It is essential for the creation of a creative and innovative workforce that student do not follow unthinkingly other people's views.

Since taking over as President of CityU in 2008, after 34 years' higher education experience in the US, I have championed this need for students to become more internationalised and to see the bigger picture. We have achieved a great deal in this regard over the past five years: CityU became the first university in Hong Kong to recruit students from Taiwan and we have exhorted ourselves to raise funds for promoting overseas exchanges for students. Our expectation is that at least 50 percent of all our students will have a chance to spend at least one semester at leading universities throughout the world during their studies at CityU.

Above all, we want CityU students to traverse the globe and apply what they learn in the classroom from our world-class faculty to the world beyond the classroom. This is the essence of a professional education and service to the community in multiple ways.

At the same time, it is equally imperative that people in my position keep themselves informed by regularly meeting the students who return from overseas study trips to find out how they feel about and what they have learned through such exchanges.

Regarding the unrest in Taiwan, I have written to President Ma Ying-jeou, hoping that the Taiwan administration will appreciate young people's sincere concerns about our society and, with patience, start a dialogue with the students and the public over issues of common interest. Also, I advised our students to pay heed to health and safety in their responses to these kinds of issues.

The CSSTA incident reminded me of game theory, which Professor John Nash, winner of the Nobel Prize Laureate for Economic Sciences in 1994, discussed at a talk at CityU on 7 November 2011. The essential principle of game theory is to set a win-win strategy. That is "the Supreme Way", beyond mechanical devices and stereotyped means.

The epoch-marking theory proposed by Professor Nash has contributed significantly to the world economy and trade, social well-being, and even international politics, making it worthy of our attention. It is a theory that we should bear in mind when debating issues related to those that are affecting Taiwan today.

Young people are the promise of the future. We must pay heed to the majestic airs of "The Supreme Way" whether you are an administrator or a student, in addition to the employment of means.

Don't tarry till the spring breeze sweeps off the blooming flowers,
Finding ourselves helpless in an awkward situation.

I would set this down as our motto. Anyone who is genuinely concerned about social well-being should know and analyse the actual situation in an objective manner and focus his or her attention on solving the problems concerned. We should bear in mind that we should challenge, or perhaps conquer, ourselves before we challenge authority.

March 27, 2014

 

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