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September 29
2015 年 9 月 29 日

楊建文的確認

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楊建文於 2015 年 9月捐贈香港城市大學 2 億港幣。這是單一個人捐贈本港大學的一筆大款項。讀完本文,可以了解這個重要的里程碑帶有深意,是個值得大家反覆思考的故事。

捐贈與專業
香港不大,只要提起有名號的人物,政、商眾人理當相知。自從確定此一捐贈之後,近 4 個月以來,我跟香港包括官家、富豪、士紳、平民百姓在內各類人士提起楊建文,居然鮮有人聽聞其名。土生土長的港人楊建文,豪邁乾脆,獨具慧眼,捐款城大,一言九鼎。當他決定捐贈,並把支票交到我手上之後,沒有囉哩曪嗦的附加條件,便低調轉身而去。

9月8日舉行捐贈儀式,有學生出其不意的衝著捐贈典禮鬧場,讓大學很為楊先生及現場出席的眾人過意不去,他虛懷若谷,反而一再感謝城大主持此項捐贈儀式。行得正不怕影子歪,古道夕陽、公理人心,楊建文平實篤行,獨立風格,為本地添加難得一見的清流之氣。

楊建文是頂尖的工程專家,從事光學高科技專業,身體力行,白手起家,並無耀眼的高級學位,更無政商背景。他講話精簡,做事俐落,事業成就凌駕學位之上。楊建文從無美國教育生活的經歷,行事卻頗有美式科技人的風格與態式,可見道理放之四海而皆準。他的成就、捐贈、無私都值得香港年輕人學習。

學位與學識
我常想,理想的學位應該等同學識,但是依目前體制下所實施的高等教育,仍然無法做到將學位與學識劃上等號。由於社會有求得學位的壓力,所以大學樂於擠出各種學位,甚至創造出令人嘆為觀止的學程以回應需求,這多少跟兩岸三地,大學課業訂得繁瑣、甚至偶爾耍些花招有關。很少大學有意願自我審視並修訂裁減低效(low utility)的學程,甚至以為只要送上學位,未必有人在乎課程內容所代表的價值。如此目前並不存在的理想大學,為高等教育留下很大的改進空間。

為了看重學位,不少人盲目跟著別人亦步亦趨,想必認為那是一個方便的權宜之計。在難辨學識的普羅大眾眼中,學位或有短暫的用處,但是必須謹記,許多人竭力追求而獲得的學位,絕對不可能終身受用。說到底,學位提供資格證明,初時也許有助個人得到面試的敲門磚,卻不能確保稱心職業,過上幸福美滿的生活。許多有名的學位,則除了好聽之外,一無是處。

質量與評鑑
上世紀九十年代前,大學評估在香港仍然陌生,大學及其教職人員不被評估,教學不評估,研究不評估,專業不評估。外行看大學,資格老就看好、當然大學的表現不評估,否則就是干涉學術自由。可是不評估,怎麼進步,就像是不照鏡子,怎麼整理儀容?何況,學術自由是指從事學術教研的自由。如果從事的工作與學術無關,怎麼能說是學術自由?怎麼從事學術科研的人不見得没有自由,不從事學術工作的人,反而老談學術自由?

所以一定要重視質量,在充分定義的範圍內,談該談的,做該做的,追求卓越與成效,其理至明。如今,質量的設計、評估、提升,已從製造業推廣到服務、醫療、政府、教育、研究、…… 等各方向。如今大學在質量保證的概念之下,進步快速,已經超越硬、軟件的投資,而進一步考慮「心件」的投入。

以眼前的成果看,這「心件」的缺失,竟然是兩岸三地追求高教進步的要件。

最近有報導,指出大陸培養的博士人數超越美國,成為全球博士生產最多的國家。然則中國的科技實力、人文社科硏究等,是否因此而居世界前列?學位人數躍居世界之冠,或許只為華人社會崇尚頭銜之風氣提供一個例證,至於學位的品質,有誰檢驗?如何檢驗?空有學位,大陸如此,港、台又何其不然?

科技不紮根香港
楊建文創建「伯恩光學」,功成於深圳、惠州,價值據估超過 1100 億港幣,2014 年營業額達 300億港幣,但是低調得竟少有港人得知,這又是一件人才外流,科技不紮根香港的例子。

學非探其花,要自撥其根。以上有關楊建文的故事,見證了如欲成就創新,學位之外,學識才真重要。有學位沒學識,隨處可見,令人扼腕。值 2015 年秋季開學之初,社會應該重振實幹苦幹的傳統香港精神,少提空心不實的概念,外行請勿領軍內行、打亂教研陣腳。

註:本文曾載於明報(2015年9月22日)。


Degrees of success

Hong Kong is a small place. Everyone seems to know everyone, especially if you're in business or government. But the case of Mr Yeung Kin-man bucks the trend. His name is not so well known in the local community, and yet he has just donated HK$200 million on September 8, 2015 to City University of Hong Kong.

This is among the largest private donations made by a single individual to a Hong Kong institution to support higher education and academic research. Mr Yeung has attached no conditions to his generous gift.

Born and bred in Hong Kong, Mr Yeung is an outstanding yet low-key entrepreneur who significantly breaks with commonly held perceptions of successful elites and billionaires. His unassuming, down-to-earth and pragmatic attitude distinguishes him as a rare model in a society that places a high premium on fame and external attributes.

Mr Yeung is a top-ranking specialist in high-tech optical technology. He set up his business in Shenzhen and Huizhou in mainland China and built his success on the foundations of entrepreneurship in science and engineering. Employing his exceptional foresight and innovation to great effect, he has far surpassed his peers. Biel Crystal, the company he founded, is worth HK$110billion, and it made HK$30 billion in 2014.

What is also noteworthy is that Mr Yeung doesn't need to brag about glamourous degrees from coveted universities, yet he has achieved levels of success far beyond what college degrees offer. He is living proof that you don't always need a degree to aim high in life or to prop you up in society.

Hong Kong places a huge amount of pressure on young people to enter university. The assumption is that getting the degree is what really counts, rather than the usefulness of the curricula content. Of course, this is a wrong-headed way of looking at tertiary education. A college degree serves primarily as proof of a certain level of qualification, and gets you a job interview. But the degree will never guarantee a satisfactory job or a fruitful life.

I believe that achievement stems from determination, passion, perseverance and persistence. These qualities are deeply embedded in the DNA of people such as Mr Yeung and countless other successful leaders in society who don't have a coveted college degree to fall back on.

Crucially, at a time when the government is highlighting the need for innovation, Mr Yeung Kin-man's story showcases how we should be re-examining our tertiary education curricula. We should align academic pursuits directly with cutting-edge thinking and creativity in order to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems.

As we usher in the new academic year, I would like to call on Hong Kong society to re-invigorate the pragmatic and highly diligent spirit traditionally found among Hong Kong people. As Mr Yeung has demonstrated, such a rare spirit lives on in our city.

And we certainly should do our best to create an environment that can truly support innovation and creativity. We don't want to see more home-grown talent flow out of Hong Kong.

Note:
This article was originally published in the South China Morning Post (24 September, 2015).

29 September, 2015

 

 

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