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Cathy joined the University this year and works in an administrative department. As a young professional, she is eager to immerse herself in all the opportunities that the University offers. With a newcomer’s lack of preconceived notions, she offers a fresh look at the various facets of HKBU life.

我的專業 (6)
校園生活 (11)
生活分享 (1)
旅遊日誌 (0)

Hands-on business experience
Inspiring future journalists
Remembering in words
Writing the Metropolis
The art of science and vice versa

Where the mind is free
2011-03-30 11:03:34.0 網誌分類: 我的專業

It’s not everyday that one gets the chance to put questions to Nobel Laureates. But we had exactly that opportunity at the Forum on Creativity held on 29 March in celebration of HKBU’s 55th Anniversary and the founding of the Institute of Creativity.

Two Nobel Prize-winning scientists were invited to the University to share their thoughts on creativity and they gamely opened their minds up to the enthusiastic audience.  I enjoyed the eminent speakers’ discussion ranging from how creativity can be nurtured in students to the difference in educational approaches between the East and West to the new frontiers of science.

Prof. Torsten Wiesel (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1981) said his creativity could be sparked when chopping wood or doing the dishes. He warned against overloading the mind with stimulus – whether by talking on the phone, listening to music or watching TV.  “You inhibit your own creativity by feeding your mind with information rather than giving it time to work,” he observed. “Universities should give students and faculty time to think. Give the mind room to be free to roam."

Prof. Chen-ning Yang (Nobel Laureate in Physics 1957) emphasised that the word creativity is something that covers broader areas of human activity.  “The very act of founding the institute is a creation,” he said. 

There was also much discussion over the American approach to education versus the Chinese style. “The transition from China to the US represented a transition in my understanding of how one approaches learning,” shared Prof. Yang. “My experience in China laid a good foundation. In retrospect, it was an education in which a student is guided by hand to go through classical literature and scientific discoveries that had been made so far. In the US, they were interested in understanding new phenomena.” While the traditional Chinese approach to education might not be ideal for fostering creativity, he said, Chinese graduate students in the US were a good demonstration of the value of having a solid foundation.

He noted that while the great success of American culture in generating creativity among the young being was behind its economic success, creativity is emphasised too much in American society. “Sometimes students are overstimulated; they try to jump too far ahead and in consequence get nothing.” His advice to US students is to come down to earth, for Chinese students it’s the opposite.

Answering a question from a student on the importance of being part of the more famous universities in order to be successful as a scientist, Prof. Wiesel alluded to a study on Nobel Laureates which found that the Nobel Prize winners tended to come from certain institutions in certain countries. “These labs gave scientists a great deal of freedom and resources. The environment is crucial,” he said. “The Institute of Creativity can see to it that an environment is created for those who want to take the risk to explore.”

Prof. Yang shared how his father, a mathematician, had introduced him to Chinese mathematical puzzles when he was a child, and how he in turn introduced these puzzles to his children. “The difference between me and my children was that after a year they had forgotten the solution, while I hadn’t. That’s because I was interested in mathematics. My children never went on to become mathematicians and physicists.”  His advice to students was to identify where their abilities and interest lay and to match them to areas currently being explored in the world.

Food for thought for many of our students on the cusps of their careers! I’m looking forward to the upcoming Nobel Laureate lectures on 1 April and 4 April.

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To Russia With Love
2011-02-23 09:42:13.0 網誌分類: 我的專業

Since Russia has always both fascinated and seemed mysterious to me, I decided to attend the lecture on 17 February by the Consul-General of the Russian Federation in Hong Kong, only slightly deterred by the academic-sounding title “The Development and Strengthening of the Russian-Chinese Bilateral Relations”. Funnily enough, Mr. Sergey Gristay opened his talk by confessing that lighter topics such as Russia’s bid to host the soccer World Cup, Russian cuisine and folklore had been suggested but that he had chosen his topic, at the risk of sounding dry, because it was his area of expertise.

Thanks to Mr. Gristay’s engaging speaking style, the lecture was anything but dry. He kept the audience’s attention by citing a series of rather surprising facts and figures to illustrate the extent and closeness of the ties between the two countries.

For example, I learnt that the two countries share the longest border in the world but, after 40 years of negotiations, have no territorial conflicts. Bilateral relations between the two countries go back to the 17th century, with the first trade agreement being signed in 1679. The Chinese Eastern Railway was constructed by specialists from Tsarist Russia. And the USSR was the first country to recognize the People’s Republic of China. 

Today, Mr. Gristay said, the two countries are experiencing unprecedented bilateral cooperation. Their heads of state have met six times already and over the last year, there have been 300 official delegations from Russia to China. Russia has been supplying huge quantities of natural resources to China, with a number of major oil deals being signed recently, and China has begun investing in Russia’s far east region.
As interesting as the speech were the questions that came after from students, ranging from commercial development in the controversial Kuril Islands to Chinese workers in Russia and the idea of marriage between Russian and Chinese citizens. To the latter, Mr. Gristay rather sweetly responded that “marriages should be for love”.

Overall, the lecture was enlightening and though it might have been nice to know about Russian cuisine, it doesn’t hurt to be up-to-date on Russian-China relations.

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Beyond Boundaries
2010-03-15 09:58:16.0 網誌分類: 校園生活

When you’re young, it’s easy to be intimidated by stalwarts in the industry around you and to keep your head down. Thus, I was astonished to learn that Dr. Maya Lin, the world famous artist and architect who delivered a fascinating lecture at the Lam Woo International Conference Centre yesterday, began her career with bang when she was still an undergraduate at Yale University. Aged 21, Dr. Lin submitted a design for the Vietnam War Memorial to a public competition and won, beating out 1400 other entries.

Winning the competition was one thing but executing her design was another. The design proved controversial (and Dr. Lin’s age and ethnicity didn’t work in her favour) but, as she shared in her lecture, once it was executed, the critics were silenced. The memorial is today a much-loved American monument and was ranked tenth on the List of America's Favorite Architecture" by the American Institute of Architects.

Dr. Lin has resisted being typecast as a monument maker and her work spans both art and architecture. At the lecture entitled “Beyond Boundaries”, she gave the audience a tour of her work but it also turned out to be an insight into her mind. Her works and the sites she builds them on are painstakingly researched, whether they deal with science or with forgotten histories.

Increasingly, they have come to deal with the environment. She says she tries to reveal things in the natural world that people don’t generally see. This could involve bringing a hill indoors into a gallery or replicating the course of the Yangste as a silver line. My favourite was her huge wavescape, where one could sit in the curve of a wave and read a book.

Dr. Lin is passionate about the environment and urged everyone in the audience to do their bit. In response to a question from a young man in the audience on how she keeps her optimism up despite setbacks such as lack of firm commitments at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, Dr. Lin simply said that one has to believe that the individual can make a difference. Her life is testament to that.

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Canada, a surprise
2010-02-24 13:08:47.0 網誌分類: 校園生活

What do singer Avril Lavigne, writer Margaret Atwood and the Blackberry that’s beeping away on your desk have in common?

They all come from Canada.

This and other handy little facts surprised me at the Consul-General-in-Residence Lecture delivered by Ms. Doreen Steidle, Consul-General of Canada. For example, did you know that the Canadian diplomatic mission in Hong Kong is its fifth largest in the world and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce here is the largest outside Canada?

Well, the fact that over 1 million people have emigrated from Hong Kong to Canada over the past century should explain the former. More surprisingly, there are 220,000 Canadian citizens in Hong Kong, which is why Ms. Steidle termed Hong Kong “Canada’s city in Asia”, the title of her talk.

Introducing Ms. Steidle, Professor Werner Hess of the Department of Government and International Studies pointed out to the importance of people-to-people interactions in building relations between countries rather than simply treaties and inter-governmental efforts. Those of us who attended the friendly and informative lecture left the room feeling much closer to Canada than if we had simply read about the country in a textbook or in the newspapers.

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Treasure hunting
2010-02-04 09:44:25.0 網誌分類: 校園生活

Put a woman near a shop and chances are she’ll buy something. No surprise then that many of us have closets full of impulse purchases that we never end up using. The bazaar organised by the Staff Interest Group last week proved to be great occasion to rummage in our cupboards for treasures that we were happy to part with.

There were a wide variety of products on offer, which made the whole experience quite exciting for shoppers, but what I liked best was the handmade stuff. Some colleagues had baked cookies, cake and muffins and it was great to see (and taste) their culinary skills. A couple of girls were selling handmade soap and cream, a good opportunity to indulge in cosmetics that are easy on the skin and the environment.

Another great idea was to sell second hand goods donated by staff to raise funds for a cause. It was a three-way feel-good enterprise – unused items were given a new lease on life instead of landing up in our already cluttered landfills, the new owner had the thrill of a new purchase, and the proceeds went towards making someone’s life a little easier. Win-win all around and as guilt-free as shopping can get!

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作者: Patsy Wu

2011-02-17 10:40:53.0

在玩facebook時,看見朋友貼了一片段,是叫人在情人節零消費,以抗衡市面上大量的情人節消費項目。想想也是的,難道一定要吃比平日貴的套餐,買那些不常用的產品飾物,便代表你對情人有心? 一年一度的校

作者: 文潔華教授

2012-01-19 10:09:45.0


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