Newsletter No. 480

本刊由香港中文大学资讯处出版,每月出版两期。截稿日期及稿例载于 。 The CUHK Newsletter is published by the Information Services Office, CUHK, on a fortnightly basis. Submission guidelines and deadlines can be found at . Photo by ISO staff The exceptional honour I received from my alma mater can be seen as recognition and an expression of appreciation. It made me extremely happy and feel at home. Back then I applied to Toronto, McGill and British Columbia which were the most popular choices of scholarship applicants. They all rejected me. Instead, it was Western Ontario that took me in, even though I had no idea where it was, initially. But I fell in love with it at first sight. The campus was of a medium scale, but the scenic views it offered were breathtaking, especially in winter when it snowed heavily. I loved photography so I felt like a fish in water. Although I was there for only 20 months, the impact of this brief stint on my subsequent career proved indelible. I took two months to write my thesis, while the remaining 18 months were spent attending lectures, working in the fields and travelling. I became a research assistant for a few months and with the money saved, spent two months journeying through Europe. Having studied and travelled extensively, do you feel that there’s nothing new under the sun? This is not how I feel but it is true that I don’t get easily excited any more. In 1986, when the foundation was laid for the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and the MTR came into being, I was all excited because I felt Hong Kong was entering a new phase of development. Then the Chek Lap Kok Airport opened in 1998 and became hailed as one of the world’s top 10 engineering feats in the 20th century. Those epochal developments still leave a deep impression on me. But two public projects are a little disappointing. The first was the reconstruction of the old Kai Tak airport. What has only been completed so far is a costly cruise terminal. The second is the West Kowloon Cultural District, a project that seems stalled. These reflect the danger of Hong Kong lagging behind. Earlier, Hong Kong was ranked the world’s most competitive economy, according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016 published by the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. This can be considered good luck for us. Why did you publish The World in Pictures last year? I have published my 54th book this year—on the average one each year since I graduated from university. Most of my publications are academic in nature. Two years ago, I saw young people occupying the roads and felt they were somewhat disoriented and unable to see the future clearly. The world is so vast, so beautiful and with so many things happening. It will be great for young people to learn more about the world and broaden their perspectives. Over the past 50 years, I have been to more than 80 countries, produced over 20,000 slides. I have selected 150 for compilation into a book, to present the face of a world buffeted by globalization and rural-urban transformations. This is my tribute to the younger generation. Looking back on your career, what were the turning points you consider critical? Sometimes there are things beyond our control. Still one can seize the only opportunity one has and with an adventurous spirit, life would take a different path and possibly for the better. The decision I took to leave the University of Singapore in 1975 was the most critical. That was my first job after finishing a PhD. After teaching there for six years, I could get my tenure and Singapore citizenship if I had my contract extended. I could also foresee a promotion had I stayed. That year, the International Development Research Centre came into being, financed and established by the Canadian government, with the mission of helping third world nations nurture their talents. I was offered a senior planning position at their Asia Regional Office in Singapore as a Social Science delegate. The job was certainly for the young and energetic because it called for a lot of vitality and ideas. I took the offer. In 1984, I was transferred to their Ottawa headquarters and later promoted to Assistant Director of the Social Science Department, responsible for global research funding. Prior to my return to Hong Kong to join CUHK as Professor of Geography, I had to travel for three to four months each year for a decade. The countries I travelled to numbered over 60. Tiring and hectic, but it enabled me to see the world and develop a global perspective. In the end, I brought back all these experiences to my homeland, where I worked in different capacities at CUHK for over 20 years until my retirement. Your life seems a smooth and broad path. Weren’t there times of defeat and frustration? How could there be no setbacks? I was the first in my family to receive a university education. I have three younger siblings. My father wanted me to work right after graduation. I wanted to teach. Twice, I applied for the government post of an assistant education officer but was rejected. I felt perplexed and a little dejected too. Subsequently, I went to the University of Western Ontario in Canada to pursue a Master’s degree. It was fortunate that I met a good supervisor. He encouraged me to do a doctorate at the University of Chicago and wrote me a favorable recommendation letter. As I was on a Commonwealth Scholarship, I was obliged to return to Hong Kong and work. So I had to come back first and teach. Eventually, I managed to secure a full scholarship to study in the University of Chicago and finished my PhD under another great supervisor. Like I said earlier, it may not be so bad if things didn’t turn out right at first. Last month, you were conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Western Ontario. Does this mean something different from your previous awards and titles? I treasure and am grateful for every accolade I received. 回顾精彩的事业生涯,有哪些转捩点是最关键的? 人生的事情,有时不是个人意愿可控制的。但哪怕是不尽如人意,如果能把 握仅有的机会,加点冒险精神,路便会不同,而且可能会更好。 1975年离开新加坡大学的决定是最关键的。那是我读完博士后第一份工作, 做了六年,如果续约便会得到终身教席,也得成为新加坡公民。我自忖留下的 话,升级也是预期中事。但刚巧加拿大政府资助成立了国际发展研究中心,以 帮助第三世界国家培养人才为使命。我获邀出任这个组织的高级计划人员, 在其新加坡亚洲区办事处工作。这条路与教学大不相同,要求充沛的精力,新 鲜的意念,断不是一份可做到老的工作,但我选择了,1980年更转调渥太华 总部,后晋升为社会科学部副主任,负责全球的研究资助计划,直至1984年 应邀回港出任中大地理系讲座教授。之前十年,每年出差三四个月,踏遍六十 多国,奔波劳累,但让我多认识世界,建立了全球视野,最终可带同这些经验 和见识,回到自己的地方,在中大不同岗位发挥所长,工作了二十多年才退休。 好像都是道平路宽,让机会找上了你,就从没有挫败迷惘之时吗? 不顺遂怎会没有。我出身中等家庭,是家中第一个读大学的,之下三个弟妹。 父亲一心想着我毕业后便工作。我想教书,可两次应征政府助理教育主任都 失败,令我百思不得其解,也有点沮丧。后来我到加拿大西安大略大学念硕 士,有幸得到良师指导,他鼓励我到芝加哥大学读博士,并给我写很好的推荐 信。因为我是以英联邦奖学金读硕士的,必须回港工作,只得先回来教书。后 终于申请到全数奖学金往芝大,又遇到另一位良师,二十个月完成博士。他还 给我觅得新加坡的教职。所以正如我刚才所说,发展不若预期,未必是坏事。 大半生奖誉无数,上月底又刚获西安大略大学颁授荣誉博士衔,这次的意义可 有不同? 每一个奖项我都珍惜感激,这回是母校给我的崇高荣誉,是一份认同和赏 识,令我特别高兴,也倍感亲切。当年申请奖学金,需列出三间心仪大学,人 们都是多伦多、麦基尔和英属哥伦比亚这三大,我也不例外,怎料都没有结 果。录取我的西安大略,我连它在哪里也不知道,却一见便钟情。该校规模只 是中等,风景怡人,大雪天尤其美丽,我又是爱摄影的,真是如鱼得水。西安 大略是我离港后第一间入读的大学,在那儿的短短二十个月,对我日后事业 影响最大。我写论文用了两个月,其余十八个月上课,参与田野工作,到外面 走动,还有几个月当了一位教授的研究助理,储钱去欧洲游历两个月。 读了万卷书,也行了不止万里路,太阳底下于你是否已无新事? 太阳底下岂会无新事,但已不容易叫我雀跃。1986年会展中心奠基,铁路电 动化,都曾令我振奋,觉得香港已踏进新的阶段。我曾参与新机场谘询委员会 九年之久,见证1998年赤鱲角机场啓用,名列二十世纪世界十大工程,还有青 马大桥,那些划时代发展深印脑海。反而香港回归后有两个本应叫人兴奋的 公共设施项目,却令我有点遗憾。一是啓德机场的重建,现在只完成了邮轮 码头,用了很多钱,也不美观。二是西九龙文化区,也好像是停滞不前。这些 都反映了香港被超越的危机。早前发表的瑞士洛桑国际管理发展学院《2016 年世界竞争力年报》,香港还可名列第一,算是侥幸。 你退休多年仍着述不断,去年出版《影像中的世界:城乡巨变五十年》,缘起 是甚麽? 我今年出版了第五十四本书,平均自大学毕业后每年出版一本,以学术著作居 多。看到前年香港年轻人占领街头的运动,我觉得他们有点迷惘,看不清前 路。世界这般大,这般美丽,有这么多事情发生,年轻人若能多认识世界,视 角会广阔一点。五十年来我跑过八十多个国家,制作了二万张幻灯片,我选了 一百五十张,编成一书,呈现世界在瞬息万变的全球化和城乡巨变下的面貌。 这是我给年轻一代的一点心意。 杨汝万教授 Prof. Yeung Yue-man • 中大地理学荣休讲座教授兼荣誉院士 • 历任地理系讲座教授、教务长、 香港亚太研究所所长及逸夫书院院长 • Emeritus Professor of Geography and Honorary Fellow of CUHK • Formerly Professor of Geography, University Registrar, Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies and Head of Shaw College ’ 口谈实录 Viva Voce 10 480 • 19.6.2016