Newsletter No. 535

08 # 5 3 5 | 0 4 . 0 4 . 2 0 1 9 Photo by ISO How do you feel about being a well-known commentator on economic issues? Shortly after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, I published an article on the then current economy in a newspaper. Since then, invitations to comment from various media have never stopped. I never said no. It’s my wish to serve the community by offering my expertise, analysis and suggestions. It is no easy task, however, as I have to keep up with the times and the most updated economic data. Apart from academic papers, you write blogs and general books on both economics and everyday life. Why? Economics can be applied to every aspect of our daily life. It’s a discipline that studies the changes in human behaviour and society. Researchers should be at the cutting edge to understand the social development. By writing and publishing, I do not only render economic knowledge to the public, but also fulfill my goal of life, that is, ‘live to the full’. So, why not? You are also active in public service. How do you find time for it? I work really hard. I slept no more than three hours a day since my secondary school days until obtaining my doctorate degree. Though I sleep a bit more now, I still work 17 to 18 hours a day. But time is never enough. I am fully committed now until June. Professor, researcher, economic commentator, writer, public service. Do the satisfactions differ? The greatest satisfaction for a teacher is to nurture outstanding students. A researcher is happiest when he becomes the first one in the world to get to a research finding. I published my first academic paper when I was a doctoral student. My scholarly output has been pretty steady since and I am recognized internationally. The roles of commentator and writer give me a platform to speak out against social injustice. Public service is the means by which I pay back to society. You once gave your view on how young people could become homeowners. Any amended view with Hong Kong housing still among the world’s least affordable? The median monthly salary of university graduates is HK$10,000+. It’s unrealistic to think of buying a home worth HK$7–8 million simply by savings. They should think out of the box. Being employed is not the only way out. Young people could re-examine their skills and the market’s need for such skills. Money isn’t the only thing that matters in life. What I want to say is that getting a job doesn’t mean getting rich. The mismatch between skill and market may explain poverty on the job. I also suggest young people to view the Greater Bay Area as an opportunity. The best from the area can come to Hong Kong, and vice versa. The Hong Kong market is after all too small. What is the right age to start personal financial management? It could start as early as grade three when children can do simple arithmetic. They should be made aware that making money is not easy and that they should treasure what they earn. Learning through activities has been proved effective. For example, giving a budget to children for organizing a birthday party. If they managed to cut the budget, they will be awarded with a sum matching what they have saved. In this way they would be encouraged to shop around, look for the lowest price and cut unnecessary expenditure. Isn’t it a learning process? C.F. 成为经常就民生议题发表看法的经济评论员,感觉如何? 九七金融风暴后,我在报章发表文章,谈当下经济形势,自此不同媒体陆续找上门来。本 着服务社会,以所长专业,为大家提供科学、理性、持平的分析及建议,我亦来者不拒,无 心插柳下成为经济评论员。这份「差事」殊不轻松,必须紧贴时代脉搏,掌握最新经济数 据,才能随时回答提问。 撰写学术论文外,你亦写网志,出版普及书,既谈经济,也说生活,何有此举? 万宗归一,生活离不开经济学原理,而经济学就是研究人的行为及社会改变。研究人员 必须走在前线,以了解社会发展。写文章出书,一方面是为普罗大众提供学术书籍以外的 经济知识,另方面又切合我的「活出精采人生」目标,何乐而不为? 你兼任的公职也不少,如何再抽时间处理这些职务? 自问是勤力的人,从中学开始至念完博士期间,睡眠时间不多于三小时,现虽已稍增一两 小时,但每日仍然有十七八小时放在工作上。可是,时间毕竟有限,现时一些邀约要推迟 至6月才接了。 教授、研究员、经济评论员、作者、公职人员,各给你怎样的满足感? 教书最大满足感莫过于培养出杰出学生。研究有成,自己是世上第一人知悉该发现,其满 足感难以笔墨形容。我在念博士时已开始发表论文,一直保持稳定的产量,并获国际学术 界肯定。经济评论员和作者的角色,提供另一渠道给我指出社会上的不公义;担任公职则 是为了回馈社会。 你曾教年轻人如何筹划买楼,但香港已连续九年成为全球最难置业的地方,有什么新 建议? 大学毕业生月薪中位数是万多元,单靠储蓄购买动辄七八百万的房子,当然是遥不可及。 先要跳出固有思维,检视自己的技能及其需求与市场在哪;打工不是唯一出路。人生固然 不是只在金钱,各有各的价值观,我要强调的是赚钱和职业是两回事,在职贫穷原因是错 卖了自己的才能。此外,我建议年轻人不妨放眼大湾区,内地精英来港工作,港青亦可北 上。况且,香港市场始终是小,纵有好的创业构思,盈利也有局限。 理财教育应该自哪个阶段开始? 孩子念小三,懂得加减后,便可以开始理财教育,让他们明白赚钱不易,珍惜财物。以活 动形式来灌输理财知识尤为有效,如给予孩子特定预算筹办生日会,要是能控制在预算 以下,所节省的金钱即有等额的奖励,以鼓励他们货比三家,减省不必要开支,这不就是 一个学习过程吗? 经济学系副教授 Associate Professor, Department of Economics 刘佐德全球经济及金融研究所常务所长 Executive Director, Lau Chor Tak Institute of Global Economics and Finance 新亚书院辅导长 Dean of Students, New Asia College 庄太量教授 Prof. Terence Chong 口 谈 实 录 / V iva V oce