The High Table Dinner of
HKU Lap Chee College
13 November 2017
Secretary for Food and Health
Professor (MF) Yuen [College Master], Dr (Patrick) Poon, [Chairman of College Advisory Committee], Tutors and Students,
Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to take part in the high table dinner of Lap Chee College this academic year. I know that the College is one of the newest residential premises at the University, with around 400 undergraduate and postgraduate students coming from Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas.
2. Coming back to the HKU campus reminds me of my memorable days when I was the Head of the Nursing Department of the university. Before joining the Government, I had worked in the education sector for some 20 years. I have had the precious opportunity of watching my students growing up in their studies, career, and life journey. Walking along with them, I have also seen for myself how their journey of development differed from my own which reflects the changes of our society in the past few decades.
3. With rapid economic development and general improvements in the standard of living and education, our younger friends here are generally provided with more opportunities in the areas of education, personal development, as well as in the pursuit of personal interests and cultural or leisure activities. While it is encouraging that our millennial generation has been provided with more resources for personal development, I also note that youngsters are facing unprecedented challenges nowadays.
4. The explosion of knowledge coupled with advancement in information technology and the internet has unleashed a massive flow of information and knowledge. In order to remain at the forefront and stay competitive in this rapidly globalized world, young people need to attain a multitude of training and qualifications in different professional and vocational fields.
5. In the recent “cell-phone age” which emphasizes speed, information technology, and creativity, we also need to stay innovative in order to stay afloat and develop further. Besides obtaining qualifications, all of us need to acquire the trait of becoming creative and curious. As Steve Jobs said, “Stay hungry, Stay foolish”. Grasp as many learning opportunities as possible by asking questions, trying new things, going beyond our comfort zones and preparing to make mistakes. I believe it is through this continual pursuit of self-learning, creativity and exploration that we can continue to grow and prosper in an era of information, innovation and technology.
6. Furthermore, my young friends, education and life experience also help us develop a set of values and principles which help us steer the right course in our life-long pursuit for knowledge, self-betterment as well as our “goals” and “dreams”. There is no need to think too much about whether your investment in education will result in a good return. I have continuously equipped myself with knowledge and I could tell you that once you have put in an effort and invest in knowledge, you would always be strengthened. If you can afford to, do go abroad to see the world. This will help you broaden your vision in life and your future endeavors.
7. In addition to equipping ourselves, I hope my young friends can also see beyond our own responsibility in personal development, and recognize that there are many who are still under-privileged, and need assistance either because of diseases, disability, poverty, natural disaster or human conflict. One of my favourite quotes of Mahatma Gandhi is that ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Through providing volunteer services to those in need, we gain more insight into the many factors accounting for poverty and lack of development. We then realize that prosperity and security of any society is not to be taken for granted. All of us need to work together with collaborative spirit, tolerance, mutual respect and support. By doing volunteer services, we also understand ourselves more and be thankful to what we have had in our lives.
8. Besides committing ourselves to volunteer services, may I also invite our young people to participate in public policy discussion and debate. The Government has recently announced a pilot scheme which appoints more young people to various government committees with the aim of increasing the overall ratio of youth members to 15 per cent within the current-term Government. I do encourage all of you to take this opportunity to contribute your views and add in fresh impetus and energy to the Government for the betterment of Hong Kong.
9. I have full confidence that you will build on the solid foundation of Lap Chee College and pursue excellence in your studies and careers, act with integrity and responsibility, and enjoy serving with love and dedication.
10. Last but not least, as the Secretary for Food and Health, to safeguard public health, provide quality medical services, ensure food safety and environmental hygiene as well as assisting the sustainable development of fishery and agriculture will be top priorities on my agenda. My team and I would continue to work hard for the betterment of Hong Kong.
11. May I wish you all the best with your studies and live your university life at Lap Chee College and Hong Kong University to the fullest! Thank you.