Information Services Office   19.12.2012


Mr. Leung Ying-wai Charles
Chairman, CUHK 50th Anniversary Celebration Organizing Committee
(Photo by Keith Hiro)
Newsletter No. 409 > Thus Spake... > Leung Ying-wai on CUHK 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Leung Ying-wai on CUHK 50th Anniversary Celebrations


What were the most unforgettable moments of your undergraduate years at New Asia College?

There were three things. First, the College was very small. When I graduated in 1973, the first batch of graduates in marketing consisted of only 10 persons. We were a closely-knit group taught by Prof. K.C. Mun, whom I still see several times a year.

I was a member of the Folk Song Society of New Asia College. We often played the guitar and sang on the lawn in front of the Pavilion at the Farm Road campus. Songs like Puff the Magic Dragon, Blowing in the Wind, you know. Those by the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel were of course also a must. In those pre-karaoke days, a wooden acoustic guitar was the only instrument we had. But the feeling was cozy.

Those were also the days when patriotism prevailed. I took part in a number of social activities, including the campaign to make Chinese an official language. I still remember the raised-fist logo printed on my T-shirt. I also participated in the demonstration in 1972 to protest against Japan’s attempt to stake its claim over the Diaoyutai Islands. In those days, demonstrators didn’t get escorted by the police. The only thing they got was baton beating.

How does what you’ve learned in the past impact on your career and life?

I was a marketing student, so accounting was a compulsory course. I founded two companies in 1978. In 1982, I managed to make my first company public all by myself. In 1992, the other one also went public, and I did all the accounting work involved. I didn’t have parents’ fortune or connections to rely on. So I had to be careful with every step when running my business. Marketing is a very useful tool for promoting your business. Many businesses fail because of over-trading. Accounting comes in handy when preventing that from happening. Spiritually, I was greatly inspired by the lyrics of the New Asia College Anthem—‘Nothing left, in my hands; Journey’s long, never ends…. Let’s march over life, let’s sing when we’re tired.’ Life has ups and downs. With these encouraging words to cheer you on, you would grit your teeth and get on with your work despite hardship and difficulties.

As a successful entrepreneur, do you see maximization of profit as the sole yardstick of success?

In a capitalist society, it’s natural for businessmen to maximize their profits. But in addition to it, they should have the interest of society in mind. Didn’t the Confucian entrepreneur Zigong also use the money he earned to benefit society? I think that’s the right thing to do and I must thank my wife for sharing the same view. In 2004 I established the ‘We Love Hong Kong’ association to promote moral education and liberal education for teenagers, with the hope of making a positive impact on this chaotic society. Every day I write articles on contemporary issues and morals for primary and secondary school children.

Why did you agree to take up the chairmanship of the 50th Anniversary Celebration Organizing Committee?

It has been half a century since the establishment of CUHK. The University’s growth was a long and winding road and its achievements are all hard-earned. I’m proud of my alma mater. Out of a sense of mission and a sense of duty, and my deep affection for the University, I felt obliged to acquiesce when I received the invitation from Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung. I’m honoured to be able to do my bit for the University in this milestone moment.

Could you tell us something about how the anniversary celebrations are oriented?

The achievements of CUHK today are based on the efforts and contributions of its founding fathers and generations of CUHK members. That’s why we came up with the slogan ‘Embrace our Culture. Empower our Future’, which means that we should inherit the spirit of the pioneers while striving to develop a brighter future. The 50th anniversary is a fitting occasion for all staff, students and alumni to recollect the trials and tribulations this University has gone through, and for us to bring its achievements in full view of everyone in the community. We should also revive the teachings and ideals of the academics who have gone before us, and perpetuate the humanistic traditions they have established. At the same time we should serve society with our caring spirit and professionalism, thus rejuvenating the University and turning a new page for its development.

Anniversary celebrations will start in January and will last until December 2013. Since the celebrations belong to all members of the CUHK community, the participation of staff, students and alumni from planning to implementation has been stressed. In addition to cultural and academic activities organized by the Colleges and Faculties, there will be celebratory events initiated by students and alumni.

Which event is most representative of such an idea?

The unprecedented ‘CU50 • Care’ programme, which will be officially launched at the 50th anniversary kick-off ceremony on 27 January 2013. Participants of the programme will include members of the CUHK community and friends. They’ll pledge to offer voluntary service to 50 service programmes or undertake 50 hours of volunteer service in 2013 as a token of commitment to society and the University. Let’s think of it this way: CUHK has 150,000 alumni, some 20,000 students and more than 6,000 staff members. How great will the impact be if we can bring together their strength?

In your opinion, which of the over a dozen alumni celebration activities organized by you are the most interesting?

Public events such as the music concert jointly organized by the Department of Music at Chung Chi College, the Chinese Music Society of New Asia College, and the CU Chorus, and a drama performance organized by Cheung Ping-kuen, Chan Kin-bun, Ko Tin-lung, all famous CUHK alumni in the theatre circle. There will also be a Woodstock-style music festival featuring pop music and folk songs. Bands formed by CUHK alumni will take part in it. I hope that the concert can take place at the University Mall. Now we already have one band called ‘New Asia 73’. There will be two alumni tours—a cruise to Northern Europe in the summer of 2013, and a tour led by Dr. Joseph S.P. Ting in December to the Zhuji Alley at Shaoguan to trace our ancestral roots.

Have you encountered any difficulties in the process?

Not at all. We reached consensus over the theme rather quickly.  After that we received enthusiastic response and support from all parties in terms of human and material resources. We encountered small difficulties in finding venues for large-scale activities. But the problem has been solved now. I’m deeply grateful to alumni and friends from society for their unfailing support.


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