Bulletin Vol. 10 No. 3 Nov 1973

to ripen. For a new university ten years is a very short period, representing only the mere beginning of the institution. O n the development of the University in its first decade, a written report is now being prepared. Therefore, today I would like to address my graduates in a different vein. What I would like to say may be epitomized in the words "Legality , Morality and Idealism". This title is very broad, especially the first two terms — legality and morality. During the past year, a great deal of what has been happening in the world, including Hong Kong, may well be subsumed under them. The whole subject, therefore, could not possibly be thoroughly treated in a few minutes, but what I propose to do is to address myself to our graduates on several very definite points. Our graduates today, like those in the past years, will soon be going to serve in industry, trade and public services, or to become teachers in different educational institutions in Hong Kong, or perhaps be pursuing advanced studies either here or overseas. Except fo r a few who would devote themselves to pure academic research, those of the last category, upon the completion of their advanced studies, will certainly be engaged i n the professions mentioned above. I find it very important for all of us to realise that no matter what sort of work one intends to go into, one must begin w i th observing the law. It is through the law that social order is maintained; and law was developed as a result of human progress, progress f r om a primitive society. Of course law is not unchangeable, but its changes and revisions must go through a definite procedure. The fact that there must be law and that its revisions must go through a definite procedure results f r om necessity, the necessity of establishing a social order, without which no constructive work could proceed for any reasonable length of time. Hence to observe the law or to be legal is the mi n imum requirement of anyone of us as a member of a society. I firmly believe this statement holds true as much in Hong Kong as in any other place of the world. Why do I say that to observe the law is merely the mi n imum requirement? That is because to be legal is not necessarily to be in accord with social ethics or social morality. For example, and this is merely an example, if a medical doctor, a solicitor, or an educator, while observing the letter of the law devotes himself to amassing a personal fortune regardless o f means and of honour and compassion, is this not a case of legality without morality ? Let me hasten to add here that law is not devoid of moral standards. It in fact reflects the moral standard o f a society. I f law is devoid of any ethical basis it would not become law. Nevertheless since law is intended to maintain social order, its moral basis consists of only minimum requirements. Some o f you may recall that about 400 B.C ., when the Greek civilization reached a peak, there was a physician by the name of Hippocrates, who prepared an oath for his disciples, an oath that has since been known as the Hippocratic Oath, that has since been subscribed t o by practically all graduates of medical schools all over the world. I n essence it defines the obligation of a physician. Some of the points in the Oath read as follows: “ … A n d to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation . . . . Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption . … W i t h purity and wit h holiness I will pass my life . . . . May it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men , in all times … ." I feel that this Oath, although applicable originally to physicians, deserves serious attention from our graduates, especially those who are going to enter industry, trade, and government services. As for those who are going to be teachers in the schools, their responsibility is even greater. For the teaching profession the Chinese tradition has long entertained not only the expectation that they must live a simple life w i th high ideal, but also imposed an obligation on their part to do so. This tradition has not been much modified even up to this date. Morality, especially social ethics, is not easily defined. According to the tradition in the West, social ethics has always been intimately related to religion and political power. But in China, the concept of social ethics has long been divorced f r om religion and political power, and has become in itself a system of philosophy. I n my view, the Chinese concept of ethics is the manifestation of a lofty ideal for one's life. Confucius and his followers expounded the doctrine of “ j e n ” to describe his ideal, which in modern language may be expressed as “ t o promote the welfare of m a n k i n d " , “ t o serve the community", and “ t o serve the people", etc. No matter which term is chosen to express the idea, the ideal is to seek welfare for everybody includin g one's own self. Generally ideal or idealism is very much a personal affair; it varies f r om person to person. But I would think that to wo rk for the common good of the people is a goal that — 2 —