Newsletter No. 183

2 No. 183 4thMay 2001 CUHK Newsletter HK Youngster s Lear n Thi n IsBeautifu l from th eMedi a C linical statistics gathered over the last 15 years by the Department of Psychiatry and the Hong Kong Eating Disorders Centre of the University indicate a 25-fold increase in the prevalence of patients with eating disorders. Most of them sought help between 11 to 18 years of age. Patients are also getting younger over the years, with the youngest being only 10 years old. Eating disorders are increasing in male adolescents as well. To assess whether the constant portrayal of slim images in the media has contributed to this surge in eating disorders among the youngsters, the Hong Kong Eating Disorders Centre conducted a large-scale survey to explore the effects of the media on the body image of primary school children in February 2001. Of the 617 male and female students evaluated, only five per cent were truly overweight, yet over 40 per cent desired to be slimmer and close to 20 per cent had actually tried dieting to lose weight. Over 20 per cent wanted to look like the stars they saw on television. Department of Nursing Walk for a Good Cause A bout a hundred people, including staff, students, and alumni of the Department of Nursing and the Faculty of Medicine, and nursing leaders from local hospitals, participated in a fundraising walkathon organized by the Department of Nursing in conjunction with the CUHK Nursing Alumni Association on 31 st March 2001 on campus. The event was held in celebration of the department's tenth anniversary and to raise funds for setting up academic prizes for nursing students. The department has received more than HK$20,000 in donations and more is coming in. New Research Institute with Focus on Shanghai and Hong Kong: Complementary and Compet i t ive Sibl ing Cities Shanghai — a city now being restored its former sophistication and glamour asone of Asia's most important citiesof the 1920s and 30s. Hong Kong — a city whose status asAsia's top financial, information, and transportation hub is now being challenged.In the face of globalization and the explosive growth of the Internet, these two maritime citieswith China as their hinterland will haveto reorient themselves in order to gain a strong foothold in the world arena. Joint Institute : First of Its T y pe It was with this in mind that Prof. Arthur K.C. Li, vice-chancellor of the University, and Prof. Wang Sheng-hong, president of Fudan University, discussed how to step up research collaboration between the two universities when a delegation from Fudan visited CUHK i n mid-2000. Their talks resulted i n the establishment of ajoint institute centred on policy and strategic research last January 一 the Shanghai-Hong Kong Development Institute. Headquartered at both Fudan University and The Chinese University, the Institute's CUHK office is located at the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (HKIAPS) at the Esther Lee Building, which renders it administrative support. Prof. Yeung Yue-man, director of the HKIAPS, and Prof. Lu Deming, dean of the School of Economics of Fudan University, are its joint directors. In the face of globalization and rapid changes in the Chinese economy, the Institute will focus its efforts on examining the long-term development of Hong Kong and Shanghai. Its goal is to make concrete policy proposals to central and local governments as well as enterprises through strategic research, to promote innovative research in the two universities, and to develop into a think-tank organization. Industrial and community leaders from both places have been invited to join the Institute's Board of Management while its academic committee consists of senior academics with expertise in a wide range of areas. Prof. Yeung Yue- man po i n t ed out that, t hough not neighbours geographically. Hong Kong and Shanghai have had an important influence on each other's socio-economic development over a long time in terms of manpower, capital, and technological exchange. Both maritime cities, they w i ll grow in their own ways under the influence of globalization and localization, and to make the best of it, they should keep up their tradition of complementing each other. The Institute's research w i l l take four main directions, to be implemented in the coming four years. Each direction or area w i l l be coordinated by a corresponding committee. Impact of Accession to W T O The first area of study is the impact of China's entry into the WTO on Hong Kong and Shanghai. The research w i ll focus on the economic challenges and opportunities brought along by China's accession to the WTO, and all the trade, legal, and social implications for the two cities. It wi ll be coordinated by Prof. Sung Yun- w i ng and Prof. Tuan Chyau, and w i l l involve the Department of Economics, the Faculty of Business Administration, and the Asia-Pacific Institute of Business. If need be, the Institute may solicit the help of non- University scholars knowledgeable in the WTO issue. The CUHK office wi ll also host a conference on this topic in December, which wi ll be the Institute's first conference since its inauguration. A l l - out Deve l opment of Wes t e rn China Prof. Yeung himself wi ll be coordinating the second research area — the development of Western China and contribution by Hong Kong and Shanghai. The HKIAPS, which has published books on the development of coastal regions and cities like Guangdong (1994 and 1998), Shanghai (1996) and Fujian (2000) etc., has also formulated research strategies and conducted important research into the all-out development of Western China. Prof. Yeung is now coordinating a new book project on Western China and plans for it to be published in 2003. He and the other researchers w i ll also do fieldwork in the western provinces and make recommendations for strategic planning to the local governments based on experience derived from the development of coastal cities. As Fudan University has been engaged in a long- term study o f China's south-western provinces, knowledge gained in that research should complement the Institute's strengths in the coastal region. Fudan also plans to organize a conference on the topic in 2002. Cu l t u r al Deve l opment of T w o Cities The third study, on the cultural development of Hong Kong and Shanghai, involves ongoing research by the Department of History and the Research Institute for the Humanities. The part on Hong Kong w i l l be coordinated by Prof. Leung Yuen-sang. Prof. Yeung pointed out that Hong Kong and Shanghai have both been important culturally in their own ways. 'Hong Kong has a very strong postwar culture. Its newspapers and films can be found the world over, because Hong Kong emigrants have aneed for information about Hong Kong, from Tung Chee Hwa to Andy Lau. So in terms of the extent of our cultural footprint, so to speak, we surpass Shanghai,' he said. But he added that Shanghai, in its heyday of the 1920s and 30s, was culturally the most important city in Asia, whose literary and artistic creations have had a huge impact on China. And though it suffered from almost total seclusion between 1949 and 1978, the Open Door Policy of the last two decades has been slowly breathing life back to the city. 'Given Shanghai's previously solid cultural foundation, it will return to greatness with a vengeance,' said Prof. Yeung. A conference will be held in the University on the topic in 2003. Educational Reforms The fourth study, on educational reforms, to be coordinated by Prof. Leslie Lo of the Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, will involve ongoing research conducted by staff of the University i n collaboration wi th educational organizations on the ma i n l and. ' Ho ng Kong i s s t i ll l ook i ng for an educational system that will serve the future generation better. Shanghai's educational reform is one of the most innovative in the entire country. I t is also highly insightful,' remarked Prof. Yeung. He expects Fudan University's contribution to this topic to be largely theoretical and outside the classroom. A conference will be held in Fudan in 2004 on educational reforms in the two cities. Mo r e Funds and Publicity Being Sought The papers generated from the four conferences will be published in due course. Research findings will be released from time to time so that the governments of both places w i ll be aware of them and take them into consideration when drawing up policies. Hence the research wi ll have to be of good quality. 'You can only hope to be a think-tank. Governments wi ll only find your research credible i f i t is very good and thorough,' Prof. Yeung pointed out. The institute is diligently raising funds from different quarters, especially organizations related to Shanghai. To be totally 'above-party' and to maintain independence, it wi ll not apply for financial support from the government. And to increase publicity, it will publish annual reports of its activities and ensure that its first conference in December opens with abang, and not a whimper. Piera Chen