Newsletter No. 189

Jacques Derrida: We Never Give Enough, We Never Forgive Enough D istinguished French philosopher, Prof. Jacques Derrida, professor emeritus o f the School o f Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris, gave a lecture and a seminar on the campus last month at the invitation of Chung Chi C o l l e ge and t he D e p a r t me nt o f Philosophy. One o f the most productive and influential l i v i ng philosophers in the contemporary international academic arena, Prof. Derrida's works number over 60 volumes, ranging from philosophy to literary criticism, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, architecture, the fine arts, and legal studies. They have been translated into over 10 languages. His characteristic approach to reading — deconstruction — has produced widespread impact for three decades on nearly every discipline in the humanities and the social sciences, and continues to nourish discussions and studies across the globe. I n his p u b l i c l ec t u re e n t i t l ed 'Globalization and Capital Punishment', delivered on 17th September in the overcrowded L i Koon Chun Hall, Prof. Derrida drew attention to the potential danger of comprehending the so-called globalization process merely in the technological and economic sense. A f t er analysing the present global condition with reference to the terrorist acts which happened just a few days earlier in New York, Prof. Derrida said: 'We are in front o f a theatrical demonstration and embodiment of an event in wh i ch the enemy is faceless, stateless, but nevertheless, the United States declare war. This situation is indissociable from the tele-technology, d i g i t a l c o mm u n i c a t i o n, and a ir communication surrounding us today.' The lecture was attended by an audience of some 300, with students and teachers f r om CUHK and other local universities lining up at the entrance of the lecture hall one hour before the official beginning. Many guests and senior staff sat on the staircase or stood at the back of the lecture hall for two hours, listening attentively and waiting for the opportunity to raise questions. There were some one hundred disappointed late comers, many of whom made subsequent phone calls and sent e-mail to request the retransmission of the event online. A similar commotion was seen in the seminar session conducted by Prof. Derrida on 18th September. I n i t i a l ly scheduled to take place at the Fung King Hey Building w i th 30 participants, the seminar was finally moved to the Cho Y i u Conference Ha ll to accommodate an audience o f 150. I n his speech entitled ' Decons tmc t i on and Ethical Concern', Prof. Derrida urged people to think beyond conventional rules and norms in order to address ethical issues direct. Concrete ethical acts such as giving gifts, hospitality, and forgiveness are ethical, only in so far as they are u n c o n d i t i o n a l ly bes t owed w i t h the entire respect of the Other. 'We never give enough, we never forgive enough, we are never conscious enough o f others! I t 's on ly in the name o f the irreducible alterity o f the Other that there is justice,' he so concluded. Anthropology Students Visit Guangxi N i n e t e en s t u d e n ts f r o m t he Depa r tment o f A n t h r o p o l o gy we n t to G u i l i n , L o n g s h e n g, and Nanning o f the Guangxi Mun i c i pa l i ty from 27th May to 9th June to investigate ethnic cultures and tourism, and to visit archaeological caves and shell-midden sites. The annual summer study tour was o r gan i z ed by the depa r tment and p a r t i a l l y sponso r ed by New A s i a College. The tour not only gave the students the opportunity to stay at the homes of four ethnic groups and examine how tourism has impacted the landscape and peop l e 's cu l t u r e, but also fostered academic exchange be tween Ho ng Kong and Guangxi students. I n f o rma t i on collected during the tour are on display from 21st September to 15th October at Hui's Gallery in New Asia College. Eminent HistorianGives Three Lectures in Celebration of Chung Chi's 50th Anniversary P rof. Immanuel C.Y. Hsu, professor eme r i t us o f the Un i v e r s i ty o f California, Santa Barbara, and an eminent scholar o f mode rn Chinese h i s t o ry specializing in foreign relations, visited the University last month in his capacity as visiting scholar to the Department of History and Chung Chi College. During his visit, Prof. Hsu delivered three Distinguished Historians' Lectures. The first one, 'The Teaching of Modern Chinese History, 1600-2000', was held on 15th September at Hong Kong Central Library, Causeway Bay. The second lecture took place on 17th September in the Tin Ka Ping B u i l d i n g on the U n i v e r s i ty campus. It was entitled 'The Bush Administration's China Policy'. And the third lecture, entitled The Question o f America's Missile Defence Shield', took place on 19th September at the Institute of Chinese Studies at the University. Training Programme for Mainland Administrators C lose to 30 senior administrators of non-profit-making organizations from the mainland attended an intensive training programme organized by the Department of Social Work and the China Youth Development Foundation at the University from 10th to 29th September. The programme, comprising lectures, seminars, and agency visits, aimed at equipping senior mainland administrators w i t h knowledge and skills in human service management, agency finance, and the administration of charitable funds. Officiating at the opening ceremony of the programme on 12th September were Prof. Kenneth Chau (right), dean of the Faculty of Social Science, Ms. Gu Xiaojin ( left), secretary-general of the China Youth Development Foundation, Mr. Zhang Yinxi, vice-director of the Project Hope National Supervisory Committee, and Dr. A l l en Choate, director of programme development of the Asia Foundation. Service to the Community and International Organizations • Prof. Andrew Chan Chi Fai, professor in the Department of Marketing, has been appointed by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR as a panel member of the Telecommunications (Competition Provisions) Appeal Board for two years from 31st August 2001. He has also been re-appointed by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR as the chairman of the Consumer Council for two years from 16th September 2001. • Prof. Ambrose King, pro-vice-chancellor, has been re-appointed by the Secretary for Education and Manpower as a member of the Research Grants Council for two years from 1st July 2001. • Prof. Robert Jones, professor of pharmacology, has been appointed by the Secretary for Health and Welfare as a member of the Pharmacy and Poisons Appeal Tribunal for one year from 14th August 2001. • Prof. Chau Kwai Cheong, associate professor in the Department of Geography, has been appointed by the Secretary for the Environment and Food as a member of the Country and Marine Parks Board for two years from 1st September 2001. • Prof. Yip Din Yan, assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, has been appointed by the Secretary for Education and Manpower as amember of the Curriculum Development Council for two years from 1 st September 2001. ( I n f o r m a t i o n in this section is provided by the Information and Public Relations Office. Contributions should be sent direct to that office for registration and verification before publication.)