Newsletter No. 252

Exhibition of First Chinese Nobel Laureate in Literature T he Un i ve r s i ty L i b r a ry System (ULS) hosted 'Exhibition of Gao X i ng j i an: Sources, Literature and Drama' in commemoration of the kind d o n a t i on o f pa rt o f his p r i v a te co l l ec t i on to the ULS by Dr. Gao Xingjian, Nobel laureate in literature 2000. The exhibition, which ran from 11th to 15th December 2004, featured manuscripts, paintings, photographs, posters, books, and Dr. Gao's many other personal belongings. The exhibition was opened on 11th December. Officiating at the opening ceremony were Prof. Liu Pak-wai, pro- vice-chancellor, Dr. Co l in Storey, University librarian, and Prof. Gilbert Fong, chairman of the Department of Translation. On the same day, The Chinese University Press held a seminar entitled 'Gao Xingjian: Archive, Literature, and Theatre' at the Central L i b r a ry in Causeway Bay. Speakers included Prof. Gilbert Fong, Prof. Tam Kwok-kan of the Department of English, Dr. Colin Storey, and Mr. Jim Chim, associate artistic director of Theatre Ensemble. A prominent playwright, director, novelist, painter, and literary theorist, Dr. Gao was the first Chinese writer to be awarded the Nobel prize in literature. His work was depicted by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm as 'an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama'. Over the years, Dr. Gao has given valuable support to art and literature research at The Chinese University. His writings have been carried by the Twenty-First Century bimonthly published by the Institute of Chinese Studies, and his plays The Other Shore and August Snow were translated into English by Prof. Gilbert Fong and published by The Chinese University Press. In 2001, Dr. Gao was conferred the degree of Doctor of Literature, honoris causa, by the University. The ULS began systematically collecting research materials on the study of Dr. Gao in 2000. Dr. Gao's personal donation has greatly consolidated the foundations of the collection. Love Marketing An Interview with Prof. MichaelHui the NewAssociate Pro-Vice-Chancellor PROFILE Prof. Michael Hui obtained his BBA from The Chinese University, his CAAE from the University of Aix- Marseille in France, and his Ph.D. from London Business School. He joined the CUHK Department of Marketing in 1996 and was associate dean and BBA Programme director of t h e F a c u l t y of B u s i n e s s Administration from 1999 to 2002. He is currently professor of marketing and director of the faculty's research programmes. Prof. Hui serves on the editorial boards of numerous international academic journals and has rendered consultancy services to the business sector and the government. W hat should we expect when an expert i n services ma r ke t i ng and consumer behaviour who's also a CUHK alumnus becomes associate pro-vice-chancellor? Lots of lessons learnt f r om marketing w i t h copious amounts of love for the Un i ve r s i ty t h r own in. What Is Marketing? 'What is marketing?' Prof. Michael Hu i, professor of marketing and the University's new associate pro-vice- chance l l o r, asked the r h e t o r i c al ques t i on. ' Ma r k e t i ng is not o n l y a b o u t m a r k e t r e s e a r c h a n d advertising, as sometimes believed. It is actually a way of doing business that began i n the US after Wo r ld War II.' I n post-World-War I I Ame r i ca, many large companies were shocked at t he p o o r d e m a n d f o r t h e i r products. They had thought that war had starved the pub l ic of material goods so mu c h t hat t hey w o u l d pounce on the opportunity to spend. But that was on ly true d u r i ng the war. Ma r ket compe t i t i on was non- existent, so the handful of companies that still remained i n business shifted their focus inwards, on h ow to cut costs. Qua l i ty and packaging were not important as anything put on the she lf was s n a p p ed u p t he n e xt m i nu t e. But once the wa r ended, business resumed and compe t i t i on raised its head. The pub l ic was no longer w i l l i ng to settle for cheap, bo r i ng p r oduc ts wh i ch some wa r - hardened companies were still i n the habit of producing. Ma r k e t i ng r emi nds companies that they cannot bu ry their noses i n i n t e r n al a f f a i rs because p r o f i t is ou t s i de the w i n d o w. ' Compan i es cannot produce something and then persuade consumers to buy it. They s h o u ld f i n d out wh a t consumers w a n t b e f o re d e c i d i ng w h a t to produce. Basic marketing training is about h ow to t h i nk outside oneself, i n someone else's shoes. It is also about c ommun i c a t i on ,' exp l a i ned Prof. Hu i. Prof. Michael Hu i, together w i t h P r o f. B i l l y So, p r o f e s s or i n t he D e p a r t m e n t of H i s t o r y , w e r e appointed the first associate pro-vice- chancellors of the University on 1st October 2004. Prof. H u i is p u t i n charge of the Campus Development Of f i ce, the Estates Ma n a g eme nt Office, the University Health Service, and The Chinese University Press. Empathy and Communication Ap p l y i ng his marketing expertise to the University, Prof. H u i hopes to imp r ove communication w i t h i n the units, and between the units and the University. C ommu n i c a t i on is especially i m p o r t a n t d u r i n g f i n a n c i a l l y stringent times w h en feathers are easily ruffled. The past year has been a d i f f i c u lt one for the Un i v e r s i ty financially. Measures to save costs and tap new sources of income are w i d e ly deemed necessary but they i nev i t ab ly cause f r i c t i on and h u r t f e e l i n g s. A n d t he s i t u a t i on is expected to continue. 'Some institutions have been i n place at the Un i v e r s i ty for a l ong time. They mi ght have been efficient i n their t ime bu t are no longer. A good organization needs to change even w i t h o u t the cut i n ex t e r nal f u n d i n g . H a v i n g sa id t ha t, t he University is blessed w i t h a uniquely w a r m relationship among its staff, some of w h om have spent half their lives here and some, like myself, are CUHK alumni,' remarked Prof. Hu i. H i s j o b , t h e r e f o r e, e n t a i l s t r e a d i ng t he f i ne l i ne b e t w e en max imi z i ng efficiency and keeping staff happy. Wise o p t i m i sm leads h i m to believe that often it is not the matter itself that causes discontent but miscommunication or the lack of communication, especially i n a un it w i t h several hund r ed staff like the E s t a t es M a n a g e m e n t O f f i c e . Enhanc i ng u n d e r s t a n d i ng w o u l d i r o n o u t d i f f i c u l t i e s i n t h e implementation of reforms. Focus on Service Quality Singer and actor Andy Lau says i n the f amous p r omo f or H o n g Kong 's service industry: I n this day and age, this k i nd of service just isn't enough!' The un i ts under Prof. H u i are w e i g h t e d h e a v i l y t o w a r d s professionals — engineers, architects, doctors, nurses, and editors. While he has e v e r y c o n f i d e n ce i n t h e i r knowledge and professionalism, he b e l i e v e s t h a t , f r o m a u s e r ' s perspective, their service quality can be t a k en u p a f ew no t ches. The ingredients for excellent service, he says, are professional knowledge and user satisfaction. 'Police officers may t h i nk that as l ong as they can stop crime, they're do i ng a good job. But the pub l ic may expect mo re f r om t h em t h an t h a t ,' he e x p l a i n e d. 'Besides service quality nowadays is an ongoing process. There is always r oom for improvement.' As the U n i v e r s i t y 's s u p p o rt units, the departments under Prof. H u i w i l l be able to help frontline staff more effectively if they can spend a little more time to understand what t he ir users wan t. As adviser and facilitator, Prof. H u i w i l l encourage communication between supervisors and subordinates w i t h i n the units, between users and service providers, and help them reach a compromise wh en necessary so as to achieve a w i n - w in situation. To be convincing i n these unde r t ak i ngs means Prof. H u i w i l l have to t h i n k i n ma ny people's Nikes and Pradas. Advice for CUHKers Prof. Hui's new responsibilities have left h i m less time for teaching and r esea r ch. Wh e r e as t he r a t i o of teaching, research, and service was 30:60:10, it is n ow closer to 33 for each. He is prepared to increase the service component to 50 per cent as he b e l i e v es h i s s e r v i c es a re wo r t hwh i l e. 'University staff have been under different pressures i n the past year. I feel f or t hem. But the d o w n t u r n wo n 't last forever and we still have many good things going for us such as the opportunities offered by the n ew L aw School. We s hou ld also r e m e m b e r t h a t w e h a v e a responsibility towards Ho ng Kong and China. I spent half my life at this university. Of course I want the best for it,' concluded Prof. Hu i. Piera Chen 2 No. 252 4th January 2005