Newsletter No. 480

本刊由香港中文大學資訊處出版,每月出版兩期。截稿日期及稿例載於 。 The CUHK Newsletter is published by the Information Services Office, CUHK, on a fortnightly basis. Submission guidelines and deadlines can be found at . Photo by ISO staff The exceptional honour I received from my alma mater can be seen as recognition and an expression of appreciation. It made me extremely happy and feel at home. Back then I applied to Toronto, McGill and British Columbia which were the most popular choices of scholarship applicants. They all rejected me. Instead, it was Western Ontario that took me in, even though I had no idea where it was, initially. But I fell in love with it at first sight. The campus was of a medium scale, but the scenic views it offered were breathtaking, especially in winter when it snowed heavily. I loved photography so I felt like a fish in water. Although I was there for only 20 months, the impact of this brief stint on my subsequent career proved indelible. I took two months to write my thesis, while the remaining 18 months were spent attending lectures, working in the fields and travelling. I became a research assistant for a few months and with the money saved, spent two months journeying through Europe. Having studied and travelled extensively, do you feel that there’s nothing new under the sun? This is not how I feel but it is true that I don’t get easily excited any more. In 1986, when the foundation was laid for the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and the MTR came into being, I was all excited because I felt Hong Kong was entering a new phase of development. Then the Chek Lap Kok Airport opened in 1998 and became hailed as one of the world’s top 10 engineering feats in the 20th century. Those epochal developments still leave a deep impression on me. But two public projects are a little disappointing. The first was the reconstruction of the old Kai Tak airport. What has only been completed so far is a costly cruise terminal. The second is the West Kowloon Cultural District, a project that seems stalled. These reflect the danger of Hong Kong lagging behind. Earlier, Hong Kong was ranked the world’s most competitive economy, according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016 published by the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. This can be considered good luck for us. Why did you publish The World in Pictures last year? I have published my 54th book this year—on the average one each year since I graduated from university. Most of my publications are academic in nature. Two years ago, I saw young people occupying the roads and felt they were somewhat disoriented and unable to see the future clearly. The world is so vast, so beautiful and with so many things happening. It will be great for young people to learn more about the world and broaden their perspectives. Over the past 50 years, I have been to more than 80 countries, produced over 20,000 slides. I have selected 150 for compilation into a book, to present the face of a world buffeted by globalization and rural-urban transformations. This is my tribute to the younger generation. Looking back on your career, what were the turning points you consider critical? Sometimes there are things beyond our control. Still one can seize the only opportunity one has and with an adventurous spirit, life would take a different path and possibly for the better. The decision I took to leave the University of Singapore in 1975 was the most critical. That was my first job after finishing a PhD. After teaching there for six years, I could get my tenure and Singapore citizenship if I had my contract extended. I could also foresee a promotion had I stayed. That year, the International Development Research Centre came into being, financed and established by the Canadian government, with the mission of helping third world nations nurture their talents. I was offered a senior planning position at their Asia Regional Office in Singapore as a Social Science delegate. The job was certainly for the young and energetic because it called for a lot of vitality and ideas. I took the offer. In 1984, I was transferred to their Ottawa headquarters and later promoted to Assistant Director of the Social Science Department, responsible for global research funding. Prior to my return to Hong Kong to join CUHK as Professor of Geography, I had to travel for three to four months each year for a decade. The countries I travelled to numbered over 60. Tiring and hectic, but it enabled me to see the world and develop a global perspective. In the end, I brought back all these experiences to my homeland, where I worked in different capacities at CUHK for over 20 years until my retirement. Your life seems a smooth and broad path. Weren’t there times of defeat and frustration? How could there be no setbacks? I was the first in my family to receive a university education. I have three younger siblings. My father wanted me to work right after graduation. I wanted to teach. Twice, I applied for the government post of an assistant education officer but was rejected. I felt perplexed and a little dejected too. Subsequently, I went to the University of Western Ontario in Canada to pursue a Master’s degree. It was fortunate that I met a good supervisor. He encouraged me to do a doctorate at the University of Chicago and wrote me a favorable recommendation letter. As I was on a Commonwealth Scholarship, I was obliged to return to Hong Kong and work. So I had to come back first and teach. Eventually, I managed to secure a full scholarship to study in the University of Chicago and finished my PhD under another great supervisor. Like I said earlier, it may not be so bad if things didn’t turn out right at first. Last month, you were conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Western Ontario. Does this mean something different from your previous awards and titles? I treasure and am grateful for every accolade I received. 回顧精彩的事業生涯,有哪些轉捩點是最關鍵的? 人生的事情,有時不是個人意願可控制的。但哪怕是不盡如人意,如果能把 握僅有的機會,加點冒險精神,路便會不同,而且可能會更好。 1975年離開新加坡大學的決定是最關鍵的。那是我讀完博士後第一份工作, 做了六年,如果續約便會得到終身教席,也得成為新加坡公民。我自忖留下的 話,升級也是預期中事。但剛巧加拿大政府資助成立了國際發展研究中心,以 幫助第三世界國家培養人才為使命。我獲邀出任這個組織的高級計劃人員, 在其新加坡亞洲區辦事處工作。這條路與教學大不相同,要求充沛的精力,新 鮮的意念,斷不是一份可做到老的工作,但我選擇了,1980年更轉調渥太華 總部,後晉升為社會科學部副主任,負責全球的研究資助計劃,直至1984年 應邀回港出任中大地理系講座教授。之前十年,每年出差三四個月,踏遍六十 多國,奔波勞累,但讓我多認識世界,建立了全球視野,最終可帶同這些經驗 和見識,回到自己的地方,在中大不同崗位發揮所長,工作了二十多年才退休。 好像都是道平路寬,讓機會找上了你,就從沒有挫敗迷惘之時嗎? 不順遂怎會沒有。我出身中等家庭,是家中第一個讀大學的,之下三個弟妹。 父親一心想著我畢業後便工作。我想教書,可兩次應徵政府助理教育主任都 失敗,令我百思不得其解,也有點沮喪。後來我到加拿大西安大略大學唸碩 士,有幸得到良師指導,他鼓勵我到芝加哥大學讀博士,並給我寫很好的推薦 信。因為我是以英聯邦獎學金讀碩士的,必須回港工作,只得先回來教書。後 終於申請到全數獎學金往芝大,又遇到另一位良師,二十個月完成博士。他還 給我覓得新加坡的教職。所以正如我剛才所說,發展不若預期,未必是壞事。 大半生獎譽無數,上月底又剛獲西安大略大學頒授榮譽博士銜,這次的意義可 有不同? 每一個獎項我都珍惜感激,這回是母校給我的崇高榮譽,是一份認同和賞 識,令我特別高興,也倍感親切。當年申請獎學金,需列出三間心儀大學,人 們都是多倫多、麥基爾和英屬哥倫比亞這三大,我也不例外,怎料都沒有結 果。錄取我的西安大略,我連它在哪裏也不知道,卻一見便鍾情。該校規模只 是中等,風景怡人,大雪天尤其美麗,我又是愛攝影的,真是如魚得水。西安 大略是我離港後第一間入讀的大學,在那兒的短短二十個月,對我日後事業 影響最大。我寫論文用了兩個月,其餘十八個月上課,參與田野工作,到外面 走動,還有幾個月當了一位教授的研究助理,儲錢去歐洲遊歷兩個月。 讀了萬卷書,也行了不止萬里路,太陽底下於你是否已無新事? 太陽底下豈會無新事,但已不容易叫我雀躍。1986年會展中心奠基,鐵路電 動化,都曾令我振奮,覺得香港已踏進新的階段。我曾參與新機場諮詢委員會 九年之久,見證1998年赤鱲角機場啓用,名列二十世紀世界十大工程,還有青 馬大橋,那些劃時代發展深印腦海。反而香港回歸後有兩個本應叫人興奮的 公共設施項目,卻令我有點遺憾。一是啓德機場的重建,現在只完成了郵輪 碼頭,用了很多錢,也不美觀。二是西九龍文化區,也好像是停滯不前。這些 都反映了香港被超越的危機。早前發表的瑞士洛桑國際管理發展學院《2016 年世界競爭力年報》,香港還可名列第一,算是僥倖。 你退休多年仍著述不斷,去年出版《影像中的世界:城鄉巨變五十年》,緣起 是甚麽? 我今年出版了第五十四本書,平均自大學畢業後每年出版一本,以學術著作居 多。看到前年香港年輕人佔領街頭的運動,我覺得他們有點迷惘,看不清前 路。世界這般大,這般美麗,有這麼多事情發生,年輕人若能多認識世界,視 角會廣闊一點。五十年來我跑過八十多個國家,製作了二萬張幻燈片,我選了 一百五十張,編成一書,呈現世界在瞬息萬變的全球化和城鄉巨變下的面貌。 這是我給年輕一代的一點心意。 楊汝萬教授 Prof. Yeung Yue-man • 中大地理學榮休講座教授兼榮譽院士 • 歷任地理系講座教授、教務長、 香港亞太研究所所長及逸夫書院院長 • Emeritus Professor of Geography and Honorary Fellow of CUHK • Formerly Professor of Geography, University Registrar, Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies and Head of Shaw College ’ 口談實錄 Viva Voce 10 480 • 19.6.2016