Newsletter No. 535

08 # 5 3 5 | 0 4 . 0 4 . 2 0 1 9 Photo by ISO How do you feel about being a well-known commentator on economic issues? Shortly after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, I published an article on the then current economy in a newspaper. Since then, invitations to comment from various media have never stopped. I never said no. It’s my wish to serve the community by offering my expertise, analysis and suggestions. It is no easy task, however, as I have to keep up with the times and the most updated economic data. Apart from academic papers, you write blogs and general books on both economics and everyday life. Why? Economics can be applied to every aspect of our daily life. It’s a discipline that studies the changes in human behaviour and society. Researchers should be at the cutting edge to understand the social development. By writing and publishing, I do not only render economic knowledge to the public, but also fulfill my goal of life, that is, ‘live to the full’. So, why not? You are also active in public service. How do you find time for it? I work really hard. I slept no more than three hours a day since my secondary school days until obtaining my doctorate degree. Though I sleep a bit more now, I still work 17 to 18 hours a day. But time is never enough. I am fully committed now until June. Professor, researcher, economic commentator, writer, public service. Do the satisfactions differ? The greatest satisfaction for a teacher is to nurture outstanding students. A researcher is happiest when he becomes the first one in the world to get to a research finding. I published my first academic paper when I was a doctoral student. My scholarly output has been pretty steady since and I am recognized internationally. The roles of commentator and writer give me a platform to speak out against social injustice. Public service is the means by which I pay back to society. You once gave your view on how young people could become homeowners. Any amended view with Hong Kong housing still among the world’s least affordable? The median monthly salary of university graduates is HK$10,000+. It’s unrealistic to think of buying a home worth HK$7–8 million simply by savings. They should think out of the box. Being employed is not the only way out. Young people could re-examine their skills and the market’s need for such skills. Money isn’t the only thing that matters in life. What I want to say is that getting a job doesn’t mean getting rich. The mismatch between skill and market may explain poverty on the job. I also suggest young people to view the Greater Bay Area as an opportunity. The best from the area can come to Hong Kong, and vice versa. The Hong Kong market is after all too small. What is the right age to start personal financial management? It could start as early as grade three when children can do simple arithmetic. They should be made aware that making money is not easy and that they should treasure what they earn. Learning through activities has been proved effective. For example, giving a budget to children for organizing a birthday party. If they managed to cut the budget, they will be awarded with a sum matching what they have saved. In this way they would be encouraged to shop around, look for the lowest price and cut unnecessary expenditure. Isn’t it a learning process? C.F. 成為經常就民生議題發表看法的經濟評論員,感覺如何? 九七金融風暴後,我在報章發表文章,談當下經濟形勢,自此不同媒體陸續找上門來。本 着服務社會,以所長專業,為大家提供科學、理性、持平的分析及建議,我亦來者不拒,無 心插柳下成為經濟評論員。這份「差事」殊不輕鬆,必須緊貼時代脈搏,掌握最新經濟數 據,才能隨時回答提問。 撰寫學術論文外,你亦寫網誌,出版普及書,既談經濟,也說生活,何有此舉? 萬宗歸一,生活離不開經濟學原理,而經濟學就是研究人的行為及社會改變。研究人員 必須走在前線,以了解社會發展。寫文章出書,一方面是為普羅大眾提供學術書籍以外的 經濟知識,另方面又切合我的「活出精采人生」目標,何樂而不為? 你兼任的公職也不少,如何再抽時間處理這些職務? 自問是勤力的人,從中學開始至唸完博士期間,睡眠時間不多於三小時,現雖已稍增一兩 小時,但每日仍然有十七八小時放在工作上。可是,時間畢竟有限,現時一些邀約要推遲 至6月才接了。 教授、研究員、經濟評論員、作者、公職人員,各給你怎樣的滿足感? 教書最大滿足感莫過於培養出傑出學生。研究有成,自己是世上第一人知悉該發現,其滿 足感難以筆墨形容。我在唸博士時已開始發表論文,一直保持穩定的產量,並獲國際學術 界肯定。經濟評論員和作者的角色,提供另一渠道給我指出社會上的不公義;擔任公職則 是為了回饋社會。 你曾教年輕人如何籌劃買樓,但香港已連續九年成為全球最難置業的地方,有甚麼新 建議? 大學畢業生月薪中位數是萬多元,單靠儲蓄購買動輒七八百萬的房子,當然是遙不可及。 先要跳出固有思維,檢視自己的技能及其需求與市場在哪;打工不是唯一出路。人生固然 不是只在金錢,各有各的價值觀,我要強調的是賺錢和職業是兩回事,在職貧窮原因是錯 賣了自己的才能。此外,我建議年輕人不妨放眼大灣區,內地精英來港工作,港青亦可北 上。況且,香港市場始終是小,縱有好的創業構思,盈利也有局限。 理財教育應該自哪個階段開始? 孩子唸小三,懂得加減後,便可以開始理財教育,讓他們明白賺錢不易,珍惜財物。以活 動形式來灌輸理財知識尤為有效,如給予孩子特定預算籌辦生日會,要是能控制在預算 以下,所節省的金錢即有等額的獎勵,以鼓勵他們貨比三家,減省不必要開支,這不就是 一個學習過程嗎? 經濟學系副教授 Associate Professor, Department of Economics 劉佐德全球經濟及金融研究所常務所長 Executive Director, Lau Chor Tak Institute of Global Economics and Finance 新亞書院輔導長 Dean of Students, New Asia College 莊太量教授 Prof. Terence Chong 口 談 實 錄 / V iva V oce