Speech by Mr Michael M Y SUEN
Secretary for Education
145th Anniversary Speech Day of
14 December 2007
Mr. Li, Distinguished Guests, Parents, Teachers and Students,
It gives me great pleasure to be here today to share the joy of the graduates and to witness the remarkable achievements of Queen’s College on its 145th Anniversary.
Being the oldest government boys’ school in Hong Kong , Queen’s College has a long and distinguished history. Dated back to 1862, the school started as the Central College for Boys. It then changed its name to Victoria College in 1889 and then Queen’s College in 1894. The College was relocated at its present location in 1950. Over the past 145 years, the College has produced generations of leaders and key players in different fields and professions. The most notable example is of course the founding father of modern China , Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
It would only be normal to expect any school to embody some sort of vision to galvanise its students. In the case of one of our top schools, Queen’s College, every student is being nurtured to develop a strong sense of brotherhood, a balanced attitude to school work and a healthy passion for excellence. Successive generations of principals and teachers of Queen’s College have built a fine tradition of living up to this vision. From the perspective of academic achievements, QC students have excelled in many areas. Indeed, the records show that number of QC students attaining 10As in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination exceeds that attained by any other schools in the territory. The College has also produced numerous scholarship winners to universities both locally and overseas.
Apart from academic pursuits, the College spares no efforts in instilling into the minds of its students the importance of personal qualities and virtues. QC students are taught to love and care towards the disadvantaged. With the support of the College, QC students have also been very active in providing community service. For two consecutive years, the College has been given the Gold Award for Volunteer Service of Hong Kong.
All graduates today have come this far to graduation. On this important day, I would like to share with you some experience as to how you may equip yourselves to take on board all those challenges which will come your way in your next stages of learning.
In this information age, it is generally accepted that knowledge is power. However, information on its own will not be sufficient to equip you to attain the best results if its does not embrace the important element of insight. In other words, we need to develop and sharpen our ability to make the best use out of the knowledge we have acquired. We need to learn to get to the root of the subjects that we learn and to develop the vital sense of critical thinking. Equally important is to maintain a healthy appetite for excellence in whatever you do. There is simply little room for complacency, otherwise we may end up repeating ourselves and the opportunity for the attainment of any breakthrough will be lost on us.
The ability to make effective communication is another crucial skill. We need to be able to put our points of view across plainly and simply. We should try our very best to avoid intimidating our interlocutors. In order to achieve all these, good mastery of the English and Chinese languages is of paramount importance. English will remain the major language in business, academia and professions in this Asia ’s world city of our own. The importance of the Chinese language is self-evident. China has been the key engine of global economic growth over the last decade, and it will continue to be so for many years to come. It is clear that being proficient in both languages will stand you in good stead in all your future endeavours. Hence, no matter what career you choose, or what disciplines of study you are after in your higher education, I am sure that you will do everything you can to keep improving your language abilities.
I am sure all you graduates today will look back on your school days with fond memories. Indeed, you have much to be grateful for. Your achievements today owe much to the care and support of your parents, as well as the mentorship of the principal and teachers of your school. I am confident that you will carry on with the good tradition of Queen’s College and become the pillars in society in whatever fields you are going to pursue.
Before closing, let me congratulate once again every graduate and award winner today. May I also take this opportunity to wish all of you a Merry Christmas!
(About 798 words)