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Hwa Chong Continues the Enduring Legacy of Mr Tan Kah Kee

22 Oct 2019

5th Edition of the Hwa Chong Centennial Insights Series

As part of the fifth and final edition of the Hwa Chong Centennial Insights Series held on 19 October, academics and family members came together to discuss the extraordinary life of Mr Tan Kah Kee and the legacy he bequeathed for the 21st Century. The Hwa Chong Centennial Insights Series aims to provide a platform for the continued engagement with thought leaders in our commitment to education for the nation.

Titled “The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee for the 21st Century”, this bilingual forum was jointly organized by the Tan Kah Kee Foundation, Goh Loo Club, and Hwa Chong Institution. Eminent historian and scholar, Professor Wang Gungwu(王赓武教授), was the Guest-of-Honour and keynote speaker.

He was joined by 8 other speakers:

  • a)   Prof Lim Yeow Khee, Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers, NTU;
  • b)   Assoc Prof Huang Jian Li, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS;
  • c)   Prof Lee Guan Kin, Centre for Chinese Language and Culture, NTU;
  • d)   Dr Nan Zhiguo;
  • e)   Dr Ser Wue Hiong, Universiti Putera Malaysia;
  • f)    Mr Oon Jin Teik, Former CEO Sportshub, Great-grandson of Mr Tan Kah Kee;
  • g)   Ms Peggy Tan, Grand-daughter of Mr Tan Kah Kee; and
  • h)   Prof Chen Yi Ming, Honorary President, Overseas Chinese Museum, Xiamen, China.
  •  

Taking a broad sweep of Mr Tan Kah Kee’s life and reflecting on what his life means for people of Chinese descent today, Professor Wang spoke of how Mr Tan Kah Kee embodied the Ru Shang (儒商) or Confucian merchant who married entrepreneurship with a strong sense of social duty. Setting the broader context for Mr Tan Kah Kee’s role as merchant, community leader, patriot, educationist and philanthropist, Professor Wang noted that his achievements were made all the more laudable given by the political and economic forces of that milieu.

In those days, it was not enough to be a Chinese community leader and meet the needs of the Chinese community, but it was essential for leaders of Chinese descent to understand the political and ideological spectrum that spanned various levels of society to truly effect change. In this light, Professor Wang spoke of Mr Tan Kah Kee not just as an adaptable and visionary force but also as a figure who wore multiple hats. He was more than a brilliant businessman, but one that was also plugged into the world, nurturing the next generation for a progressive and changing world.

The dialogue session with Professor Wang was moderated by Dr Nan Zhiguo, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University. Through this dialogue, it became clear that one of the most important lessons underpinning the legacy of Tan Kah Kee for the 21st Century was the importance of continually learning in a changing world and capitalising on the opportunities that change offers.

As an individual who played a seminal role in the overseas Chinese community, other speakers continued to shed light on Mr Tan Kah Kee from different perspectives:

  • Professor Lim Yeow Khee - Tan Kah Kee’s Thoughts on Vocational Education;
  • Professor Huang Jianli – The Special Relationship between Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian;
  • Dr Nan Zhiguo (in Mandarin) – Tan Kah Kee as Chairman of Ee Hoe Hean Club: His Charms and Commitments;
  • Dr Ser Wue Hiong (in Mandarin) – Tan Kah Kee and Lim Lian Geok & the Malaysian Chinese Community;
  • Mr Oon Jin Teik – Doing the Right Thing When Conducting Business in China: A Tan Kah Kee Philosophy;
  • Professor Lee Guan Kin (in Mandarin) – Lim Boon Keng and Tan Kah Kee;
  • Prof Chen Yiming  - The Close Relationship between Two Brothers: Tan Kah Kee & Chen Qing Xian; and
  • Closing Keynote by Ms Peggy Tan – Tan Kah Kee, the Family Man – Through A Grand-Daughter’s Lens.

 

From left to right:

Dr Ser Wue Hiong, Universiti Putra Malaysia; Prof Huang Jianli, National University of Singapore; Prof Lee Guan Kin, Nanyang Technological University; Mr Pang Choon How, Principal, Hwa Chong Institution;Prof Wang Gungwu, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore; Mr Robson Lee, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hwa Chong Institution; Prof Lim Yeow Khee, Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers, Nanyang Technological University; Ms Peggy Tan, Tan Kah Kee Foundation; Prof Chen Yiming, Honorary President of the Overseas Chinese Museum; Dr Nan Zhiguo.

 

弘扬人类社会的共同精神财富——嘉庚精神 

陈杰凯  19S6B    耿钰栋  19S6B

   为了配合世纪校庆而筹办的“华中百年系列讲堂”已来到最后一讲。10月19日,由我校与陈嘉庚基金、吾庐俱乐部携手联办的大型双语讲座,主题订为《陈嘉庚留给二十一世纪的精神财富》。除了我校师生,讲座也对外开放。强大的演讲嘉宾阵容吸引了数百位公众慕名出席,反应非常热烈。虽然是周末,但一大清早中学部会堂已是人头攒动。

   来自海内外的专家济济一堂,包括东亚研究所王赓武教授、中国华侨博物院名誉院长陈毅明教授、国大历史系黄坚立教授、陈嘉庚青少年发明奖首席评判林耀琦教授、马来西亚博特拉大学徐威雄博士、本地学者李元瑾教授和南治国博士。他们在会上侃侃而谈,旁征博引,深入浅出地分析了陈嘉庚先生波澜壮阔的一生,以及他对后世的深远影响。

   主讲者在演讲中也旁及一些在陈嘉庚先生生命中扮演重要角色的人物,如他的胞弟陈敬贤先生、女婿李光前博士、挚友林文庆医生和集美校友林连玉先生等。讲座下半场,主办方有幸请到陈嘉庚先生的孙女陈佩仪女士和外曾孙温仁德先生,两位从不同的视角讲述了先祖辈陈嘉庚先生对他们家族及个人的教诲与启示。

   陈嘉庚先生坚信“教育为立国之本,兴学乃国民天职”,他重视人才培育的可贵精神最为世人所称道,一生创办和赞助的学校达110多所。20世纪初,陈嘉庚先生四处奔走,呕心沥血,出钱出力,陆续在本地与家乡兴学办校,作育英才,其中包括我校——南洋华侨中学,这是当时东南亚地区华侨的最高学府,也是新加坡第一所华文中学。除了积极推动教育,作为胸怀天下的慈善家,陈嘉庚先生总是当仁不让,慷慨解囊,济危扶困。即使在生意惨淡之时,他仍然本着初心,坚持资助教育和公益事业,集中体现了他公而忘私,为国为民的奉献精神,这是“嘉庚精神”的重要内涵。

   19S6B的黄宏斌在聆听讲座后表示:“本次讲座的内容十分丰富,让我进一步了解校主不平凡的经历和高瞻远瞩的目光。讲员叙述了当时华社先贤饮水思源的精神和力求进步的奋斗意志,使我对我的华族根源感到自豪。尤其是当我知道陈嘉庚先生轻财重义,毁家兴学,对教育事业的追求是如此义无反顾,更令我钦佩。他的儒商精神时刻召唤我们,提醒我们‘取诸社会,用诸社会’和‘己立立人,己达达人’的道理,这在现今社会具有极大的意义。”

上半场提问环节的讲员有徐威雄博士(左起)、林耀琦教授和黄坚立教授,主持是南治国博士

 

彭俊豪校长(左)赠送纪念品给主题演讲嘉宾王赓武教授,右为华中董事部李德龙董事长与陈嘉庚先生的孙女陈佩仪女士

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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