Hwa Chong Continues the Enduring Legacy of Mr Tan Kah Kee22 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.
陈杰凯 19S6B 耿钰栋 19S6B
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