General News

Hwa Chong Hosts Key Conversations on the Role of Chinese Culture in the Region

14 Aug 2019
General

From Left to Right: Dr Liu Thai Ker; Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Chairman, Board of Governors, Hwa Chong Institution); Mr Chee Hong Tat; Mr Pang Choon How (Principal, Hwa Chong Institution); Professor Wong Yoon Wah; Associate Professor Tan Chee Lay

In celebration of Hwa Chong’s centenary, the fourth edition of the Hwa Chong Centennial Insights Series was hosted in conjunction with the annual Asian Youth Chinese Forum on 2 August 2019.

The Centennial Insights Series aims to provide the platform for the continued engagement with thought leaders to lead collective conversations in our commitment to education for the nation. Each lecture will see the engagement with two giants in their fields. Thematically spanning the strategic visioning of Hwa Chong, the lecture series will reach out to our students, staff, alumni, parents and partners, leveraging on existing platforms in our academic calendar.

Themed “A Centennial Retrospect: The spread and propagation of the Chinese culture in Singapore and South-East Asia”, the event was graced by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Education.

Two distinguished keynote speakers, Dr Liu Thai Ker and Professor Wong Yoon Wah engaged the audience with their speeches on ‘The Singapore Chinese Culture – A Personal Recollection and Anticipation’ and ‘After Cheng Ho’s landing in Malacca: Inheritance and Innovation of the Chinese Culture’ respectively.

A dialogue session moderated by Associate Professor Tan Chee Lay, Asian Languages and Culture Academic Group, NIE/NTU was held after the keynote speeches.

Keynote Speakers:

Dr Liu Thai Ker is hailed as the architect of modern Singapore. His national and international accolades span architecture, urban planning and the arts. He has served as Chairman of the National Arts Council, Chief Executive Officer of the Housing and Development Board, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Planner of the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Chairman of the Jury of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Park Master Plan. He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 1976, the Meritorious Service Medal in 1985 and Business China Excellence Award in 2014. Dr Liu is currently the Chairman of Morrow Architects Pte Ltd & Planners and the Centre for Liveable Cities Advisory Board.

Professor Wong Yoon Wah is a widely-published poet, writer and renowned scholar. Instrumental in promoting Chinese Literature in the region, he has been recognized with Thailand’s South-East Asia Write Award in 1984, the 1993 ASEAN Cultural Award and the 1996 Singapore Literature Prize. A Cultural Medallion awardee, he has served as President of the Singapore Association of Writers, and professor and Head of the Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore. Professor Wong was appointed Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Chairman of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Yuan Ze University, Taiwan. He is currently Chair Professor and Senior Vice President of Southern University College, Malaysia.

From left to right: Dr Liu Thai Ker, Associate Professor Tan Chee Lay, Professor Wong Yoon Wah

       2019年适逢新加坡开埠两百年以及华侨中学建校百年华诞,在这个意义非凡的日子,回顾建国与创校的艰辛,感恩对文化、艺术、教育奉献的先贤,展望充满挑战的未来,是学校庆祝百年校庆的主轴。学校希望通过《华中百年系列讲堂》,广邀学贯中西、学识渊博的专家学者分享他们的真知灼见。每场讲座都邀请两位行业菁英,为华中师生、校友、家长及文教界同行进行分享,提升学术素养。

       《华中百年系列讲堂》之四于“亚洲青年华语论坛”期间(7月31日至8月2日)举办,论坛媒介语为华语。我们很荣幸邀请到贸工部兼教育部高级政务部长徐芳达担任大会主宾,以及被城市规划大师刘太格博士与著名学者王润华教授为本次论坛的主讲嘉宾。他们就本次青年华语论坛的主题“回顾百年中华文化在新加坡与东南亚的传播与繁衍”,与莘莘学子及与会者进行零距离的交流互动。

       刘太格博士经常被誉为新加坡规划之父。他善于将中华文化元素注入现代城市规划与建筑设计当中,设计出兼具系统功能以及文化美感的方案,并着力于保留各城市独特的个性与传统,因此倍受崇敬。刘博士在他的演讲中说,新加坡人表面自豪,内心却自卑,因为国人通常认为自己国家小,历史短,文化底蕴不深厚。其实,刘博士认为新加坡的历史不只是建国的五十四年,开埠的两百年,而可以追溯到七百年前。我们应该改变对自身历史渊源的认识,增强国人的自信心与自豪感。此外,语言与文化是人类思维深度的根源,国人应进一步提升华语水平,从而汲取丰富的华族文化精髓, 提升对中华历史文化的认知,确立思维深度,创造国际高度认可的成就,以提升新加坡的世界地位,同时维护新加坡独特的文化元素。

       王润华教授一生从事大学华文的教学与研究工作,积极推动东南亚华文文学的发展。他认为,随着郑和登陆马六甲,中国人在马来半岛落地生根,并与马来族与马来文化融合,繁衍出土生华人文化,从而产生出新的华人与文化现象。华族文化在东南亚的落地生根,也使东南亚,尤其是马六甲、新加坡成为东西方文化交流的重要节点。由于土生华人最早接受英文教育,华族文化经典因此最早在新马被译成英文,而中国历史上的一些重要事件,如太平天国、辛亥革命等的思想火种也是在新马由西方著作译成华文并传播到中国大陆。

       总结时,两位嘉宾不约而同地认为,虽然中国与世界日益接轨,世界格局在不断嬗变,但新加坡也不必担心丧失东西方桥梁的角色。若新加坡持续保持自己的多元文化特色并将之臻于完美,就不必担心新加坡失去引领的地位。

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