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Speech by Chief Secretary (English only)


The following is the speech by Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, at the gala dinner in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong this (June 2) evening:

Professor Li, Professor Chung, Honorable Guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here with you in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Faculty of Medicine. It is a rare privilege to be in the good company of so many distinguished scholars and medical professionals. Apart from sharing your joy on this auspicious occasion, may I suggest that I also expect some free medical advice this evening!

I think no one would dispute it if I say that it is remarkable achievement for a faculty founded with only 60 students to have nurtured more than 2 300 medical professionals in just two decades. The birth of the Faculty of Medicine coincided with the phenomenal breakthrough in biomedical sciences, with exciting developments in genetic engineering, DNA mapping and cancer research one following the other. Looking ahead, technological advancement will continue to present enormous challenges and opportunities to medical researchers. At the same time, practitioners and researchers have to face up to a whole host of dicey ethical choices. It is thus all the more important that we have a pool of scholars who have not only the intelligence of the mind to solve medical problems, but the wisdom and kindness of the soul to serve the long-term interest of Mankind.

Against such a background, I know that the Medical Faculty does not look upon itself merely as an education institute striving for excellence in teaching. It also aspires to be a pioneer both in Hong Kong and in the region in the development and application of cutting-edge medical technology. More than that, the Faculty also reaches out to the wider community to which it belongs and serves. Building on the fine tradition of the Faculty, its alumni association has established an extensive network of dedicated and caring medical professionals to provide direct service through a series of health talks and public symposia.

Your excellent example has provided us with some useful pointers for success. First, we must keep abreast with the latest and the best technology and knowledge. Second, we must persevere amidst strong competition, for hard work will always bear fruit in the long term. Third, and more important in my view, we should accumulate knowledge and skills not just for the sake of building up personal fame and wealth, but for reaching out to those in need with a caring heart.

I believe this success recipe is also applicable to Hong Kong as a whole. Hong Kong aspires to be the leading technology and financial centre and a preferred destination for leisure and business visitors. To realise our vision, we must strive to become and remain the best, retain and sharpen our competitive edge, and reach out to the increasingly integrated global village. In the process, Hong Kong has only one source of strength on which to rely: a well educated and healthy community. That explains our heavy investment in the health and education sectors, and our ceaseless efforts in reforms and improvements in these two important areas.

The community looks upon the higher education sector as the cradle of talents. Your quest to nurture a new generation of intelligent, creative and responsible young people is in itself a never-ending challenge. In Hong Kong, the Government supports the progressive expansion in post-secondary education opportunities, with enhanced flexibility and choice for students. We encourage universities to establish strategic alliances with distinguished tertiary institutions elsewhere, and attach higher priority to top-end research in various fields, including medical science.

Put in very simple terms, we hope to develop Hong Kong into a learning society. While the life expectancy rate of Hong Kong's people has improved consistently thanks to medical advancement, the shelf life of our knowledge is growing remarkably short. We must keep updating and upgrading ourselves in order to retain our place in the queue. In this respect, the Faculty of Medicine has spared no efforts in promoting lifelong learning for the profession.

To maintain a healthy community, I hope all of you would share my view that we need a sustainable health care system. By that I mean a system that does more than curing and providing remedies. We need one that prevents disease, promotes health, and provides lifelong holistic care to our people, whether rich or poor.

The formula for achieving this is of course a lot more complicated than "eating an apple a day". And we are far from keeping the doctor away. Quite the contrary, the role of the medical professionals will become even more important, and so will that of the Medical Faculty. As I see it, the Faculty's role in our health reforms is two-fold. First and foremost, you provide a steady supply of qualified and committed health care professionals to deliver quality medical services. Second, you keep up with and contribute to the rapid advances in medical knowledge and technology. We in the Government are committed to upgrading the hardware of the education and health care systems. But at the end of the day, it is the software - the people - that makes the system work. And you are where the people with the right talent and commitment to our community come from.

May I take this opportunity to congratulate the Faculty on your proud achievements over the past two decades. I thank all members of the Faculty, past and present, for your valuable contributions to maintaining academic excellence and grooming the talents who help keep our community healthy. You have truly led by example. I wish you many more years of success and dreams come true.

Thank you.

End/Saturday, June 2, 2001


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