Following is the remarks (English only) addressed by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, to the students during his visit to the Summer English Camps 2001 at Wu Kwai Sha Youth Village in Ma On Shan this (July 5) morning:
The Chief Secretary: What I usually start whatever I say is "ladies and gentlemen", I think that's not appropriate and not right on this occasion. I am very happy, very very happy to meet you all boys and girls. And when I'm here, you make me feel young. You make me feel energetic. You make me feel youthful again. That I'm seeing you, as I see the next generation of Hong Kong : bright, anxious, happy, but want to know more, and want to learn more. And it's why I'm glad that there are very well motivated teachers who organise camps of this kind for you to meet other people in this concrete jungle of our society. And you have one very meaningful thing, you come here try to learn English, try to speak English, try to use that language more. Do you know why it's so important ? Hong Kong is a very small place. We are a little place in the big nation of China. But we are rather unique. Unique means we are very special. We are the only one in our nation which is a truly international city. A city would welcome foreigners to stay, would welcome other people to come and stay with us, share their experience with us, teach us new skills, and also to do trade with us.
Do you know how many foreigners live in Hong Kong, including some of your teachers here today ? There are half a million. Half a million expatriates, we call them, foreigners living in Hong Kong. And how can we make sure that we succeed ? We can only succeed as an international city if we are friendly to these people who stay with us, who have chosen to live in Hong Kong to be our friends, to make their life here, to live here and to do business here. And how can we be friendly to them ? We must be able to talk to them, speak to them, communicate with them, and that's the reason why English is so important.
English is spoken in all learned countries throughout the world these days. Wherever you go, whether it's North America, even in Continental Europe, even in France and Germany. Never mind Australia and New Zealand, they all speak English. In Malaysia, they all speak English. And we need that skill to make sure we can be friendly to the foreigners who do business here, and to help us to make Hong Kong prosperous, and make Hong Kong a very special city in our nation. And English is also important if you want to be a very successful and content and happy person because in order to be a successful person these days, you have to have what we call a life-long commitment. You need to learn all throughout you life, and the best language for learning is English.
I know it's not easy for all of you, or for some of you because it is a community made up largely of ethnic Chinese, Cantonese-speaking people. There are other things which attracted your attention. In my younger days, I had less attractions. We did not have television in those days. We did not even have telephone. I did not have telephone at my home and I did not have any record-players to listen to. Now all these things take away your attention. But that's not all that important. More important for you is to understand while you enjoy all the other things to do: watching television, playing with your computer. Even playing with the computer, you need to know English.
Playing with the computer or listening to your favorite records, it is important for you to learn English as well. And it is important for Hong Kong, particularly Hong Kong. We want to show other people that we know our people from our own country, whether they come from Canton, or from Shanghai, or from Xinjiang, that although we belong to one nation, we have something slightly better and special for them. May be our Chinese is not as good as theirs, may be our Putonghua is not as good as theirs, but our English could be better than theirs. And that is important. And I know learning English is not easy just like foreigners learning Cantonese. It is very difficult. And English comes in a variety of forms. The verbs change, the nouns change. Words that are exactly the same have different meanings. I have looked at a few examples. Left hand is left hand, and I left something means some completely different thing. I left my basketball at school and I have my left hand to move around and wave at you. And even the word wave, a wave can be something at the sea which moves up and down. Wave used as a verb means waving your hand. All are very complicated, very difficult.
But I can tell you and assure you it will come to you very naturally. If you join a camp like this, if you talk to your friends in English, if you'll listen more carefully, and most of all, read more books. I remember I learned most of my English in my secondary school. But I still remember that I learned more from reading by myself than learning in the classrooms. Learning going outside to retreat, to a gathering with other people than learning in the classroom. So, a camp like this is an excellent opportunity for you to learn the language and most of all to make friends. People of your own age from different schools are able to talk to each other. Learn about the skill of talking to people, communicating with people, learning about the tricks in English and be very good at it. And finally become very happy people at the end of the day. Not only be successful in life, successful in business, but very happy, content people. Because you are able to communicate, not only with our countrymen, but also with everybody else on Earth. Isn't that nice ?
Well it is very kind of you to have me today. I am very happy to be here, have a chance of going away from my office, able to meet young people like you. And I hope you'll have a lovely day here, a lovely day tomorrow and a lovely day the day after tomorrow, and I hope the typhoon would not hit you. May be the typhoon will hit after you have left the camp. I hope that it will give you excellent experience that you can go back to your school, tell your schoolmates how much you have enjoyed the camp here so that the younger schoolmates would wish they have applied to come here and share the same experience you have had. Thank you very much for having me here and I hope you a very happy time and hope you have a very successful life. Able to speak not only Putonghua, not only Cantonese, but also English.
Thank you very much.
End/Thursday, July 05, 2001