Following is the speech (English only) by the acting Financial Secretary, Mr Frederick Ma, at the Opening Ceremony of the 36th Joint School Science Exhibition today (August 13):
Distinguished guests, young scientists, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. It is my honour to be here today, in the company of bright young scientists from Hong Kong and overseas at this Opening Ceremony of the 36th Joint School Science Exhibition.
I remember that in my school days which was sometime ago, the Joint School Science Exhibition was the prominent joint school event of the year. This prestigious event has indeed grown from strength to strength and today, it remains the exhibition for young scientists in Hong Kong. The occasion has provided an invaluable opportunity for secondary school students both in Hong Kong and from overseas to realize their dreams, share their discoveries and innovative ideas. I extend my warmest congratulations to the Joint School Science Exhibition Preparation Committee, as well as all participants in this meaningful event. Your dedication and hard work in organizing this Exhibition is very impressive and set a good example for other youngsters to follow.
The theme of this year's exhibition, 'City Charm' is most appropriate. In this post-SARS era, it is timely and encouraging to see our young people making good use of their scientific knowledge to explore how to improve our environment and how cities can display their full charm.
Young people are our valuable assets, for they hold the key to our future. More so than ever in these challenging times when Hong Kong is going through economic restructuring. This is not a painless process, I am afraid. The tasks facing our young people may appear to be tall, our expectations on them are high. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that our young people are well placed to rise up to the challenges. I venture to share with you my views today on the three important elements that would serve young people well, I would call them the three 'C's: courage, creativity and commitment.
By courage, I mean having the courage to be different, to make changes and not to be content with the things as they are. Such initiatives and drives are necessary ingredients for progress and improvements. Being scientists, I am sure you can well appreciate the importance of having the courage to bring new ideas to the test and to look at things from different perspectives. The courage of our predecessors to seek changes have brought us advanced technology and opened new horizons. While we are all enjoying the fruits of courage, I urge all young scientists here today to be bold in seeking changes and not to be afraid to think differently. We should never be timid and bound by conventional approaches in solving problems.
Whilst courage is important, creativity carries equal, if not more, weight. Working hard brings us success, working smart doubles the benefits. However, creativity is something that cannot be imposed upon: it can only be encouraged and nurtured. Conducting scientific research, exploring means to apply science into practice as in what you are doing today, are good means of nurturing and sharpening your creativity. In organizing and participating in this Joint School event, you would no doubt have further developed your creativity, not only in terms of scientific research but in terms of time and resource allocation. I am sure it is not always easy to balance the demands of school work with extra curricular activities.
Probably the third C, commitment, requires little elaboration. It is the cardinal element to success. For without commitment and perseverance, one cannot go far.
Confidence, creativity and commitment would serve young people well. In the same token, these three elements are essential to Hong Kong's continued success. In this period of economic transformation, we all need to be bold in rising up to the challenges, innovative in our approach and firm on our mission.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am most delighted to have the chance to meet so many young and aspiring scientists both from Hong Kong and overseas. You are no doubt very anxious to share your innovative ideas and research findings with other participants and visitors. Today's Exhibition is a memorable event for all of you and I must congratulate all of you once again on your success. Your achievement today is the testimony that with courage, creativity and commitment, one's dreams can be readily realized. I am proud of all of you.
End/Wednesday, August 13, 2003