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FS' speech at gathering with HK community in Singapore and launching ceremony of ASEAN Internship for University Students of Hong Kong Scheme (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the gathering with members of the Hong Kong community in Singapore and launching ceremony of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Internship for University Students of Hong Kong Scheme today (July 31):

Director Fong (Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore, Mr Fong Ngai), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening.

     It is my great pleasure to join you all at this gathering with the Hong Kong community in Singapore and to celebrate at the same time the launching ceremony of the ASEAN Internship Scheme for University Students of Hong Kong in this lovely summer evening. Here in Singapore, this lovely summer evening seems to last all year long.

     But what strikes me particularly is not Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", but John Donne's "Meditation XVII", from which his famous quote "No one is an island, entire of itself" finds its origin.

     In the era of globalisation, it is equally true, if not even more so, that no economy can grow in isolation from each other. International division of labour suggests that no product can be made entirely in any single one economy any more. Companies with complementary strengths based in different economies would partner with one another to provide competitive products and services of value.

     For young professionals, the new modality means that your ability to adapt to the languages, cultures and practices in different economies would be an essential asset, and often a differentiating quality, for your career advancement.

     The ASEAN internship scheme for university students of Hong Kong initiated by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore is yet another example of the Hong Kong Government's commitment to nurture young talents and to better prepare them for the increasingly globalised world. This internship scheme provides students with exposure to ASEAN, 10 economies of great diversity in language, culture, religion, economic strength as well as political system.

     With a total population of some 600 million consumers, ASEAN is Hong Kong's second largest trading partner, with annual bilateral trade in goods amounting to some US$100 billion. It is also a major market of Hong Kong business and professional services as well as a key destination of our outbound investments. These relationships naturally create abundant opportunities for our young people.

     It is encouraging to learn that, in this first year of the internship programme, more than 50 organisations in the ASEAN economies, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, are offering over 150 internship places. Some 90 Hong Kong students have taken up internship in the seven ASEAN economies under the scheme this summer.

     I am glad to meet some of you tonight. I am sure that you will not only have a meaningful internship, but also a lasting relationship with your host economies and new friends. I hope that you would continue to maintain and nurture this very special friendship for the years to come.

     I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the host organisations for your generosity in offering the life-changing and eye-opening opportunities for our students from Hong Kong. We appreciate very much the time and resources that you have so kindly contributed to expanding the perspectives of our students. We are also grateful to the Hong Kong community here tonight which has through your network publicised the scheme, and of course the participating Hong Kong tertiary institutions for their dedication and support.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, July 31, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:25


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