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SHA's speech at Graduation Day of Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, at the Graduation Day of Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College today (May 15):

Mr Tuet, Mr Ha, Ms Ho, distinguished guests, teachers, parents and students,

     It gives me great pleasure to join you this afternoon to share with this year's graduates this important moment of their lives. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warm congratulations to all graduates, and my best wishes for your continuous success in the years ahead.

     Graduation is rightly a cause for celebration. Completing your college education is a significant milestone. Graduates may recall that when you first entered the college you were just a kid, and now look at yourselves. You are energetic young people ready to fulfil your aspirations and face challenges. Whatever paths you are going to take, you are the future of our society.

     Your education in this college has helped to prepare you to become independent and responsible members of the community. This education has not only provided you with useful knowledge, but also instilled in you a precious set of values. The importance of setting values in your lives must not be underestimated.

     It is our values that encourage us to look beyond individual tasks and short-term achievements, to chart our way forward with a vision. Our credentials and portfolios may testify to our hard work and help us win out in competitions, but only our values could define who we really are and be the guiding light for our continuous development in the longer term.

     The pursuit of values is a long journey in life. I would like to suggest three questions for you to keep in mind as you venture forward in life.

     The first question is, "Why?" It would be worthwhile to ask ourselves this question from time to time, to self-reflect on where you are heading, and why you are always attached to a certain pursuit or a certain activity. Attachment is a relative to passion - it is passion deep in your heart that makes you persistent. Be sensitive to your interests and your passion, and find out the morals in them. Ask yourself what is the good in them.

     One of my tasks as Secretary for Home Affairs is the promotion of social enterprises. There is an annual Hong Kong Social Enterprise Award organised by the Chinese University of Hong Kong with the sponsorship of my bureau. At this annual event, I am impressed by the commitment of young people to using original ideas to solve different sorts of social problems they have identified. Take WEDO Global as an example. It is a social enterprise driven by the passion for cultural exchanges among young people for a better understanding of less privileged areas and the cultures of the ethnic minorities. It won a Grand Award in the recent Social Venture Competition Asia held in Korea in February. I think these young people have responded well to their question.

     The second question is, "Why not?" It is now almost a cliché for innovation and creativity. Getting out of our comfort zone is not always easy, but it can be rewarding if we exercise critical thinking and break out from established constraints. Both the Chinese and Islamic cultures face the challenges of tradition and modernisation, of continuity and change, inheritance and innovation. Answering with "Why not?" may open up new horizons. So long as we manage to steer ourselves in a right direction, this can lead us to a brighter future.

     The third question is, "Why not the others?" This is about sharing and compassion. Economic integration and advancements in communication technologies have broken down old barriers, bringing people and economies closer together. On the other hand, these also expose us to a plurality of views with expectations of faster responses. This calls for greater respect for diversity and tolerance. We need to remind ourselves to appreciate the value of different perspectives. We also need to constantly think of the impact of our actions on others. And most importantly, we should all aspire to be enablers and consider if and how we could create greater benefits for all by assisting others to do their parts.

     Various youth programmes under the Home Affairs Bureau provide the platforms for participation and sharing. Through participation in exchange programmes and voluntary service, as well as in art and sport, young people have direct experience in meeting people from different backgrounds and in serving the community. These offer valuable opportunities to challenge our preconceptions, realise what it takes to make things happen and appreciate diversity. I invite you to join our programmes in future.

     I am most pleased to note that the same spirit of openness and diversity is rooted in Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College. As the only Islamic secondary school in Hong Kong, the school has been devoted to grooming the younger generation with a strong appreciation of the values of respect, filial piety, care for others and collaboration. By offering a wide range of learning experiences, the school management has made commendable efforts in enabling appreciation of our own culture and those of others and the contributions we could all make to the betterment of society. I also appreciate the dedication of the Chinese Muslim Cultural and Fraternal Association for educating the young.

     For the principal, the teachers and the parents, I thank you for the boundless love and untiring efforts in supporting and guiding these young people as the potential leaders of Hong Kong in future. This is a day of harvest for you all. My best wishes for the school's continued success in the coming years.

     Thank you.

Ends/Friday, May 15, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:23


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