Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hear Prof Wang Gungwu Speak

As part of Sunway University College Distinguished Speakers' Series, Professor Wang Gungwu will be speaking on: Understanding China's Present Economic Transformation. The details are as follows:
Date: 15 February 2006
Time: 1700 hrs
Venue: Lecture Theatre 6, 4th Floor, Sunway University College
Admission is Free.
Due to limited seats, booking is encouraged. Contact Marilyn/Jacqueline @ +603 7491 8622 ext 8141/8172.

Because China's rapid economic growth continues to amaze the world, some of us may forget that China took 1.5 century (from the Opium War onwards) to get her economic act together. Wang Gungwu, Asia's eminent China scholar, will look at China's Long March toward the market economy, how and why it was adopted and the vast energies it has unleashed. He will also discuss the problems that rapid growth has created and the challenges facing China as she moves into the 21st century.

Professor Wang Gungwu is currently the Director of East Asian Institute & Professor at Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences in the National University of Singapore. Professor Wang's impeccable credentials include a PhD from London University, Professor of History at Universiti Malaya, Far Eastern History at Australian National University, Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford University as well as Vice-Chancellor of University of Hong Kong.

Professor Wang is often one of the losses of Malaysia's academia who we always talked about. I'm not sure if he is still a Malaysian today. Maybe someone should ask him if he is interested in the postion as the vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaya. :-)


Anonymous said...

Tony, why don't you ask him?

Anonymous said...

Under the current scenario, I don't think appointing Wang GW or even a Nobel laureate would make any difference to UM’s or any of our public university’s academic decline. The academic rot is so deep that unless Wang GW is given the authority to do a big spring cleaning or overhaul (like sacking all deadwoods and unqualified staff, including incompetent Deputy VCs, Deans, Heads of Department, Professors, Registrar, etc.) and replacing them with competent people, irrespective of race and nationality, nothing much can be done to improve the standard of our public universities. This is not a one-man show but requires the will power and support of the political masters. Anyway, I don’t think the current political masters are prepared to go this far. So, the rot continues.

That’s why at the moment the best bet to have a top university in Malaysia is to set up a private university that practices true meritocracy, transparency, and accountability. Have a clear academic goal and grow slowly. Employ administrative staff and academics of excellent track record and with great vision and passion. Pay them good salaries. Study the model of SMU, Singapore. Once the university proves its worth in teaching and research, as well as being fair and having a great academic culture, I’m sure many eminent Malaysians working overseas would love to contribute to the growth of this university.

It’s a great pity UTAR is in a hurry to play the number game rather than the quality game. If only UTAR has a good vision, it could have the support of many eminent people to become a truly top university by 2020, instead of becoming just another university in Malaysia mass producing graduates (hopefully not the unemployable type).

So, is there any visionary who has a deep pocket to start a Harvard-like university in Malaysia?

Anonymous said...

A lot people don't know that
"affirmative action" which discriminate non-Malay was the part of reason Prof. Wang left UM in 1960s.

From this history context, I don't think Prof. Wang would interested in the VC position of Universiti Malaya since the situation today is much worse than 1960's.

Beside that, every one will agree in the next 10 year there will still malay and male dominant in the all IPTA VC post.

Sorry No HOPE for Non-Malay as IPTA VC in next 10 year:(
that what i predict, anyone want to bet:)

Anonymous said...

To the question if Prof. Wang gungwu is still a Malaysian citizen -- he has long been an Australian citizen. As Malaysia does not recognize dual citizenship, Malaysia is at a great loss. Prof. Wang should also be known as a co-founder of the GERAKAN party in 1969 - his political contribution to Malaysia.

I have the privilege to have met and spoken with him in mid-90s in Malaysia. F.Y.