Chinese Education Must Transform Over Time

Chinese Education Festival 2015 and 30th Anniversary of LLG Cultural Development Centre The Luncheon for “Bracing 30 years of storm” 13,December,2015

Speech of the Chairman of the Working Committee, Mr Sim Tack Hwa

Dear family members of the late Mr Lim Lian Geok, leaders of Chinese guilds and associations, representatives of Chinese schools, leaders of political parties, members of various organizations and prominent members of society, Ladies and Gentlemen –a  very good afternoon to you all!

First of all I would like to welcome warmly all of you to this luncheon. I cannot thank you enough for your support, without which the celebration for the ‘Bracing 30 years of storm’ and all activities associated with this auspicious occasion cannot be carried out smoothly.

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You have made great contributions one way or another: you have helped us financially and also contributed in terms of manpower and resources. Therefore, on behalf of the Working Committee it is my pleasure and honour to express our heartfelt thanks to all of you – leaders and members of society who have generously contributed financially. Thanks are also due to individuals, associations and other bodies that had purchased or otherwise helped push the sales of the luncheon tickets.

I must not forget to thank also our artistes who have put out excellent performances on stage. Their performances have not only been highly entertaining and captivating, but are a constant reminder to us about the historical significance and cultural values implicitly contained in Chinese Education. The significance of this year’s Chinese Education Day is threefold: it is the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the LLG Development Centre and the 30th Anniversary of the passing of Mr Lim Lian Geok. And this year the theme for the Chinese Education Day is ‘Bracing 30 years of storm’. Now Confucius had said, “A person at age 30 is an established being’. So this occasion marks an important milestone in the history of the LLG Cultural Development Centre. It is time for the established centre to consolidate its strengths and to address and face the challenges of the next phase of its development.

We are all too aware that the development of Chinese Education in this nation has not been an easy journey. Over the last 200 years of turbulence some had made personal, individual sacrifices while various bodies and organizations had contributed collectively to the advancement of Chinese Education.  These deeds and actions are a manifestation of the pioneering spirits of our Chinese forebears in their perseverance regarding national culture. While it is true that the current situation is very different from that of 200 years ago, the spirit and perseverance towards mother-tongue, culture and history are immutable and timeless.

From ancient Chinese classical texts one could glean the wisdom contained therein. A nation might have a long history yet it could remain a dynamic and ‘new’ nation in that it does not allow itself to be constrained by old traditions and practices. Likewise, the modern member of the present Chinese society must appreciate and adopt the wisdom of the ancients by ‘moving with the times’. In other words, changes and innovations are the only solutions to all our future problems. This too, I think, represents also the spirit of Chinese Education. This means to say while we must never renege on our avowed stand to safeguard our culture and history, we can be flexible in that our methodologies must move in tandem with the times. This way, we would be able to fence off challenges and at the same time uncover the true gist of traditional culture and its vibrancy.

Nevertheless, it is indeed true that people of a particular era could only function in ways appropriate to that era – though it is also true that changes and transformations in society and culture can only be brought about by the younger generation. We, being members of the present generation, should of course play our respective roles in contributing to Chinese education. We have crossed many paths and overcome various hurdles: our primary goal is to fight for systemic, equal treatment. And we hope that our future generation will be able to take Chinese education out of the doldrums so that Chinese education in Malaysia will be able to develop freely and independently.

Before I conclude my speech, allow me to quote from another ancient Chinese scholar from the Northern Song Dynasty. He says a great man should adopt a life-long purpose of helping to achieve a better world, show great concern for the livelihood of the people and to seek knowledge from afar – all for the goal of achieving eternal peace and prosperity. His saying, I reckon, summarizes my idealized vision for the future of Chinese Education in Malaysia.

It is with these words that I end my speech and I humbly hope all of us here shall endeavour to reflect on them so as to better contribute to Chinese Education.

Thank you all!

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