university education

An old interview of someone at Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. about the importance of learning logic in university.

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伍錦康:大學課程重在鍛煉思考

http://eduplus.com.hk/eduguide/ep2_issue.jsp?articleID=435&issueNumber=48

伍錦康是機械工程師,在倫敦大學獲得碩士及博士學位,在新加坡建立發電廠後,回港加入中華電力工作,負責青山發電廠和大亞灣發電廠的設計工作。97年55歲的伍錦康,從工程師工作退下,回歸家族生意八珍國際有限公司,賣起「份外香」的甜醋及醬料。

大學讀甚麼科目其實並不重要,旨在訓練思考、運用腦筋。積累下來的經驗,其實放諸不同行業的管理皆可。」

李嘉誠+思考方法 (文匯報)

I am not a fan of Mr. Li, but this is good advice (other than the part about not reading fiction).

李嘉誠最近接受《朝鮮日報》記者採訪時說, … 他閒暇時主要是暢想未來,實際上工作時間的90%以上,是考慮並準備明年或者是5年、10年後的事情。李嘉誠續稱:「首先是努力工作,堅毅不拔。但只有這些還不夠,更重要的是知識,尤其要掌握自己從事的領域最超前的知識;要掌握越過現在今後自己的事業會怎樣發展的知識,這是必需的;第3是以正直和信譽,樹立對自己的好的口碑。」李嘉誠說的知識,不是單純的技術或碩士、博士學位,而是指「更廣泛的目標和批判的思維能力、追求建設性進步的邏輯歸納」。…「我讀書不分人文社會和歷史、經濟、科學等各個領域的書,只有小說除外。老了以後,還時常讀讀宗教方面的書。有時甚至讀到凌晨3點。」

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《信報》2006.04.13 孔少林

 如果外星人訪地球,研究我們的閱讀習慣,一定不明白為何香港人的讀書風氣這樣低。表面看,香港人有很多先天優勢,例如有九年免費教育,雖然電視台來來去去只有那些低水平節目,但印刷媒體十分發達,就算經過多年淘汰,報紙和雜誌的數目仍然不少。還有,我們每天在交通車程須花上一兩個小時,閱讀是最佳消磨時間的方法;正因為這個特色,令免費報紙取得空前成功。縱使如此,在車上找周公、聽音樂或只是發呆的人還是佔大多數,莫說《哈利波特》或《達文西密碼》不多見,連壹仔、東周都已經算是知識分子讀物。

  無論是學打高爾夫球、聽古典音樂或閱讀,上手前必會經歷一段沉悶、漫長的學習期。這些興趣從小培養會事半功倍,因為小孩子較有耐性和精力(或者被成年人逼)去捱過這學習期。我很喜歡看書,但近年也發現集中力已大不如前,看題材略為嚴肅一點的書不過一兩小時,便會「釣魚」。小時候不愛看書的人,長大了就連《忽然一周》也嫌有太多字,看不到兩三頁,或者只看插圖和標題。

  香港人閱讀風氣不振,絕對是填鴨式教育的後遺症。小朋友從幼兒院開始被迫背誦默寫味同嚼蠟的文章,上小學後便每晚做功課,每兩周測驗,課餘時間就給父母送去游泳班和樂器班,餘下時間則以父母為榜樣,專注看電視;在這種環境下成長,還會有興趣閱讀課外書實在是奇迹。沒有閱讀興趣,長大後終身學習的能力便喪失了大半,又怎能在變化速度日高的社會上立足?

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《信報》曹仁超 – 投資者日記

大學畢業不等於事業無憂

  今春巴黎唔再浪漫,法國年輕人唔再上大學,而係喺大學內示威,理由係政府通過法例,二十六歲以下年輕人在首兩年內隨時可以被炒,目的係協助年輕人就業(二十六歲以下失業率超過20%),但年輕人唔領情,加上工會支持,因此到處都係示威,就嚟拍得住香港呢個示威之都矣!今天年輕人就業問題已全球化,教育愈普及,國家問題愈多,因為年輕人喺大學內以「反叛」去突出自己嘅獨特性格,返工令人感覺老套,示威才令人感覺年輕;工作係為興趣,因此不能沉悶、不能奴役、不能垃圾「garbage job」,每份工作都必須有挑戰性、有前途、有嘢學。

  過去年輕人嚟《信報》見工之時,佢地通常問加入《信報》有冇嘢學?我老曹十分奇怪,公司點解畀你萬幾元一個月去教你嘢?當然你曉偷師係你好嘢。年輕人必須知道,今天大學生已唔代表乜嘢,再冇高薪厚職等住你去做,公司請你,通常係畀三個月試用期你去證明你對公司有用,唔係每個月畀你萬多元去教你嘢!我地唔係大學,只係商業機構!如你無法達到公司要求就係咁先大拜拜,毋須政府立法。所以話,福利制度害人,法國又係另一例子。

  大部分中產家庭都希望送自己子女上大學。今天如果你希望子女有份似樣D嘅白領工作,大學畢業係必要條件。但事業成功與否,又同係咪上大學無關,而係你子女嘅IQ、家庭背景、野心等決定。子曰:「一命、二運、三風水、四積陰德、五讀書,讀書排到第五(當然如你要成為建築師必須上大學,你要做醫生亦必須上大學)。我老曹嘅朋友之中,未讀過大學而事業成功者唔少,亦有唔少朋友大學畢業卻一世打工,唔見得特別出色。

  上大學可以建立人際關係(同學間日後可互相幫助),大學亦為你提供校園關係,例如成為某某大學同學會嘅會員。如果只為求知識,去圖書館或上網搵可能更快更多。讀大學時,講師會話你知幾時考試,你可事前準備,但現實社會卻唔會;例如亞洲金融風暴話嚟就嚟,唔會事先告訴你。大學有講師、教授等指導你,現實社會不但冇人幫你,反而有人想害你。考入大學困難,但畢業容易;現實社會卻係入行容易,要做得出色卻困難。

  如果你嘅子女已考入大學,恭喜你,叫你嘅子女好好享受大學生活,但以為從此事業方面無憂便錯晒,因為現實社會同大學生活完全係兩回事。如果你嘅子女入不了大學,亦恭喜你,早點讓你嘅子女體驗真實社會,講唔埋佢因為IQ高、野心大,成為另一個李超人!

[信報 2006.03.27]

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How to give presentations

Some good advice about giving presentations from Terry Teachout.

(1) Don’t read too much. No matter how good your book is, you don’t want to spend all your time reading from it. You also need to make direct contact with your listeners, which is harder to do when you’re reading out loud from a text written for the eye, not the ear. If you’ve been asked to perform for thirty minutes, speak for ten, read for just short of twenty, then deliver a prepared coda at the end of the excerpt from the book.

(2) Write your speech out word for word. If you’re an experienced public speaker accustomed to working from sketchy notes, fine. If you know you can wing it like a virtuoso, more power to you—but in either case, you wouldn’t be asking for tips from me. If you’re anybody else, write the speech out word for word, then practice reading it aloud until your delivery sounds natural and conversational. (See below for instructions.) Otherwise, you’ll get lost in a thicket of likes and you knows and ers and ahs—and you’ll talk too long.

Which brings us to

(3) Time the speech exactly. Do not under any circumstances exceed your allotted time. In fact,

(4) Never speak for as long as you’re asked. In my experience, thirty minutes is ideal, especially if you’re new at this. Go on for much longer and people will start to squirm, which is contagious. If you’re asked to speak for forty-five minutes (including the reading), hold it to a half-hour, then go straight to questions from the audience. You don’t have to ask permission from the presenter!

(5) Choose a fairly self-contained excerpt from the book. It doesn’t have to begin or end neatly—you can set up the excerpt as needed in your introductory remarks—but do take care that what you read will be intelligible to those who haven’t already read the book. (Don’t be afraid to leave ’em hanging at the end!)

(6) Don’t read from a printed copy of the book. Not only does it look awkward, even unprofessional, but too many things can go wrong (i.e., dropping the book and losing your place). Instead, I printed out my speech and reading text in a single manuscript set in large, bold type, big enough that I could read it without my glasses if need be.

(7) Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Read the speech and the book excerpt aloud, at least twice and preferably in front of somebody else. Then pay close attention to what they tell you.

(8) Strive for vocal emphasis and variety. Most authors are ineffective in front of an audience because their delivery is dull. The goal is to sound like you’re talking informally, not lecturing (and that includes whatever passages you choose to read from the book itself). Each sentence should have its own point of emphasis. Find it and mark it in your manuscript. Don’t trust your memory—underline key words, or highlight them in boldface. And be sure to keep your energy level high. If you don’t sound excited, your listeners won’t feel excited.

(9) When you can, look at the audience. You don’t have to look at them all the time, though. If you’ve done what I told you to do in (8), your oral delivery will be sufficiently varied that you can hold the audience’s attention without making constant eye contact. Still, do try to look up from your speech at least once on every page. The more direct contact you make, the more books you’ll sell.

(10) After you’ve read the speech out loud, change it. A speech is written to be spoken. The point of reading it out loud in advance of the performance is to discover what sits naturally on your tongue and what doesn’t. Remember that the audience isn’t following a printed copy. They must understand every word you say. Whenever you stumble over a word or have difficulty picking your way through an over-complicated phrase, change it.

While you’re at it, don’t hesitate to change the text of the book excerpt if you find you have similar problems reading any part of it out loud. Your listeners won’t know the difference. (You can also make cuts without telling them.)

(11) Start with something funny. I know, it’s the biggest cliché in the world, but it really does loosen up the audience—and you, too, which is at least as important.

(12) When quoting someone else for more than a phrase or two, hold up a page of the printed speech and "read" from it. This is a visual aid intended to make it obvious to your listeners that you’re not reading your own words. It’s amazing how this will increase audience comprehension.

(13) If at all possible, e-mail copies of your speech to the various presenters before leaving town. This isn’t so they can review it and ask for changes—it’s to ensure that there’ll be a copy of the speech on hand in case you lose, misplace, or forget yours. (That happened to me once, in Philadelphia. Don’t ask.)

(14) Before you leave town, double-check your printed copy of the manuscript. Make sure it contains each numbered page and that the pages are in the correct order. Do the same thing before you leave your hotel room to go to the place where you’re speaking. Do it every time. The one time you forget to do it is the time that pages 16 and 22 will be switched, thus causing you to crash and burn.

(15) Arrive early enough for a soundcheck. Don’t trust the presenter. Make sure there’s a podium (yes, it’s happened to me), that it’s deep and wide enough to hold your manuscript, that the sound system works, that the microphone can be raised to an adequate height, and that there’s a glass of water—without ice—within easy reach.

(16) Never apologize for being nervous. The only time you should do this is if you are visibly nervous, in which case a self-deprecating remark will help to put the crowd on your side—but only do it once.

(17) Never apologize for stumbling over a word. Correct it, then move on.

(18) Make sure the audience knows when you’re through. You don’t have to say "thank you." Just pause, then lower your head. That way they’ll start clapping.

(19) Be sure to allow enough time for questions. If the presenter doesn’t oblige, take matters into your own hands. Audiences love to ask questions (except for students—they usually clam up tight, especially in a classroom setting).

(20) Be polite with hecklers—but be firm. If you’re polite, the audience will back you all the way. That gives you permission to be as firm as necessary. Point out that other people also have questions to ask. If you run afoul of an obsessive, over-persistent questioner, politely suggest that he speak to you privately afterward, then go straight to the next question.

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