Hills make a better scene, when some Clouds gather
The Hills an artwork then become, when the Clouds scatter

Dear Colleagues,

The new semester has started, though at an unusual time. I am sure everyone is concerned about the situation in Hong Kong and is worried about the next generation.

When I took over the CityU presidency 11 years ago, Dr Leong Che-hung proposed the Elder Academy, an idea I supported immediately. On 22 August, we celebrated the Academy’s 10th anniversary which was attended by about 200 people.

At the anniversary ceremony, I delivered a talk quoting a verse written in the Yuan dynasty to describe today’s situation in Hong Kong, especially the relationship between young people and elders:

Hills make a better scene, when some Clouds gather.
The Hills an artwork then become, when the Clouds scatter.
Thus amidst the Clouds, the Hills change their light.
Thus around the Hills, the Clouds gain their height.

The hills change its look because of the clouds, sometimes like a picture and other times like a poem. Because the hills exist, we sometimes sense high clouds and other times low clouds. The interdependence of the clouds and hills creates attractive scenery. This verse echoes the purpose behind the Elder Academy, through which senior citizens attend courses alongside CityU undergraduates. The elders share their valuable life experiences and wisdom and are inspired by the students. The youths in turn learn from their elders. Whether clouds or hills, everyone learns from each other.

In today’s Hong Kong, people of different ideologies and backgrounds insist on their own views. In America, where I lived for a very long time, the clouds and hills are linked on an equal basis. Equality is what both clouds and hills rely on and they take matters on their merits. Even if both sides harbour different views, they respect each other and compromise for the good of society.

That is exactly my target for CityU — to provide a safe and friendly environment in which students learn and grow. To achieve this, we need our community to uphold the spirit of harmony and caring. While on this point, I would like to thank colleagues in the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and related colleagues for the timely assistance they offer staff and students.

At the ceremony, I concluded that life is imperfect but added that imperfection has its own beauty. Please be civilised, reject violence, and join hands to find the best solution for the well-being of society.

Way Kuo
President and University Distinguished Professor