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By Gaargi SHARMA (Alumni Civility Hall)

“A child will never say that his mother is ugly despite all the flaws in her looks; to him, his mother is the most beautiful woman in the world. Isn’t China our mother?” These words uttered by Dr. Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai touched the hearts of more than 100 students who were present in the 3rd Alumini Civility Dialogue series held in the Multi-Functional Hall A on 17 September 2009. This was initiated by Dr Cheung Chor-yung, Residence Master of Alumni Civility Hall.

rita   After the roaring success of the previous two dialogues conducted by distinguished personalities, the expectations of the students were quite high, and how Dr. Fan lived up to them! Dr. Fan, currently a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and a former President of the Legislative Council, spoke about “The Rise of China & University Students in Hong Kong. She consistently used colourful metaphors to associate  the title of ‘mother’ with China and spoke about the tremendous progress that had been made in the past 30 years. She spoke not only about political issues but also touched upon global warming and the world’s expectations of China.
The languages for the evening were Putonghua, Cantonese and English. This multilingual session opened the eyes of many students. Amy Henderson, an exchange student from Australia, remarked, “I am so glad that I attended her talk. I learnt so much about China in these three hours.” There were numerous young minds and innumerable questions. Dr Fan tried to address as many questions as possible in that short span. Her popularity amongst the students could be judged by the fact that everyone was on the edge of their seats waiting for an opportunity to grab the microphone!  

Her views were unbiased and objective. “I love my mother but I know that she is not perfect. She has some bad habits but we will get rid of them. We are trying”. Dr. Fan’s true words enabled the young eyes see the bright future of Hong Kong and China. The students cheered her and left the dialogue with a ray of hope in their eyes and big dreams for their ‘mother’.