(27 June 2017, Shantou and Hong Kong) Mr Li Ka-shing, Honorary Chairman of the Shantou University Council, officiated at the Shantou University (STU) Commencement Ceremony this morning. Mr Li believes that now more than ever, students must be ready to do and to be in order to capture the exponential opportunities in the oncoming AI age.
Speaking at the Commencement Ceremony as the guest of honour, renowned novelist and Nobel Laureate Professor Mo Yan encouraged the graduates to aim high while staying pragmatic. Professor Mo quoted Napoleon Bonaparte saying, “Every French soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his knapsack.” He encouraged the graduates “to be daring enough to encounter challenges, like swallows weathering through storms, and fear nothing no matter how mammoth the difficulties.”
Professor Mo also urged the graduates to throw themselves into the fourth industrial revolution to fight vigorously and be champions and role models in their respective fields. He told the graduates to be people who do not see themselves as great but be regarded as great by those around them.
Addressing the graduates, Mr Li said if students want to be an “exponential” power surfer, they would need to develop the mindset of a deep thinker, the skillset of a speed understander as the foundation for “to do”. The willful blind will be the first to be disqualified because they turn “possibles into impossibles” and can’t see the wood for the trees. He cautioned those who only yearn to “win at the starting line” – by being born into family wealth or being gifted – your destiny is not guaranteed; even with you have everything, willful blindness can lead you to nothing.
Mr Li posited that the clear winners in life strive to give a meaningful account of why they do exist. The thrivers know that life is a skill based on discipline and practice precedes perfection. He took inspiration from the words of WB Yeats: “How can we know that dancer from the dance?” Students must prepare endlessly, struggle against fatigue and pain, to achieve masterful perfection for the transcendent “to be” moment on stage where the master reveals himself.
Mr Li quoted Wang Yang Ming “conscience is the true teacher of life “and said it is food for the soul. Mr Li added that “a mindful leader knows his limits but aspires to exceed them.” He urged the students to be “affective and driven, leap into the future with generosity and gratitude, with confidence and imagination. Live your life to its truest, in duty, in dignity and aspire a world of openness and change.”
In addition, Mr Li took his son Mr Richard Li – Director of the LKSF, on a tour of the campus, sharing with him his aspirations and thoughts on education and the reforms he wants to push in the future. They took a ride through the campus on a golf buggy.
About the Li Ka Shing Foundation
Established in 1980, the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) has four core imperatives: 1) empower people, 2) foster change, 3) develop a better society, and 4) inspire societal improvement. Mr. Li considers the Foundation to be his “third son” and has pledged one-third of his assets to it. To date, over HK$20 billion has been put to work to support all its initiatives across 27 countries and regions. Over 80% of LKSF’s donations benefit projects in the Greater China region.