Chairman Li, Vice Minister Wei, Vice Minister Huang, Professor Yuan, Professor Ba, Director Zheng, Secretary Li, President Xu, Secretary Xie, university officers, faculty colleagues, distinguished guests and friends, graduating students:
Today is a happy day for me. I can still remember the distinctive scent of the fields on which our university now stands. It is so remarkable that today we gather here to witness the conferment of our first doctoral degrees. It fills me with an emotion that words cannot express. Twenty years is a long time. Time has no meaning should it be just a mere accumulation of days. Apprehension seems to exist that Shantou University is my lonely passion, therefore today, particularly today I must not forget to thank all of you friends and colleagues, past and present, for all the support you have given me. I want to repeat here what I have said before, Shantou University, you are my commitment and dedication that will carry beyond my lifetime.
I have always wanted to make a list of all the qualities which I find important, resolution, courage, honesty, trustworthiness, courtesy, perseverance, generosity, sympathy, fairness, integrity, insight, wisdom, respect, graciousness. it is suffocating isn’t it. Reciting them is tiring. We dwell in times of great perplexity and complexity, people say life is difficult for some and a puzzle for all. That is why we need all the coordinates to guide us. The art of living cannot be taught. We know best who we are and we are who we are. You have probably mapped out in greatest detail your ideal life, be they romantic, powerful and rewarding. We would all want our hearts to rule; how vapid life would be should it be subjected to the mandate of reason. Between the dynamics of the game theories we play everyday we are configuring and choosing our own future fate and destiny.
Education is a preparation for life yet we should know there is no virtue in knowledge except as you use them in the conduct. Freedom of choice is a great responsibility. The Spanish painter Goya in one of his etchings, “The sleep of reason produces monsters”, depicts the figure of a learned man, asleep over his book with scary nightmarish owls and bats covering him. Let us be careful and be alert, the mirror in which we gazed at ourselves need not show us as the most successful, the greatest, the most powerful, but it must not reflect us as the monster that we know we should detest.
Dear graduates, you have cause to celebrate today as you have accomplished something major in this phase of your life. Go and embrace your future boldly, resolve always to safeguard your pure and reflective mind, delight in and cherish the success of yourself and that of others, be compassionate to those in need. Our world is sustained by the individuals in it, the acts we perform, the decisions we take, will make a difference to whether we could live peacefully, responsibly and graciously together, in this world that we all share.
Thank you very much.