South China University of Technology
School of International Education
Commencement Ceremony. Thursday, 10 September 2015.
Prof. An Ran, Dean of SIE, SCUT
Distinguished Professors, Deputy Deans, and Lecturers
Five generations ago, my ancestors left Guangdong to try their luck somewhere across the sea – a land they barely knew. They ended up staying and taking root in Indonesia, that we now call our homeland. For many generations, none of my grandparents nor parents have ever stepped their foot in China. So when a couple of months ago I found the information about a particular scholarship from the Chinese government I was thrilled. This is a great opportunity I wouldn’t want to miss.
I applied, and so here I am now. Along with you, both new students and returning students, and 26 who will be my classmates for the upcoming year, studying the High-Level MBA program. Some people have asked me: Why study MBA in Guangdong? Well, to that I’d answer: Why not? SCUT’s business program is venerable in the Guangdong province and Guangdong is a very special place for trade and business. Here’s the one place on earth that has been the starting point of the legendary maritime silk road, the place where global trade and international business had come to live since almost two thousand years ago, a place that since the Tang dynasty in the 7-10th century has become a significant trade hub with the Middle East and South East Asia. Where else on earth can you get that?
As we embark on this journey, I would like to convey my gratitude to the Chinese Scholarship Council – and doubtless that of my fellow scholarship recipients as well, of whom at least there are hundreds here in this room – of the very generous scholarships that have been granted to us. Our gratitude also to SCUT and its staff members who have helped us in the process of settling in in Guangzhou for this past week. Of these, I would like to especially thank Deputy Dean Yang, Luo Lz., Fang Lz., Mr. Jimson Liao, and Ms. Sophia Xiao for your kind assistance and support in the past days and months.
Our gratitude also to fellow SCUT students who have helped us settle in to our new life in Guangzhou in the past week. They are Mr. Arvin Yang, Ms. Ancya Zuo, Mr. Lincoln Huang, Ms. Sisi Liu, and Mr. Tofu Liufu. SCUT must be proud to have you as students here. You have done a great job.
Ladies & gentlemen:
Today in China we are celebrating teachers’ festival day. Hence I think it is very proper to especially take time to thank the teachers and professors here among us for their hard work, dedication, and patience in teaching us both in the years past and in the year ahead. Dear teachers and professors, we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Finally, to my fellow students:
Either you’re in undergraduate program or graduate program, I believe at this stage of life we’ve been very much familiar with the struggles and difficulties of learning. That’s why in the University of Oxford there’s a tradition that at the first day of exams, every student will put on a white carnation flower; on the following exam days, they will wear pink carnation flower; and at the very last of their exam days, they will wear red carnation – some say a symbol of the increasing tears and blood the students have spilled out during the exams as days pass by.
Yet for some reason, we have pushed forward. And here we are. At the beginning of year another academic year. I pray you that this year will be marked not only with hardship and struggle, but also with moments of enlightenment, with that great sense of joy for having that “click” moment in your head after enduring long hours of study, and with days when friendships are made and strengthened that it will go far beyond our university years.
May our years in SCUT be the years we will never forget – for the knowledge we gain, for the many cultures we are exposed to, and for the friendships we will make.