It was a day of double joy for UTAR Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS) when the opening ceremony of its Department of Chinese Studies’ Wooden Tablet and Classical Chinese Books Donation by Tan Sri Hew See Tong was held successively at ICS Perak Campus on 19 February 2014.
Among those present at the ceremony were, UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, UTAR Planning and Development Committee advisor Tan Sri Hew See Tong, UTAR Council member Hew Fen Yee and UTAR Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ir Dr Lee Sze Wei. They were accompanied by ICS Dean Dr Chong Siou Wei, Deputy Deans Dr Wong Wun Bin, Dr Lim Chee Men, Dr Tee Boon Chuan, Head of Department of Chinese Studies for Perak Campus Mok Tuck Hau, and other ICS members and students.
After the presentation of a welcome song by ICS students, Prof Chuah delivered his speech for the opening ceremony. “People of Chinese descent should inherit and pass on their culture to their younger generations,” advised Prof Chuah, adding, ‘UTAR students are lucky since Chinese studies is offered only at selected universities in Malaysia. Therefore, they should seize the opportunity to learn about Chinese culture, philosophy and literature from their ICS friends.”
On the donation of Chinese classical books by Tan Sri Hew, Prof Chuah said, “The development of Kampar by Tan Sri Hew should leave a trace in history.” He added that Tan Sri Hew is a humble man whose contributions to Kampar will be remembered by the people.
Prof Chuah’s motto, “由俭入奢易, 由奢入俭难” (It is easy to go from frugality to extravagance, but difficult to go from extravagance to frugality), is also found in one of the books donated by Tan Sri Hew titled “曾国藩家书” (Zeng Guofan’s Family Letters). Prof Chuah said that many words of wisdom and guiding principles can be found in ancient books and therefore, we should cherish them.
Tan Sri Hew in his speech responded to Prof Chuah’s compliments by expressing his utmost gratitude. “It is not exaggerating to say that Kampar has been re-energised by the existence of UTAR, which contributes greatly to the economic development of Kampar since its launch in 2002.”
Tan Sri Hew, who donated about two hundred classical Chinese books to ICS, said, “It is not easy to maintain these books for fear that they will be ruined by moist and moths.” Sharing the history of his book collection, Tan Sri Hew revealed that most of the books were bought by his father in Hong Kong during the 1950s. Inspired by his father’s encouragement, Tan Sri Hew read countless books in his lifetime including ‘Zeng Guofan’s Family Letters’ which is also Prof Chuah’s favourite.
As an appreciation for his benevolence, ICS presented to Tan Sri Hew a pair of dragon-shaped chopsticks made of pewter and gilded with 24K gold. Dragon is believed to be an auspicious sign that symbolises health, good luck, happiness and prosperity.