Generation 40s – 四十世代

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商科課程適合你嗎?

信報財經新聞
教育講論
2016-01-16

梁文光

香港是一個發達的服務型經濟體系,在配合中國改革開放、經濟高速發展中,香港服務業現佔了本地生產總值比率達93%,其就業人數佔總就業人數比率亦達88.5%。每年,很多大專商科畢業生為不同行業提供商業服務貢獻,支持香港整體經濟的發展。因應市場需求,有關商科學士學位課程,在眾多政府資助及自負盈虧大專院校所提供的課程中,因其就業出路較廣及報讀資格限制較少下,備受高中學生歡迎。

商科課程是以廣博為根基,涵蓋商科核心的科目如財務、管理、會計、市場學等;加上中英語文、資訊科技運用、商業統計學;又為配合學生不同興趣選擇,輔以範圍甚廣的通識科目,包括社會科學的心理和社會學、歷史及人文科學、自然學科的介紹等,進一步擴闊學生的知識基礎。為此,很多人會認為商科課程是博而不會深入探討各學科知識。事實上,念商科最大的挑戰是需要學員綜合不同類別學科的理論,多角度思考商業問題,評估已有資料和證據,作出對各持份者(僱主、顧客、同事和社會大眾)負責任及平衡的決定。再者,商科學員亦可博中帶專,主修一核心科目為其專業如市場營銷、管理等,或應用商業知識於特定發展迅速的行業,如理大商科課程的全球供應鏈、航運及物流業。

看重英數能力

商科課程在收生政策上,通常特別看重英語和數學,因英語是國際商業共用語言,數學是方便明白不同商業、金融和財務數據的統計和含義,若學生對英語和數學有較好的水平,他們會更快融會和掌握課程。其他主要高中學科,包括了被認為是商科課程預習的經濟科和企業、會計與財務概論,在入學評分比重方面,多會一視同仁。商科課程歡迎不同學術及種族背景學生一起上課互動,擴闊同學間彼此學習和生活經驗,有助於創新思維。

事實上,若同學有興趣去合併不同商科,社會和其他學科的知識,體驗於接觸、了解周邊的人、事和物,商科課程可配合他們在這方面的發展。商科生亦應有主動性,不時自我檢視多方位的個人能力,如溝通能力、創見思維、道德理解、國際視野及創業精神等,持續改善自己。這種自我檢視及增值能力,對商科生尤其重要,在未來的職場上,他們需要去面對瞬息多變的工作環境,以及現今商業社會對社會責任和持續發展的要求。課堂內,學生學習各專業理論和案例,討論如何提升個人能力培養的建議。課堂外,實是商科生的無形、龐大實驗室,他們應主動多找機會去測試及修正自我能力,大學及商學院亦會開辦不同的分享工作坊、就業講座等,幫助同學提升上述個人及專業能力。

當然,在商科課程中提供的公司實習機會,海外交換生計劃,更能使學生知己之不足,擴闊視野。

畢業生前景佳

商科畢業生為廣大行業吸納,就業率通常很高。政府、公營機構、社福界、教育界都會聘用商科生。商科生初次就業公司的規模、職位及起薪點,或會與畢業成績掛鈎。但有經驗的僱主,會從簡單面試中,很快便知悉這準畢業生,在自我能力提升方面,是否下了苦工,又能否把商科知識和技能融入於個人興趣和就業發展目標,成為對工作熱誠的僱員。

若你不滿意一茶餐店的食物,並有想法予以改善。若你喜歡旅遊,覺得某些外地產品在香港會有需求。若你有興趣去多了解某些國際或本地公司成功例子,或為什麼有些會失敗。商科課程可能是你合適的選擇學科。

梁文光
香港理工大學工商管理學院 副院長(學務統籌)

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Asian Americans’ complaint against ‘unfair’ Harvard admissions underlines need for meritocracy

South China Morning Post
Comment›Insight & Opinion
2015-06-25

Amy Wu

Amy Wu says a lawsuit against Harvard for alleged discrimination against Asian Americans reflects widespread unease with a practice that will erode society’s competitiveness

Last month, a coalition of Asian American groups filed a lawsuit against Harvard University for discrimination in its admissions practices. It was about time.

The lawsuit argues that Harvard is unfairly rejecting high-scoring Asian American candidates on racial grounds. According to third-party research, Ivy League institutions such as Harvard discriminate against such candidates, not least by setting them a higher bar for standardised test scores.

The lawsuit has its supporters, but there’s also been a firestorm of backlash against Asians. And while the lawsuit is based on race, the more critical argument that is too often sidelined concerns merit.

Merit needs to be fostered. Whether it’s university admissions, employment or a sports team recruitment, available positions should go to the most qualified candidates. This is for the good of both the organisation and the individual. Companies should hire candidates that best meet the needs of the job.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against diversity. Ideally, people of various backgrounds and cultures contribute to the richness of a society. Racial and ethnic diversity can potentially and ideally add desired resources to underserved communities.

A case in point is the US medical world, where three out of four physicians are white/non-Hispanic, 17.2 per cent are Asian or other races, and just 5.3 per cent are Hispanic and 3.8 per cent black. Understandably, some predominantly black communities may feel more comfortable going to health care providers who share a similar skin colour. However, more often, I hear people say they choose their doctors based on skills.

A good friend at a medical school pointed out that some Hispanic and black applicants will be accepted to the college on a lower admissions test score than applicants of other races. But, very often, those students need remedial classes to bring them up to the level of their fellow students. The institution needs to bring in additional resources to try to get them up to speed.

The students themselves know they are “special”; they would not qualify for admission based purely on academic and school activity records.

Altering and lowering the bar to admit students who simply aren’t qualified is doing them a disservice. These students risk being overwhelmed and their chances of dropping out, losing confidence and becoming disillusioned are heightened.

Again, the argument extends beyond race. Last year, more than 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from US universities because they performed poorly or cheated, according to WholeRen Education, a US consultancy that caters to Chinese students. And rightfully so, because they didn’t qualify.

On the flip side, why should those who are qualified – in this case, high-scoring Asian American students – need to sacrifice a piece of the pie for another racial/ethnic group who are poorer performers? Maybe universities need to find a way to increase the size of the pie?

In the US, there are a myriad of programmes, such as the government-funded Head Start programme, that attempt to equalise the playing field for children from various socioeconomic backgrounds.

Why not, then, focus on expanding such programmes from nursery school to primary and secondary schools as a potential remedy? At some point, we must put aside the race debate and focus on merit for the good of the whole, to keep society competitive.

After all, wasn’t it the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping who argued that, “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice”?

Amy Wu is an American-born Chinese writer and commentator


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在數目字上管理

信報財經新聞
計論短長
2016-1-16

馮培漳

聖誕前夕,讀到代表會計界出席立法會的梁繼昌議員的一篇大文,此文關係到本地會計師之生計,雖是望眼欲穿,總也算讓行內人知道他仍在關心我們。

他說的行外人冒充會計師者的謀生手段,直接和間接影響着正當會計師的生存環境。對此,本人多年來亦屢有評論。只是人微言輕,講亦無人理。

社會人士對這些事務所之名稱究竟是「會計師事務所」還是「會計事務所」不甚了了,反正「收得平」和可以對付稅務局就可以了。加上電視廣告上亦對其服務,尤其是公司註冊之過程描述得神乎其技。此等事務所自誇其服務又平又靚自不待言,為什麼?因為此類事務所是「冇王管」的,會計師公會管不了其所為。故其交貨和完工的compliance和internal control的成本肯定比前者少得多。所謂平嘢冇好,服務質量便難獲保證了。

有牌會計師鬥不過無牌

最堪行內人感嘆的是「妹仔大過主人婆」的狀況。其意是指非會計師者因種種原因可以為客戶提供「價廉物美」之服務,甚得客人歡迎,且對其言聽計從,比有牌會計師更得到客人之信任。於是聘用誰為公司會計師,往往由他們說了算。有牌者反過來要聽無牌者指點,還要小心謹慎以免失去客戶,不亦咄咄怪事?

有牌會計師鬥不過無牌會計師是令人傷痛難忍的事實。因為此類事務所自由自在,不受任何專業守則之羈絆。與正牌者為了核實三幾十萬之年末存貨需翻山涉水、搭車乘船去一一清點不同,還要因撥備多少而與客人各持己見,最終而成qualify之局;或進而為了多年未能好好處理此類主客分歧而要自動辭職,好保全咱們會計師不為五斗米而折腰的氣概,也要向公會Practice Review大老爺顯示富貴於我如浮雲之崇高情操。

其實要作出一定的自衞也不是全無揸拿的。只要效法歷史學家黃仁宇所謂之「在數目字上管理」便可。何謂數目字管理?

第一,正牌會計師事務所是在公會有登記的。每個所都有一個號碼,以分別其Firm Registration也。但不知何故,多年來所見,甚少有事務所在其信紙頭或其他地方有此顯示。於是有牌無牌都是用一種無分別的信紙頭,這樣自然是有利無牌者之渾水摸魚也。

這也許是因為從事旅遊業者、補習機構者或地產經紀者的信紙、文件和收據都有數目字來管轄,會計師從之,豈無「跟人尾」之嫌?

第二,甚少事務所把其合夥人的大名和quali在信紙頭顯示。大概是為了私隱,或是不想讓旁人知道所內有猛人,以免為綁架勒索者提供線索?

以己之有攻敵之無是王道

其實顯示其主持人之姓名及會員號碼,也是打擊非專業事務所的重要武器。除非其人由一開始便要靠冒充來搵飯食,寧冒欺詐之險,也要獨霸一方,否則不敢硬充自己是會計師或自改其大寶號為公會註冊之Firm也。

所以,以己之有攻敵之無,應是王道的除魔之道也。正牌者不見得要為此負擔多少額外成本,無牌者卻一亮信紙,即可現形。以此教育消費者認清服務提供者之面貌,也不費多少功夫。當然,你可以說他們可以用錢控制一個新牌仔,要他怎樣做都可以,但若如此做的話,公會自會有辦法對付之,不像對待不受監管之無牌者般鞭長莫及也。

此類事務所的服務,會對有牌會計師和矇查查地接受了其服務的客人造成傷害,但畢竟是少數。傷害最大的應是聯同一些財務機構提供的所謂貸款服務,利率似天高而借到手的款項經七除八拆後所餘無已,這已不是提供質劣服務般簡單,而是徹頭徹尾的欺詐,應由警方出手才能杜絕。

筆者記得以前皮毛地學點《合同法》時,有個叫Non est factum(it is not(my)deed)的概念。據維基網上解釋,此是在合同法下,可令合同雙方之其中一方不受合同條款之限。此方雖是在合同上簽了字,應用此概念時,即表示其簽名是在受錯誤引導下或未明其所以之前而簽訂的,卻又非疏忽而致。若能以此成功申辯,可令此合同無效。

從其網站看,梁議員可提供的專業服務,是偏於律師多於會計師之域。既然他可以橫跨兩界,似應多拿點功夫出來,為陷入欺詐困境之人提供解脫。

民主可以講完又講,上街可以行完又行,多你一個唔多,少你一個唔少,但可提供上述服務,救民於水火之能者,屈指可數。眼看着老百姓遭欺負,被驅不異犬與雞時,何不祭起杏黃旗,替天行道呢?

作者為香港執業會計師


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KMT’s gamble on dogmatic presidential hopeful Hung Hsiu-chu may backfire

South China Morning Post
Comment›Insight & Opinion
2015-06-25

Jonathan Sullivan

Jonathan Sullivan considers the KMT’s self-defeating choice of an ideologue for the 2016 presidential poll

The Kuomintang is expected to confirm Hung Hsiu-chu as its first female presidential candidate, ahead of the 2016 election, at its party congress next month. Hung, currently the deputy speaker in Taiwan’s legislature, has already passed the first step to nomination: a combined party and public vote. If, as expected, Hung’s nomination is confirmed, it will pit her head-to-head with Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party.

For an East Asian polity with a significant “Confucian heritage” still manifest in patriarchal social norms, an all-female contest for the presidency is no small matter. Many Taiwanese are rightly proud of improvements in gender equality. But the gender of the two candidates is not the real issue here.

When Tsai stood for president for the first time in 2012, gender was a conspicuous non-issue. Tsai lost, not because of her gender but because voters did not trust her hastily assembled China policy. Tsai has since sharpened her thinking on China, and has adopted a position that appeals to the moderate middle. The same cannot be said for Hung, whose views on China are not shared by the majority of Taiwanese.

Hung is an advocate of faster economic integration leading to unification. In a long and undistinguished political career, she is best known for her strident ideological views. Until now a marginal character in the KMT, Hung has a reputation for pugnacity and a sketchy electoral record. She secured the deputy speaker position as a balance to the “local wing” speaker, Wang Jin-pyng, who prizes pragmatism in terms of future political solutions. Although her father was a victim of the KMT’s White Terror, a political purge during the martial law era, Hung has shown strong commitment to the party. In a polity where pragmatism is the norm, at least at election time, Hung’s commitment to old ideals and pursuit of unification with China is unusually steadfast.

This would not be a story if Hung’s nomination were consistent with the trajectory of Taiwanese public opinion. But the attitude of the majority of the electorate is moving firmly in the opposite direction, both on China and “traditional” attitudes.

The past four years have seen large-scale public protests against the policies of the incumbent Ma Ying-jeou administration. Widespread dissatisfaction was manifest in the KMT’s humbling losses in local elections in November last year. While many Taiwanese have been alarmed by the haste of Ma’s embrace of China, Hung has lavished praise on the outgoing president, and, if elected, would seek to deepen his integration policies.

There is nothing to suggest that Hung is capable of competing with a battle-tested and increasingly confident Tsai. Lacking Ma’s veneer of urbane sophistication and carefully packaged image of Confucian temperance, Hung has been compared by some observers to Sarah Palin or Barry Goldwater, candidates known for their “challenging” views and electoral failure. With the KMT already vulnerable due to dissatisfaction with Ma and facing an uphill struggle against a resurgent DPP, why is Hung set to get the nomination?

The simple answer is that the party is bereft of choices. Hung is an accidental candidate, the last woman standing when all others sought to avoid what looks like a poisoned chalice, or were blocked by factional battles.

KMT chairman Eric Chu is the candidate with the best chance of challenging Tsai, but he has refused to stand from the outset. His promise to constituents in New Taipei City, where he was re-elected mayor last November, not to run, has provided him with the perfect cover. Wang, the figurehead of the “local wing”, was willing to stand. But his possible candidature was halted by his embroilment in a long and bitter battle with Ma’s China-leaning faction.

Ultimately, facing the need to draft a candidate rather than execute its normal primary procedures, the party has settled on the undaunted Hung. Cynics note that Hung’s unexpectedly strong performance in the public nomination poll and subsequent opinion polls may have been boosted by DPP supporters eager for her to run.

If and when Hung’s nomination is confirmed, the impact on Taiwan’s political landscape could be significant. Hung’s political beliefs are out of sync with mainstream public opinion – although they do represent a segment of society. As a candidate espousing non-mainstream views, magnified by an uncompromising personal style that is likely to turn off younger voters, Hung could inflict lasting damage on the KMT.

At this juncture, six months out from the election, it is unlikely that Hung could beat Tsai. A more likely outcome is one that has, to date, been unthinkable: that the KMT may lose both the presidency and control of the legislature for the first time.

If the KMT suffers a heavy loss, the party will face potential ruptures. Factional cleavages in the party are long-standing. Despite several splinter parties breaking off, the core party has held together because it has had superior resources and political capital. But if substantial losses in 2016 compound the loss of its control over local politics, the KMT will be weakened to the point that it may no longer be able to cover over the cracks in its ranks.

Despite his unpopularity, Ma’s faction retains influence. On the other hand, Chu is the obvious leader of a younger generation of more Taiwan-focused KMT politicians. A catastrophic performance in 2016 could go a number of ways. If Chu is held responsible, more conservative, China-leaning elements will have the upper hand. Yet, a disastrous electoral performance may be what the KMT needs to renew itself, post Ma.

Hung’s candidacy is a risk for all involved; except for Hung herself, who has nothing to lose and appears to be relishing the spotlight. With typical chutzpah, she has offered Chu the chance to be her running mate for vice-president (which he declined).

Moving the KMT back to the political centre and waiting to fight again in 2020 was the party’s best option. An ideologue fighting against the tide of public opinion will take the party in a different direction.

Jonathan Sullivan is associate professor and deputy director of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham


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集中營看到人生

信報財經新聞
回眸英倫
2016-1-16

毛羨寧

除夕至1月第一周,不知從哪裏得來病毒,感染了上支氣管,整天整夜咳嗽,不能躺下入睡,幾天後更擴散至左眼結膜炎。患病雖然辛苦,在家養病的時間也迫使自己整理家居、重看名著To Kill a Mockingbird、定下新一年計劃。十天以來只吃粥水和瓜菜,已是最見效的減肥餐單!許多人的新年願望,我竟然在生病中完成。唯一令我晝夜思索的,是一位同事在平安夜跟我討論的問題──人活着為了什麼?人們經常把這個大題目交給宗教學者和哲學家去分析,同事之間閒話家常,很少研究宇宙奧秘和人生哲理。於是我們短訊來往了兩小時,直至她稍為開懷,想睡了。

索取者vs付出者

我想,「人活着為了什麼」的答案難以解釋,不是因為沒有答案,而是問的方法本身負面,導向成「人生只有生老病死,沒什麼意義可言」或是「冥冥中有主宰」一類非黑即白的結論。年多前去過德國慕尼黑近郊的達豪集中營(Dachau),再讀「意義治療」(Logotherapy)創始者弗蘭克(Viktor Frankl)所著Man’s Search for Meaning,發現宗教和這門存在主義提倡的人生意義一樣,就是要超越自我──人不應該去問他的生命意義是什麼,反而要問人生對我們有什麼指望(what life expects from us)。

追求人生的快樂實際上相當於「索取者」, 而要過有意義的生活則是做一位「付出者」。二次大戰期間,弗蘭克和他家人因猶太人的身份被關在達豪和奧斯威辛等納粹集中營,最後只有弗蘭克及妹妹幸免於難。他眼見集中營裏很多殘酷現象,總結這段時期的體驗:一般心理上較為舒泰的人較懂得面對困難,能在惡劣環境中創造一種心境,例如藉創作、發明、工作獲得成就感。我在達豪看到一些由囚犯所製的瓷器,其中有一頭坐着的小鹿,神情安詳,其實他們身處恐怖的集中營。弗蘭克再寫道,愛與被愛是人一生中最大的動力,單是掛念也能令人活下去,然後是自己擁有的意志和抉擇權——「人所擁有的任何東西都可以被剝奪,惟獨人性的最終自由,也就是在任何環境中選擇一己態度和生活方式的自由,不能被剝奪。」這就是創造、經驗和態度的價值觀。

我鼓勵朋友繼續尋找,這樣人生才有進步。「我們終會發現生命的終極意義,就在於替人生問題找出路,並完成它不斷賦予每個人的使命。」