Teaching at what is today the University of Oxford can be traced back to 1096 AD, a time that corresponds to the Shaosheng era in the Northern Song Dynasty of China. The Song Dynasty was acclaimed as the Eastern Renaissance, giving birth to a prosperous society and economy. The national policy was centred around scholarship and culture, leading to a flourishing scene of art and literature which opened up the modern age. However, 1096 AD is when Su Dongpo, one of the most renowned classical Chinese literates, was demoted to where is now Hainan Island, being banished to no man’s land in the eyes of his contemporaries.
Hong Kong has experienced unprecedented changes in recent years. As Hong Kongers we could only contemplate whilst we are here in Oxford observing from a distance. Past and present, changes and revolutions, oriental and occidental, local and global, reflecting upon these contrasts could perhaps shed some light to our path ahead. The Oxford University Hong Kong Scholars Association (OxHKScholars) is proud to present the inaugural “Oxford Hong Kong Forum”. We strive to create a platform to showcase Hong Kong's dynamic glocal identity, and to explore the future of Hong Kong in this turbulent age, hence our theme “The future of Hong Kong: Reimagining glocal citizenship”.
We would like to take this chance to explain the Chinese theme of the forum – which could be translated to “Observing the Surroundings, Extending to the World” (管錐天地，溢乎四海). The first part of the sentence “Observing the Surroundings'' (guan zhui tiandi) was inspired by the essay collection Limited Views (Guan zhui pian) by Oxford University alumnus Ch'ien Chung-shu (Qian Zhongshu), with the words originated from Zhuangzi. The phrase drew up an analogy of looking through a tube to observe the sky and through a cone to scrutinize the land, pointing out how limited our observations can be. Despite Hong Kong being a small city, many view Hong Kong as a looking glass into the vast heritage of China and East Asia. We endeavour to gather talents across different fields, and provide a platform for distilling knowledge into ideas. Recognising our limitations, we carefully curated our programme to offer condensed insights into Hong Kong’s path ahead.
“Extending the world” (yi hu sihai), the second part of our Chinese theme, was taken from Mencius, on how one’s virtue and enlightenment could spread. Indeed, the essence of Hong Kong’s local culture can be found in different corners of the world. Hong Kong has never been alone in the international landscape. In the past, she has ridden along the multifaceted challenges faced by Greater China and SouthEast Asia. As part of a blessed island which gradually became a prosperous international city, we are caught in the crossfire of the contemporary times. Our identity and position in the world might shift with the tides, though the spirit and ambition we embodied will not change. Hong Kongers will continue to extend our knowledge and expertise, contributing to and transforming today’s ever-changing interconnected world.
The Oxford Hong Kong Forum is held virtually due to the pandemic, though we are pleased to welcome audiences across the continents. As global citizens rooted in Hong Kong, we present stories of Hong Kong that transcend the city, that are relevant to everyone. We are proud that our speakers and moderators came from a diverse background, from young researchers, to homegrown scholars, to industry practitioners. We hope their voice will inspire some interesting conversations on this borderless platform.
Our programme is divided into four themes, featuring twelve panel discussions. Speakers will cover Hong Kong's art and literature, history and geography, urban design, climate resilience, conservation, media, diversity, technology, and entrepreneurship. Alongside the main programme, on-demand talks, workshops and networking sessions are available.
We would also take this opportunity to explain the Chinese calligraphy on our website. The name of the forum is handwritten in clerical script, representing the solemn nature of our academic discussion which echoes with the style of the script - characters are flat, rectilinear, and just. In contrast, the Chinese name of "Oxford University Hong Kong Scholars Association" adopts handwritten running-regular scripts to express the dual identities of the Association: academic as the main purpose and social events as a supplement, both being indispensable components. Therefore, the rigorous spirit of regular script together with the free spirit of running script are used to integrate these core values. Through adopting different calligraphy styles, we hope to showcase the different aspects of our association.
It is our honour to present the inaugural Oxford Hong Kong Forum. We sincerely hope everyone enjoys these two days of discussion and networking. Last but not least, we hope today’s event will set a precedent for the discussions on Hong Kong Studies in Oxford, perpetuating the shimmer of the Orient’s pearl.
今牛津大學，西元1096年始庠序，時值帝制中國北宋哲宗紹聖三年。有言宋代乃東方文藝復興，蓋有宋社會、經濟、都市發達，國策又重文士儒生，上繼古典，下開近世。藝文積一時盛大，社經開近世先河。夷考紹聖文藝大事，可堪一記者，竟屬蘇東坡先貶惠州，再謫儋州。流離天意人事，落魄天涯海角。西洋、東亞，復興、貶謫，此中對照，頗堪玩味。香港近歲，勢變其已至鉅，蜩螗世所難睹。我等處西洋彼岸，遙觀東亞遠鄉。遠火雖隔岸，五內實如焚。暮夕飲冰，難解灼灼。香港處其豹變之兆，大變形其肇際，大革見其初序。往昔、今日，變故、興革，遠東、大西，本土、國際，互參對照。對照之間，學界賢達、百業能士，亦必各有卓見，苟聚諸士於一堂，或足為香港未來挑燈指路，此實牛津大學香港學者協會（OxHKScholars）年來悉力籌辦首屆「香港論壇」之契機並標的。際此風雲變幻，探視香江未來。期能重思香港立足本土、放眼世界之特質。是以，論壇英文主題謹定為「The future of Hong Kong: Reimagining glocal citizenship」。