Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ISA HK/China --- Should our Station push into China in a hurry?

国内朋友请使用翻译软件阅读本文。(http://translate.google.com.hk/?hl=en&tab=wT#enzh-CN )
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Dear Station Members,

The Editorial Comment of a prominent local newspaper has practically spelled out why ISA HK/China is hesitating to expand into China right now. For those readers who do not understand Traditional Chinese, please kindly translate with a computer/internet software.

Two recent incidents have coerced the Station Manager (SM) to think twice in his push of ISA into China.

The first was a Tree Seminar organized by a local university where the SM was not given a chance to speak for ISA, but to let everybody else talk on trees. The SM had raised questions to the China tree expert speakers on how they would risk-assess their own Old & Valuable Trees. The answer was that they completely depended upon their imported Tomograph for a decision, rather than the arboricultural knowledge of the Assessors. They would ignore that Tomograph is not a non-destructive testing machine but with nails driven firmly into the living xylem of a tree, & they would never query how nails on the other side could pick up the minute acoustic energy like a metal a diaphragm. They also would not understand how ambient noises from traffic & road work might interfere with the readings. Experienced Arborists around the world are not sure how senile trees can heal repeated rounds of nailing with so many wounds on the tree body to fend off biological & structural damages. Apparently the China tree experts overlooked all these facts.

The second incident was at an academic luncheon meeting organized by a Flower Show to discuss the results of the presentations. Prominent provincial researchers & professors attended this gathering. In there, the conversation was focusing on overseas tours, political connection, personal relationship, & even women & drinks. Practically anything was discussed, except trees & greenery research. When the SM tried to bring up a subject on Tree Care, it was quickly tuned down as 'inappropriate & too serious' for such a 'friendly occasion'. The SM sat there to be bored for two hours to be fed with unhealthy food & rounds of 'bottoms up', & was wondering how sweet young girls were also allowed in to entertain the guests in an 'academic gathering'. It was truly very different from any international meeting of ISA that the SM was used to before.

With the academic influence of the China greenery professionals, Topping is now an acceptable practice all over China. Tree Wounds are sealed with magic chemicals of all kinds & they called it their 'local invention' over there. Drip Injection is thought to cure all illnesses in trees, & is commercially promoted by prominent universities. Academics there have also approached the SM to discuss the 'commercialization' of ISA credentials to be taught & tested by their 'Institutes'. Some of them argued that by conferring them first the ISA credentials without testing would help to speed up the development of ISA in China.

With all these in front of us, we begin to ponder the wisdom of diving in blindly into the Land of the Old Dragons in a hurry. This place may not be ready for us yet. ISA has a Mission to follow.

Then, would anyone think otherwise, & how?

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"If a tree is not designed, installed, maintained & inspected properly, it is likely to become a liability rather than an asset."

"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."
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百位校長出國遊 一流大學何時有

打造世界一流大學,從來是內地教育部門的頭等目標,當局為此投入了大量的財力與物力,但結果事與願違,希望頻頻落空,大量的教育經費被貪官中飽私囊,或被校長們遊山玩水揮霍一空。

據內地媒體報道,為在十年之內打造出世界一流大學,教育部日前推出百位校長赴歐美日等國培訓計劃,每期二十四天,培訓費、往返旅費和培訓期間的食宿交通等費用由國家專項經費全額支付。有網民質疑,在短短二十四天之內,這些校長出國培訓到底有何效果?該計劃與其說是出國培訓,還不如說是出國旅遊。

網民的質疑不無道理,最近幾年揭露的官員出國腐敗醜聞,每件都是冠冕堂皇地打着出國參觀訪問的旗號,但事實上都是遊山玩水,欣賞名勝。從安徽檢察系統歐洲考察團,到廣州海事法院非洲考察團,莫不如此。對官府的這些伎倆,老百姓早已司空見慣,恨之入骨。所以,今次教育部一組織百位校長出國培訓,網民便群起而攻之。

惟財是舉 獻媚官場

其實,中國大學與世界一流大學差距在哪裏,校長們不用出國培訓也心知肚明。相比哈佛、耶魯、牛津這些知名學府,中國大學在硬件設施上絲毫不差,無論是建築豪華程度,還是實驗室設備先進程度,中國大學都不算落後,有的甚至比他們更先進,但是在軟件上,特別是包容寬容的學術氣氛,兩者相差十萬八千里。

這些年來,中國大學完全喪失了象牙塔的清靜,一片烏煙瘴氣,亂七八糟,與其說是教書育人的淨地,還不如說是你爭我奪的商場。一些大學表面上是「惟才是舉」,實際上是「惟財是舉」。辦大學等同辦公司,莘莘學子成為搖錢樹,或者校方敲詐勒索家長的人質。大學校園內充斥各種EMBA培訓班、富二代培訓班,校長書記忙於圈地舉債,忙着開公司辦企業,根本無心治學。在這樣的體制下,怎能建設出世界一流大學?

最嚴重的是,中國大學講究論資排輩,不是以學術高低論英雄,而是以官階高低論尊卑。大學之間爭的不是學術成果,而是教育經費和行政級別。在畸形體制下,行政指揮學術,學術獻媚官場,表面上科學論文產量排名世界第一,每年博士畢業數量也是世界第一,但這些論文大多是抄來抄去,就連校長們也淪為抄襲高手,教授、博士更是浪得虛名。許多在海外職業生涯輝煌一時的一流科學家被吸引回國後,卻發現自己陷入地盤爭奪、文人相輕和裙帶關係的泥潭。

中國大學的這些頑疾,校長們不用出國也都知道,但誰又敢碰這些問題呢?世界一流大學不是靠吹出來的,更不是用錢堆出來的。所以,與其花費巨資讓校長出國瀟灑遊,還不如將這些資源撥給西部農村的學校,加固校舍,避免豆腐渣工程對下一代的殘害。

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