Dear students and teachers,
Today, in such a jubilant atmosphere, we gather here to hold the graduation ceremony for our 8,106 undergraduates and 6,069 post-graduates of 2020. You are like the healthy and vigorous seeds meticulously cultivated by SCU. Inheriting the good tradition of SCU with the force of knowledge, you will float on the wind to every corner of the world while taking a firm foothold, blossoming and bearing fruits in our motherland.
My dear students, today’s venue is different from previous ones. This is the first graduation ceremony of SCU conducted both online and offline. We could not gather face to face this time, but such a unique occasion demonstrates that you are truly one of outstanding talents. We’re all aware that the prevalence of the pandemic has caused quite a lot of inconveniences for your graduation and employment; however, in the past six months, you’ve positively participated in the online classes, online recruitment activities, smoothly completed the online exams and cloud-based graduation thesis debate. Such special experiences have already left their impressions on all of you. In particular, students have successively returned to the campus, and taken group photos in front of the major buildings. Despite the masks covering your faces, your smiles look so lovely that the shadow of the pandemic seems not affecting your mood.
After the outbreak of COVID-19, General Secretary Xi Jinping has personally commanded and deployed personnel to the fight against it, and won a significant strategic result in the prevention and control of the pandemic. My dear students, every time our nation and people encounter danger or a major disaster, the staff of SCU have not been absent. This time, West China Hospital of SCU has contributed much to the battle against COVID-19, not only in Wuhan and Hubei province, but also here in Chengdu, Sichuan province, and across the whole country!
Students, now all of you have witnessed an unprecedented change over the past century, and also stepped into a critical period of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. This is not only an unprecedented opportunity for all of us, but also a rigorous test and challenge. The complicated and fast-changing world situation and the fluctuation of COVID-19 are dazzling, surprising and stunning; in particular, faced with various confusing information from all kinds of self-media, it’s very difficult for us to discern the true and the fake, the good and the bad. How to find out the correct direction in a complicated situation? How to discern the good from the bad in chaos? How to set a target in the mist? This is especially difficult for all of us nowadays! So, in my speech today, I hope that our students can grasp your future in such a turbulent world!
Students! We have grown accustomed to conventional daily life along with the passage of time; so all the events that have occured over the past months have felt like slamming the brakes; all the original order and rhythm have been distorted overnight; the original certainty of things are no longer certain; the original symmetry of things are no longer symmetrical; the original order has become disorderly; and all of us have become worried about the uncertainties, non-symmetry and disorderliness. This is the so-called complexity. Over the past six months, the outbreak of the pandemic has brought us unprecedented crisis and hardship; and the almighty science has become unprecedentedly feeble and helpless in front of nature; moreover, the intricate world situation has become obscure and strange; and mankind seems so fragile in the prediction of its own future and deciding their own fate…As a matter of fact, the more complicated the situation, the more necessary it is for us to figure out the logic behind it; and the more changeable a thing is, the more necessary it is for us to find the rules remaining unalterable about it.
Students! We should say that nature, on which our lives rely, has not changed, only the relationships in human society have changed; no matter how big a change to the relationships in human society, we will have to adapt to and find balance with nature. Since there is no fundamental change to nature, the basic rules of nature are still there, and the basic order of society can only iterate to a higher civilization; the new balance, new symmetry, and new order will eventually be established. Over the past five million years, have we not kept evolving and developing step by step? Hence, to grasp the future is to find a new opportunity and usher in a new situation during changes by improving ourselves. Of course, during the course of change or chaos we should be more able to judge the situation and adapt to it; this will mean a harder test for our systematic thinking and volitional quality; we need to redefine the world from the aspects of the history, the reality and the future. Here, there are three points I particularly want to stress: first, the more complicated the situation, the more urgent we should broaden our horizons; second, the more complicated the matter, the more important our pursuit becomes; third, the more complicated the situation, the simpler we should express it.
First of all, I'd like to talk about the urgency of broadening our horizons. As the saying goes: looking far in youth, understanding thoroughly in middle age, and preserving a tranquil mind in old age. That means we should open our vision as early as possible to understand the rules, identify the direction and march forward in an open-minded manner. Here is a story about three workers in a construction site: when a leader came and asked them what they were doing, the first worker, without looking up, said: "laying bricks", the second one stuttered: "building a house”, the third one replied proudly: “I’m working hard to build a modern city.” A few years later, the third worker has become the manager of this large construction company, and the first two workers still work in the project sites. Therefore, it's often said that a clear vision will open your mind to the endless possibilities of the future. As you may know, Mr. Chen Yinque, a master of Chinese studies who once taught at our university, studied abroad in Japan at 13 years-old, and pursued further study at famous universities in Germany, the United States, and France, during which he studied literature, history, mathematics, and above all learnt 22 languages. “I never studied for a diploma, just to open up an academic perspective”, he said. He was finally hailed as a "great professor among professors" thanks to his deep pool of knowledge and the Chinese and Western cultures. Hence, standing high and looking far will help to broaden your vision, shape your life pattern and have a calm demeanor.
Secondly, I want to share with you the importance of focus and excellence. Focus is paramount to us in pursuit of excellence. The more complicated a matter is, the more it is necessary to focus on it and even devote one's life to the matter. Some people say only 1% of the lifetime is wonderful, 1% is painful, and the other 98% are spent insipidly, but people are often attracted to this 1% wonderful life, despite of the ups and downs. In fact, the time for a person to work effectively is very limited. The key is to focus on important things. Only by doing so can you keep drawing buckets of water from the well. The "General History of the Chinese Taoism" with 3.5 million words, which was published just last week, attracted the attention of academic circles. The editors-in-chief include: Mr. Qing Xitai, an outstanding liberal arts professor at our school, and Professor Zhan Shichuang. Mr. Qing began to study Taoism culture in the early 1960s. He never stopped thinking about Taoism culture in the "cow shed" in the 1970s. His "Outline of the Chinese Taoist Thoughts" was hailed as "a book contributed to the academic community through ten years of loneliness. At the age of 80, Mr. Qing still insisted on writing books and set up a distinct school of thought. So, professionalism is originated from concentration, and excellence from professionalism.
Thirdly, use simple explanations to express complex matters. In a complex world, if you can get to the root of the matter and gain insight into the nature of the matter at hand through deep learning, you have manifested a high level of being. If you can express quickly and easy enough for outsiders to understand a complicated matter, you have proven that you possess strong capability. In the famous Feynman study method: if you can't make it clear, it means you haven't really figured it out. During the Yan'an period, Chairman Mao once asked a young man to define politics, the young man replied by citing the classics, then Chairman Mao said: "Don't make it so complicated, politics are supposed to attract supporters and minimize the opponents"! This seemingly simple sentence makes the complicated political relationship clear. As you may know, Mr. Ren of Huawei told a story about Bian Que, an ancient doctor. One time, Marquess Wen of Wei asked Bian Que who had the best medical skills among three brothers of his family. Bian Que replied, his eldest brother was the best, followed by his second brother, and he was the worst. Marquess Wen was surprised and asked him why he was the worst, but the most famous. Bian Que replied that his eldest brother's medical skill could nip a disease in the bud, but people didn't think he could cure an illness; the second brother can cure a disease from the onset, but people thought he can only cure the minor diseases; I usually have to wait until the patient was almost dying before using an extra hefty dose of herbs, so everyone mistakenly regarded me as a highly-skilled doctor. Subsequently Mr. Ren said: the same is true in a company, which depends much on intangible state of management. Therefore, when you learn how to think deeply and get to the essence of things, and express yourself in a simple way so others can understand, you can take rein of your life in this complex and ever changing world.
My dear students, the more complex and turbulent g the world is, the greater the need to broaden your horizons; the more confusing things are, the more you need to stay focused and pursue excellence; the more intricate the situation is, the more you need to understand and conclude the essential laws. Your vision will affect how far you can go, your pursuit of excellence will affect how high you can climb. The ability to use simple language to explain complex and profound truths clearly will determine whether or not you have a wonderful life. This is both a soft power and also a master skill of our SCU students!
My dear students, when I skimmed over the SCU WeChat these past few days, I found various farewell messages from the students, one of the topics was "I will never forget you", under which someone wrote: I will never forget the morning reading by the Mingyuan Lake, the countless romantic stories on the Long Bridge, the blooming summer lotus under the Clock Tower, and every memory of my life at Sichuan University. Another younger student commented: After getting a doctorate this year, I will study abroad; from undergraduate to doctorate, from 2010 to 2020, the best time of my youth was spent in Sichuan University, I will remember you forever! I think, everyone at SCU, no matter if he or she is a student or an alumnus/alumna, shows great concern for the development of the alma mater, which again confirms that we all have a common name-"Fellows of SCU".
My dear students, no matter where you are and what happens to you in the future, Sichuan University will be your home forever.
Finally, I wish everybody a smooth life and a bright future! Goodbye!