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Diversify Academic Atmosphere: An EdUHK Lecturer’s odysseys of knowledge

We are delighted to welcome two colleges to the Department of Asian and Policy Studies at the Education University of Hong Kong, including Lecturer Mr Tommy Kwan, and Post-doctoral Fellow Dr Stuti Rawat. First, we will introduce to you, Mr Tommy Kwan.

Before joining the Department of Asian and Policy Studies

Tommy obtained his bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences (Governance and Public Administration) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2015, Then he decided to pursue his Master’s studies in Politics of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Relations at SOAS, University of London. His research interests have been established during his Bachelor’s studies, focusing on the politics in Taiwan and Hong Kong, which extends to contentious politics, party politics, and candidate selection. As the most mature representative of the development of political parties in greater China Region, Taiwan’s political parties have always been the most concerned topic when scholars talk about Chinese politics, which is one of the main reasons why he, as a Hong Kong man, studied Taiwan in the UK.

His two alma maters, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and SOAS at the University of London, are well-known leftist schools. In his published book, The Loneliness Class, he said that students at the “left-leaning School of Oriental and African Studies” enjoyed taking part in protest marches. The cultural environment inevitably affects people, but this effect is not all radical, and it may be a critical way of thinking, which is a positive influence. Whether in Hong Kong, Taiwan, or other parts of the world, social movements and party struggles are very “big” or hot topics this year. This is also consistent with Professor Kwan’s doctoral dissertation on the relationship between political parties and social movements in Taiwan.

Tommy was a visiting scholar at the University of Tübingen in Germany and Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He said that the experience from Hong Kong to Britain to Germany to Taiwan, and finally back to Hong Kong was an experience of growing in a different and diversified academic atmosphere. Unlike his undergraduate years, Tommy, a graduate student, has become more involved in purely academic research. He mentioned that one of the most impressive things about studying in the UK was that the Taiwan Studies Centre at SOAS held several events every week, inviting different scholars, with no restriction on the theme. He also said that due to local limitations, many Hong Kong students do not have much mobility. But during the years since he left Hong Kong to study abroad after his undergraduate studies, he has gained the ability to be independent.

Future Plans in EdUHK

In the new semester, Tommy will be teaching two Year 1 courses, as well as completing his doctoral thesis.

In the new semester, when the epidemic has become the new normal, he feels sorry that he could not meet and teach the students in Face-to-Face mode. Meanwhile, online teaching has also brought him challenges. But there is no doubt that this will not affect his way of getting along with the students as friends. In addition to providing academic guidance, he also hopes he can chat with students about life on campus and offers help when necessary. As for APS, just like the freshmen, he is new to the school. He hopes that teachers and students can encourage each other and adapt to the new environment as soon as possible.

Of course, Tommy also has some expectations for his students. On the one hand, students should not only attend classes, but also enjoy their school life, cherish the short and precious time, and dare to try different new things. On the other hand, students should keep in mind their duty as students and never give up studying.