Lingnan secrets

Neven Sesardic
(Lingnan University, Hong Kong:

People in Hong Kong wonder:

which university is number one?

Chinese U or UST?

Or could it be that it’s Lingnan?


Judging by what the public thinks

there’s no reason for us to boast;

it appears by these rankings

that, rather sadly, we are toast.


But wait, enough of doom and gloom,

There is good news for all of us.

I seem already to hear whispers:

“What is it? Was ist das?”


Well, the answer is quite simple:

“Liberal arts” is the key.

This phrase works real magic,

it impressed even the UGC.


But what does it refer to?

What exactly does it mean?

It isn’t easy to explain,

some even call it a smokescreen.


Lingnan is truly one of a kind,

a veritably unique mix.

Like in the film Casablanca,

there’s only one café Rick’s.


What makes us special then?

It’s actually our bag of tricks

which, when applied correctly,

there’s nothing it cannot fix.


Freshmen receive in their first term

a very powerful thinking aid:

you guessed it, this is logic

that cuts like a sharp razor blade.


It teaches them to avoid errors

and keep their concepts well-defined.

This is indeed a sine qua non

of any really critical mind.


We know, however, that from lectures

there is little to be gained

if students are not amused,

or to some degree entertained.


It’s a Lingnanian’s mortal sin

to teach a course that’s seen as boring,

so if you avoid this mistake

your CTEs will keep on soaring.


Facing students who’re shy or quiet

we don’t panic or say “Oops!”

It’s very clear what should be done:

divide the class into small groups!


I have also to mention briefly

the absolute Lingnan sensation:

Hey, what’s all that buzz about

“the whole person education”?


Well, this helps those exam-challenged

to ease their level of high stress,

for now with all these other aspects

a failure still counts as success.


Our students live on campus

but that doesn’t mean, alas,

that they are in the library

or, hallelujah, that they’re in class.


In spite of all their hectic schedule

from dawn until later afternoon

they have a lot of fun in hostels

or often somewhere in Tuen Mun.


In all fairness to our students

I must say that by my watch,

once they decide to work hard

results are unmistakably top-notch.


If you still don’t quite get it

what we in fact at Lingnan do,

unfortunately we can’t explain

the whole thing through and through.


For if we revealed our top secrets

this would do us a lot of harm:

bye-bye then to our uniqueness

and to our elusive charm!


So we need to play it safe

and keep our lips very tight.

Our tricks of trade are under lock

and protected by patent right.