Encountering Chinese Culture Over Changing Times

2019.第47卷第2期(Vol. 47 No. 2).pp. 1–22

Encountering Chinese Culture Over Changing Times


Ruth HAYHOE(許美德)


This is a personal narrative of encounters with Chinese people and experiences of the culture over a fifty-year period, from 1967 to 2017. The timing parallels closely the 50-year period and anniversary being celebrated by the Education Journal of the Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The author lived in Hong Kong from 1967 to 1978, as a young Canadian teacher employed by Heep Yunn, an Anglican girls’ school. She then returned to a very different Hong Kong in 1997 to lead the Hong Kong Institute of Education in its upgrading to university level and status. In between she experienced China’s opening up as a teacher at Fudan University in Shanghai from 1980 to 1982, and a more isolated China during the difficult period from 1989 to 1991 when she served as Cultural Attaché in the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. Through these experiences of dramatic change came an ever deeper engagement with Chinese culture, which has kept her active in teaching and research about Chinese education over a period of 50 years and given her a vision of what it can bring to a global world. She thus focuses on the stories of individuals whose strength of spirit enabled them to deal with integrity, courage and grace through times of extreme pressure and geopolitical conflict.

Keywords:Chinese culture; encounters; geopolitics; dialogue; resilience