By Foo Ming Li
Developing a mutually respectful relationship with another institution or organisation could be helpful in creating a beneficial future for complementing parties. A fine example of this scenario is the partnership between Han Chiang University College of Communication (HCUC) and Consulate General of People’s Republic of China in Penang.
The Centre of China Studies was established by the Consulate General of People’s Republic of China in Penang and Han Chiang Board of Directors during an inauguration ceremony at HCUC on August 25, 2019.
During the inauguration ceremony, Chinese Consul General Lu Shiwei in his speech emphasised that the Centre of China Studies functions primarily as a platform for local and international scholars to establish connections and communication for the purposes of researching, editing, and publishing relevant academic writings to facilitate the relationship between HCUC and other overseas universities as well as China.
Further, Lu adds that the establishment of the Centre of China Studies will enable HCUC students and scholars to conduct research on contemporary Chinese history, literature, and notable overseas Chinese figures to fill the research vacuum in contemporary Chinese studies as it may play a prominent role in promoting Chinese studies throughout Malaysia.
HCUC School of Chinese Studies Dean, Dr Yeoh Kim Chuan said the Chinese Consul General had suggested to the Han Chiang Board of Directors to build a Chinese studies research centre in the campus in May 2019. Heeding the suggestion, Han Chiang Board of Directors decided to renovate the existing Chinese Studies Resources Room into the Centre of China Studies.
“The Board of Directors had spent RM20,000 to upgrade the facility which sees the installation of new air-conditioners, book shelves, and changes of lights for a comfortable working environment for the students,” he said.
Dr Yeoh said the Centre of China Studies functions as a multi-purpose room where lecturers can also utilise the space to conduct classes or workshops.
He said the future plan for the Centre of China Studies is introducing it as an academic resources room and facilities to the School of Chinese Studies postgraduate programme students.
On October 15, 2019 before the renovation began, the Chinese Consulate General donated 700 books worth RM70,000 from Xin Zhi Bookstore in Kuala Lumpur covering topics such as Chinese culture, philosophy, art and history to the Centre of China Studies.
“The book donation from the Chinese Consulate General is an addition to the existing research resources, increasing the total amount of research resources from 4,300 books to 5,000 books,” he said.
The Chinese Consulate General once again donated RM50,000 to the School of Chinese Studies on December 8, 2020 as the school does not have enough funds to buy new research books due to the pandemic.