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“Giving back to my hometown with what I’ve learned in my life” - Prof Ming-Chuen Yip, Expert on Mechanics of Materials
Source: My UM
Born and raised in Macao, Ming-Chuen Yip first studied at Taiwan University (NTU) and then headed to America for further academic pursuit, after graduating from Macao Ricci High School. Having served as the vice rector and head of student affairs of Tsing Hua University for more than three decades, Yip decided to return to his home city, Macao, and took up the new post of the master of Lui Che Woo College at
UM. After spending half his life overseas, why did Yip choose to return home? “After all, this is where I grew up and it’s my pleasure to be invited to contribute to my birthplace,” he said.
Witnessing UM’s Growth
On the day of our interview, Prof Yip just came back to Macao and had a very tight schedule. He was busy preparing for the start of the new semester and had to fly back to Taiwan the following day. Pushing seventy, Prof Yip still works tirelessly and is devoted as ever to nurturing the young, despite the fact that he can choose to retire. As to why he chose to work with UM, he said, “I’ve seen how the new campus has grown from just a wasteland when the groundbreaking ceremony took place to what
it is now, with so many extraordinary buildings becoming operational. I believe that the campus will reach a new level in the next decade and thus I wish to help and be part of the transformation,” Yip explained.
Breaking out of Cocoon after Years of Obstacles
Growing up in a not-so-rich family, Prof Yip graduated from Ricci High School in 1968 when there were no universities in Macao, so going abroad for further studies eemed the only option. Unfortunately, his family could not support him financially to study overseas at that time, so he finally chose NTU in the nearby Taiwan, majoring in Civil
Engineering. “My parents could not afford my tuition and living expenses. So in order to continue my studies, I deferred enrolment for one year and went to Hong Kong first to earn some money,” he said. “Luckily I gained subsidy from a local church in Macao and that allowed me to concentrate on my studies.” Yip points out that life at that time was very tough, but he managed to get through it, and that experience made him stronger and prepared him for any adversities to come.
Killing Stress through Exercise
Prof Yip was on several campus sports teams when he was in college. “Exercise made me stronger and helped me to relieve stress at study and make a lot of good friends.” To this day he still exercises regularly. No wonder he looks so healthy and speaks in a well-balanced voice. “Students are not only expected to absorb knowledge from the courses the university offers but also have to learn to be well-rounded people.
If they only know how to study but ignore their interpersonal skills, knowing nothing about team spirit, then it would be disastrous in terms of their future careers,” he stressed. Therefore, Prof Yip encourages the students in his college to participate in sports and team-building activities. “It’ll be beneficial to their interpersonal relationships and life planning. One will not go far in his or her career if one acquires no skills in working with others, regardless of how outstanding his or her academic performances are.”
Travelling to over 30 Countries
After graduating from NTU, Prof Yip went to the United States for further studies. During his five-year stay in the US, he travelled around the country and enjoyed life with his beloved wife in his spare time. The couple has been to more than ten big cities in the US. After returning to Taiwan, his passion for travel never diminished. Prof Yip keeps traveling around the globe whenever he gets a chance and so far he has been to over 30 countries. “We can broaden our horizons by travelling and learn about different cultures.” When he was living abroad, Prof Yip often thought of Macao, particularly of his childhood in the old Macao – those adventures with his classmates and the simple lives people led. “That sense of authenticity of Macao and its cultural aura are gone with the passage of time. And I feel nostalgic.”
Guiding Students with His Life Experiences
After obtaining a doctorate in the US, Prof Yip had no intention of returning to Macao. “In the year of 1979 I didn’t know what kind of job in Macao could possibly need or fit someone with a doctorate.” Thus Yip opted for Tsing Hua University and began his teaching career there. For the past 36 years, Prof Yip has worked in various positions at Tsing Hua University, including dean of student affairs, department head, dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, general director, chief secretary, vice rector, and he has received a distinguished teaching award for a number of times as well as an eminent service award. Not until ten years ago when he came into contact with UM did he realize the prospect of the campus. Since then he has always wanted to work with UM and be part of the team. “I wish to bring what I’ve learn so far in life to my hometown students, helping them grow.” With great hopes and expectations, he said, “I’ll come more often and interact with the students on the campus, and that will make me feel younger.”
Inspiring Students to Be Far-sighted
Opportunities abound for today’s university graduates, with Macao having gone a long way, evolving from a small fishing village into today’s internationally known multicultural city. Prof Yip also encourages students to seize the chance to connect to the world, look a little bit further, and prepare themselves for any challenges ahead. “Don’t let go of any opportunities to learn. Young people should not be overwhelmed or distracted by short-term temptations, or else they’ll be regretful when they look back 10 or 20 years later.”