Citations and Speeches


112th Congregation (1981)

C.B.E., Chev.Leg.d』Hon., Officier de l』Ordre de Léopold., J.P.

The Public Orator Dr. Arnold Chia-Loh Hsieh, B.SC., M.D., D.SC., wrote and delivered the following citation:

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present Horace Kadoorie for the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa.

The Kadoorie family has been prominent in the affairs of Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai for over one hundred years. Their philanthropy has found expression in the form of hospitals, schools and agricultural colleges built in Turkey, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, India and Nepal as well as cities along the China coast. The family is thus internationally known. But being a Kadoorie presents problems of identity for outsiders in general and Public Orators in particular. As a student at Sir Ellis Kadoorie School in Shanghai who really should have known better, I had, for quite a few years, thought that Sir Elly, the father of our graduand, was Sir Ellis with his name misspelt. Upon arriving in Hong Kong in 1947 I again found it difficult to differentiate between the two brothers of the second generation. Horace is, of course, the quiet one. But in their community service and philanthropic activities the brothers have worked with a single mind. Indeed, when Sir Lawrence Kadoorie was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1961, the then Public Orator found it necessary to mention Horace no less than five times. This gave the impression that the University was getting two for the price of one.

Horace Kadoorie was born in London on September 28, 1902 and was educated at Cathedral School, Shanghai, Ascham St. Vincents, Eastbourne, and Clifton College, Bristol. Joining his father's business in Shanghai, he followed the family tradition of practical philanthropy. He was for many years President of the Jewish School which was regarded as the best in Shanghai. It was in Shanghai that he formed a committee to cafe for the needs of 20,000 refugees who arrived from Central Europe and learned how to help refugees on a grand scale. This experience was to serve him well in Hong Kong in the early 1950s.

In the years immediately following the Second World War, many New Territories farmers and the majority of the refugees that crowded into Hong Kong were destitute - they possessed no capital or savings to either commence or carry on their livelihood of working the land. Having lost all they had during the war, the Kadoories were well aware of the problem. They had been blessed in having friends and a reputation which enabled them to make a new start. Their success became an obligation to help the less fortunate and friendless. Their concern led to the formation of the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association on September 28, 1951 - a fitting forty ninth birthday celebration for one to whom helping his fellow men has become an obsession.

The aim of the Association has been to provide assistance, encouragement and a mental outlook which enables the recipient to take advantage of the fruit of his labour. The activities of the Association are now divided into three main channels: (1) Gifts in kind; (2) Free or low interest loans through the Loan Fund established under the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund Ordinance of 1955; and (3) Technical assistance through the Experimental and Extension Farm. Gifts in kind have been backed by substantial grants to enable the building of roads and paths, irrigation channels and wells, retaining walls and bridges and a whole host of other constructions vital to the prosperity and progress of villages. Besides improving public facilities, these projects have given villagers the pride and satisfaction of jobs completed through community effort and cooperation. Gifts to individuals have ranged from cows and pigs, ducks and chickens, to raincoats and artificial limbs.

Mr. Chancellor, because the Kadoorie brothers have always shared the same bank account, there has been a rumour that there is a friendly competition to see if brother Horace can give away as much money from the account as brother Lawrence puts into it. This is quite untrue. Horace Kadoorie is a successful businessman in his own right. In his spare time, he is chairman or director of at least fifteen important companies. The fact is he just thinks that it is more fun helping those less fortunate than he is. And what great fun he has had! Since 1951 over 300,000 people in over 1,200 villages have benefited from his activities. Through the Experimental Farm new strains of pigs, chickens and ducks have been introduced to the New Territories and even far away Nepal. Since 1968, over 3,000 Gurkhas have been trained in farming and animal husbandry. It is no doubt possible to put a price on the gifts and come to a sum of many, many millions of dollars. But this has never been done. Besides, how can one deter-mine the dollar value of restored pride and self-respect, renewed hope and happiness? Maimonides, the twelfth century philosopher and teacher preached that 'the highest degree of charity is to aid a man in want by entering into partnership with him, or by providing work for him, so that he may become self-supporting'. Horace Kadoorie has taken this advice quite literally. He has regarded each act of aid as a partnership with the recipient. He claims that the success of his programme is due to the nature of the aid given. I am of the opinion that it is really due to his unique personal approach. He has been known to give a cow to a widow for the sole purpose of restoring her social status in her family. His daily visits to his partners have given them a measure of encouragement that no amount of material aid can do on its own. He has arisen at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning to attend to the sick chickens of one of his partners. He has had the pleasure of watching a partner sharing a Coca-Cola with his cow. His Charity has not been in the accepted sense of the word but in the true sense. Mr. Chancellor, Horace Kadoorie has received numerous honours and awards. To name but two of them: he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1962 for practical philanthropy to promote rural welfare; he was honoured by Her Majesty with the C.B.E. in 1976 for his public service. For being a social scientist of the highest order, the University would now like to honour him and I call upon Your Excellency to confer upon Horace Kadoorie in absentia the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa.

Citation written and delivered by Professor Arnold Hsieh Chia Loh, the Public Orator.