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A Lifetime in Academia
An Autobiography by Rayson Huang

By Rayson Huang
December 2000
Hong Kong University Press
ISBN: 962-209-518-6
208 Pages
$33.50 Cloth

After receiving a classical Chinese primary and a bilingual secondary education in his father's school Rayson Huang entered the University of Hong Kong in 1938. The forty-eight years thereafter, except for two short intervals, were spent in studying, teaching, research, and/or administration in universities in Hong Kong, China, Britain, the United States, Singapore and Malaysia. The first of the two intervals, of about a year, came as a result of the fall of Hong Kong to the Japanese in late 1941 when he moved, as a refugee, into Free China and after a spell of school teaching started his career in a university in Kweilin. The second interval, lasting some six months, was spent making his way by land, air, and sea via Chungking the war-time capital in China's hinterland, and India, to England to take up a scholarship awarded him by the Rhodes Trust at Oxford. The last seventeen years of his working life were taken up serving as vice-chancellor of Nanyang University, the controversial Chinese university in Singapore, and of Hong Kong University. This autobiography records Rayson Huang's diverse university experience of a half century. It also gives an account of the siege of Hong Kong and life in war-torn China and of two bodies on which he later served: the Legislative Council in Hong Kong and Beijing's Drafting Committee which formulated a Basic Law for the territory after its return to China in 1997.