International Sinology conference explores cultural frontiers

KUALA LUMPUR: Scholars worldwide specialising in Chinese language and culture studies are set to gather in Malaysia for the International Conference on Sinology scheduled for Oct 28 and Oct 29.

The conference, organised by the Chinese Studies Department at Universiti Malaya (UM), is dedicated to exploring the future of Chinese language and culture studies.

The university’s Alumni Association of the Department of Chinese Studies (Pejati) honorary chairman, Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, announced that 27 scholars from various parts of the world, including the United States, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, would attend the conference.

“Under the theme of ‘60 Years of Educational Endeavour: Enhancing and Innovating Cultural Heritage’, the conference is held in conjunction with the department’s 60th anniversary celebration.

“The conference would examine the future of Chinese studies from multiple perspectives.

“This includes research and teaching in traditional aspects, linguistic studies, philosophy and promoting local Chinese culture,” Chan told reporters at a press conference held at UM yesterday.

Chan, who also serves as the chairman of the 60th anniversary celebration steering committee, said it was important to keep pace with technological advancements and the rapid development of big data in Chinese language learning.

“Regardless of external changes, as technology advances, we must also consider its impact on the younger generation. This is one of the aspects we are addressing.

“Those attending our conference will gain insights into methodologies and international discussions. We will deal with topics such as IT and research in Chinese languages and using big data.

“All these technological advances should not hinder the progress of Chinese studies; instead, we must adapt and apply them to enrich our understanding of the subject further,” he said.

The Chinese Studies Department at UM is one of the oldest in Malaysia. According to statistical data covering the academic years from 1965, the department has produced around 4,000 graduates, including master’s and doctoral students.

These alumni have made significant contributions in various fields of the nation, particularly in culture and education.

In recognition of its profound contributions to Malaysian society and education, the department, in collaboration with Pejati, is organising a series of events to commemorate its 60th anniversary.

The highlight of the celebration would be the conference and a gala dinner, as well as a display of the department’s history and achievement.

Department head associate professor Dr Fan Pik Wah said the international conference allows local scholars to engage with renowned scholars from various countries.

She said most graduates served in the field of education, with the majority being Chinese language teachers.

She said the department plans to introduce Chinese education courses to nurture more Chinese language teaching professionals.

Also present were Pejati chairman Datuk Ng Tong Hai, steering committee vice-secretaries Lee Sek Yui and Dr Florence Kuek Chee Wee, along with committee members Ong Siew Kian and Chen Chun Ping.

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