All the sweeter for the effort

City talk | Siu Sai-wo 17 Oct 2019

After five years of hard work, Hong Kong Polytechnic University instructor and cultural worker Fan Ling recently acquired her doctoral degree.

Brimming with joy, Fan laughs and says the degree has not come easy, and she can't help but want to share the good news with everyone.

Fan already has a master's degree in media education from an Australian university.

Her doctoral thesis is in comparing the phonetic abilities in learning Putonghua between native speakers in Cantonese and English.

The research, which spanned many years, has been rather arduous. Over the years, Fan has been studying the effects of various factors on language learning and has published many papers on the subject. Among these was a study on teaching Chinese as a foreign language via newspapers on mobile devices.

She has also used mainland film Crazy Stone as a platform to explore the integration of dialects and Putonghua.

Her doctoral thesis, which compared English and Cantonese, was in the same vein as her past researches, reflecting a consistency in scholarly focus.

Apart from teaching, Fan is also active in the cultural circles, writing newspaper columns and taking part in different kinds of exchanges.

That she was able to complete the highly-demanding task of pursuing a doctoral degree while keeping such a hectic schedule shows admirable determination.

It is not uncommon to see doctoral candidates who are working full time failing in their endeavor as they are unable to complete the required research work.

Some say in academic pursuits, women appear to display greater perseverance and resoluteness than their male counterparts. I think Fan's achievements are an example of that observation.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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