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Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA

Dr Raymond Cheng,
Chief Editor and Founding Contributor

Photo courtesy of
Andrew Wong


Raymond Cheng awarded Fellowship of the RSA, Royal Society of Arts, July 2013

Raymond Cheng elected Fellow of the BCS, British Computer Society, September 2013

About this site

Welcome to the Commentary.com website!  First launched in 1997, this website now carries not only articles, findings of selected research projects we carried out, but also selected articles from many of our honorable guest contributors. It still, as before, carries daily updated links to handpicked news articles on the fight against corruption, bribery and graft, socioeconomic and political development, peaceful movements, language, culture, identity and ideology, plus other information from various fields related to Asia and the Pacific region (and beyond, gradually and naturally) that either interests me and my contributors, our volunteers, my students, and anyone around me.

Early days: How it all started

In 1997, the sovereignty of the former British colony, Hong Kong, was handed over to the Chinese Communists and everyone living in this small place was unsure as to what was going to happen in the days to come. People, including myself, were eager to either look around for signs or learn more about the mysterious sovereign state, and this not-for-profit Internet-based project was originally designed and initiated just to meet this need.

But, why not create our own future when we are desperately resisting change? So in 1999, I took another step and reshaped the project into a computer-based training of Internet surfing skills. The training aimed at opening the minds of graduating high school students in China, i.e. the upcoming generation – particularly on how they can, through reading English news from the Internet like using a spyglass, get to know the real world first-hand with minimum bias from pro-government propaganda [1]. With the help of the Rotary Club of Peninsula Sunrise and officers of the local Salvation Army, the project was eventually approved and endorsed by the Publicity and Education Office of the Liao Bu Township Government in the Province of Guangdong. The project, later named the Best Computer Project of the Year (2000), won me something much bigger – a group of over 50 learners, some of whom later became volunteers and devoted their precious time and priceless efforts to collaborate on the project.

Since Millennium: News picks added

In 2001, with newly added volunteer help, the website was redesigned to include handpicked international news, technology alerts and business headlines. And since March 2004, we started to compile and maintain our own database of major news headlines (as part of a plan in constructing our own news corpus for future research and development purposes). Selected links to interesting commentary articles were also included for the first time.

Diversifying and specializing

As time went by, the focus of the project gradually shifted to include other interesting information as well, ranging from political theories, history of government administration to just anything we find inspiring or believe to be thought-provoking (political, socioeconomic, behavioral or phenomenal, etc), local and international. We also started to work, since 2005, on our own projects. Throughout these projects, we applied language skills and linguistics theories as well as various statistical and computational concepts, using alternative perspectives, in attempts to study (or review) international business, corruption and the socioeconomy. And over the years we did manage to gather a number of like-minded people and as of 2009, our number of active online participants (including volunteers and contributors) reached well over 700 (so we know we're probably doing the right thing). As of December 2011, the website accumulated an approximate 50,000+ news links, commentary related files, and various research articles with approximately 150,000+ of monthly impressions. We now also have guest contributors from the United States, the U.K., to Pakistan, to Russia and even to as far as Abuja, Nigeria in West Africa.

Friends from around the world
Friends from around the world [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Public awareness

Our next goal with this project is simple: To further arouse public awareness among English reading Asians (especially students) in understanding and finding truth using what we called – The First Principle – that is, looking for truth using language and numbers. We believe that since our world comprises of human beings (regardless of race) and that our society is built upon values, beliefs and norms that are all closely related to the language, insights to contemporary issues in our society should have roots or be reflected somewhere in the people's language, with the choice of their words, or through the words' changing meanings. Our insights have gradually become blurred probably because very few of us can afford the luxury to slow down, gather, compile, compute, and analyze the information around us (through navigating in the web of news) and look back onto this tumultuous world – a sad fact distinctive not only to the Greater China region but probably also around Asia, where second language proficiency is often not developed with analytical skills and that fake and misleading statistics are just everywhere.

Meanwhile, we also envisage that we would be able to show to people not only how powerful the new pen-calculator duo could be but also help them once again realize the beauty of how our ancestors had comfortably sat back, blissfully read between lines, quietly analyzed and patiently solved, with supreme wisdom and great insights, the most complicated headaches of their times – a practical virtue slowing disappearing, much less appreciated, and eventually forgotten among the recent quick-fix generations.

After all, language and numbers are not just alphabets and numerals. They are imaginary links and crucial patterns of evidence toward the study of the forensics of the human society.

Upcoming actions!

As a result, we have to move onto another level of action. Since 2010, we have brought over the way we see (corpus) linguistics and statistics as tools for analyzing contemporary affairs into different university level courses, undergraduate and graduate (see below for details). We encourage students to work out their own unique ways of seeing global (and historical) trends through the study of and their own perception toward language, patterns and representations, both textual and visual. And as a consequence we plan to expand on the use of social media to help cater for more multimodal (multimedia) content that could produce not only better results for readers in pursuit of truth but also overcome the language barrier among the peoples in the Asia Pacific. As of August 2012, we are slowly diversifying and dividing our pages into regional sections, namely, Hong Kong and Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, Vietnam, Pakistan, New Zealand and the Philippines. We are looking at achieving not just wider readership but the actual spread of this concept of using language and numbers in the quest for truth. Again, there is no better weapon against social issues, e.g. inequality, social injustice or even tyranny, than knowing where and how to find the truth.

Our wishlist

Three things: First, for myself, I hope to convert my years of study into something readily useful and practically inspiring. In addition to the general reader, I wish to assist policy makers, public administrators, and anti-graft agents to formulate better anti-corruption and social policies through understanding social trends with language and numbers. We also hope, by revealing the possible connection between the effectiveness of public policies and changing semantic prosody of our everyday language, governments (and NGOs or even businesses) will be able to benefit in the sense that they can look and plan ahead of time before undesirable public response surface – hence bringing people a better and more harmonious society. fingers crossed Second, the world we see is in constant chaos and people are bombarded with all sorts of information everyday. We hope to make use of this website – particularly the sections on the chronicles, the special topics as well as the brief regional commentaries – to help readers navigate through today's information maze and reveal what we believe is true and righteous (and that's also exactly why we have chosen to use the 'fingers crossed' gesture to be the icon of this website – our world needs lots of blessings and we need to advocate non-violence, non-hatred, peaceful causes). Third, we hope to make new friends and meet with like-minded people so that the "we" here becomes a much bigger "We". We believe that a better future can only be built through the collective effort and wisdom of everyone on this planet – the small "we" alone simply doesn't help much if we work against each together.

Meeting friends from Zambia
Meeting friends from Zambia

Why are some sections password-protected?

Since this is not a commercial website, access to those password-protected sections is by invitation only. This website does not offer any paid subscription services, sorry. You can, if you are interested and motivated, become one of our contributors (or guest contributors) instead – please email me to discuss. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Can I put my articles on your website too?

If you believe you share with me similar ideas (it doesn't have to and can't possibly be identical, just similar), I would certainly love to open a section for you (as a contributor). However, if you think you hold completely different views and that they clash head-on with my belief, I would also welcome you to share with us here. I am always open to new ideas and concepts and my only bottomline is that I want this website be professionally maintained for our readers and that the discussions here would be logical, reasonable and inspiring, if not visionary. Radical, impolite or aggressive comments are simply not welcomed. So, please do email me to discuss if you are interested.

Now, a little about me...

Raymond Cheng on CNN
On CNN BizAsia

I am a business process analyst and have been working in the business intelligence industry for the last 20 years (mainly on e-commerce and I.T. related projects). I am an Oxford University alumni in computing (software engineering), an adjunct professor in international business, marketing and communications [2a] and a visiting lecturer in applied language science [2b].

Currently, I am working as an Assistant Professor in the School of Humanities and Languages, Caritas Institute of Higher Education.

Previously affiliated with the Hong Kong Liberal Party [3a] [3b], I also work as an independent commentator, a policy analyst as well as a language and cultural briefing consultant [3c]. I have studied in Hongkong, the UK, the USA, Philippines and India, and I am still working slowly on my post-doctoral research certificate in AEA, i.e. assessment, evaluation, and accountability, at Walden University, Minneapolis (MN). Meanwhile, I maintain memberships with the following professional societies:

  • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts, UK
  • Fellow, Royal Society for Public Health, UK
  • Fellow, British Computer Society – Chartered Institute for I.T., UK
  • Fellow Member, Hong Kong Institute of Directors
  • Professional Logistician (PLog), Canada
  • Chartered Member (CMILT) – Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (Singapore National Council)
  • Chartered Linguist (CL) in Business, Professions & Government – Chartered Institute of Linguists, UK
  • Member, Chartered Institute of Linguists, UK

In 2013, I had the honor to be awarded the FRSA, i.e. Fellowship of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, UK (aka Royal Society of Arts, UK – for brevity) in recognition for my continuous work in the betterment of the human society through information technology. I was also, in the year 2013, elected an FBCS, i.e. a Fellow of the British Computer Society. The FBCS is the highest grade of membership the society bestows and is considered a great honor [4] in the profession. I have been a professional grade member with the BCS since 2004.

I also have an early background in electronics and electrical engineering (from the 1990s) which I am still keeping it as a hobby. I am a licensed amateur radio station operator [5] and love reading stuff on vehicular technology (especially on EVs, i.e. electric vehicles). I like going to movies, learning about various cultures, health and wellness [6] and playing with my Shih Tzu, Lucky.

Dr Raymond Cheng, FRSA

DipCrimJust AdvDip PGCert(CorruptionStud) PGCMRDA PGDMRCH

MBA MSCJA CAGS(eBusiness) PhD(Engineering Management) DPA DHum(Hon)


Founder, Commentary.com
Public domain project by the Office of Dr Raymond Cheng
raymond {dot} cheng {at} kellogg {dot} oxon {dot} org

View Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA FRSPH FBCS's profile on LinkedIn Follow me on Twitter Friend me on Facebook Follow me on Pinterest

P.S.: For those who are interested in complementary and alternative medicine, I also maintain a separate website dedicated to fundamental theories of TCM, traditional Chinese medicine.

Photo with PhD students from Vietnam
I constantly help supervise and advise on a number of doctoral research projects for students in Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the USA. Students can look up and compare their progress with other fellow students by logging in below (password required).

BSU/TSU | Sinh viên Việt | AeU | UMT | PolyU | CUW

Note 1: For those of you who are familiar with the enormous scale of pro-government propaganda as well as the issue of censorship in China (especially Internet censorship, also known to the world as the Great Firewall of China), our old motto reflected the sad fact that if you want to speak the truth (and avoid the authorities) in China, you have to do so in a language other than Chinese – it also implied the political reality that government officials who were in charge of censorship in China (particularly in those days) seemed to care less about (or even ignore) opinion statements made in English.

Note 2a: I have been teaching for Concordia University Wisconsin's Global MBA programme (since 2011) in the modules: International Business, International Marketing, and Human Resources Management – see http://www.cuw.edu/ as well as for the Bulacan State University's BS in Business Administration programme (since 2008) in Hong Kong. I also supervise doctoral students studying in Bulacan State's PhD business administration and DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) programmes, see http://www.bulsu.edu.ph/, Asia e University's PhD business administration (distance-learning) programme, see http://www.aeu.edu.my/, as well as the DBA programme at UMT, the University of Management and Technology, Arlington (VA) in Hong Kong, see http://www.umt.edu.hk/

Note 2b: I am also a Visiting Lecturer teaching New Media for the DALS (i.e. Doctor of Applied Language Science) programme and in the BA(Hons) in Chinese and Bilingual Studies programme, specifically for the subject, Glocalization and Corporate Communication, at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, see http://www.polyu.edu.hk/

Note 3a: The Liberal Party of Hong Kong is a centre-right, pro-Beijing (previously pro-UK before the Handover of Hong Kong in 1997) political party known for its conservative and business-friendly policies. It supports a small government, low taxes, laissez-faire capitalism, and a high degree of economic freedom (also positive non-intervention, but only previously). The party has remained neutral over controverial social issues such as universal suffrage. It is not a traditional libertarian party but is one with libertarian economic policies such as the opposition of minimum wage, collective bargaining and antitrust legislation. See http://www.liberal.org.hk/

Note 3b: Personally, I have gradually changed, over the last 20 years, from a mild center-right liberal to a more democrat or pragmatic, business liberal, but never a far-right nor a radical leftist. I have to emphasize, however, that I am still a believer of most liberal (center-right) concepts, for instance, I believe in a relatively small government, low tax rates, and a balanced mode of ownership of the means of production (between the private enterprises and the state) – having that said, I am clearly not a communist.

Note 3c: Personally, I have a passion for studying historical language trends. I am a professionally qualified language consultant as well as a Full Member (MCIL) with the Chartered Institute of Linguists UK. Check out my listing on the CIoL Find-a-Lingust page at http://www.ciol.org.uk/index.php?option=com_civicrm&task=civicrm/profile/view&reset=1&id=30099&gid=22&rid=1918&type=4

Note 4: The British Computer Society, BCS – also known as The Chartered Institute for Information Technology UK, is undeniably one of the world's two largest professional societies for computer scientists and information technology specialists. Founded in 1957, the society has more than 71,000 members in over 100 countries. Of all its members worldwide, less than 5% are elected to the rank of the Fellow (FBCS) and the grade of Fellowship comprises the most senior and respected professionals in the field of information technology. You can also find my BCS fellowship listing at http://wam.bcs.org/wam/memberdirectory.aspx?letter=C&grade=FBCS.

Note 5: I have been a Member (MIEEE) with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers USA since 1992 and a licensed amateur radio station operator in Hong Kong since 1999. You might occasionally find me on narrowband FM (2-metre band, if you know what this means), usually near 145.68MHz CTCSS 110.9Hz, callsign VR2YFC.

Note 6: While I love reading a wide variety of books, I read also on topics related to TCM, i.e. traditional Chinese medicine, as well as in CAM, i.e. complementary and alternative medicine – in fact, I come from a family with a long history of Chinese medicine and I also maintain another website dedicated to TCM, see http://www.tcmbasics.com/