If there is anything world-class about our universities, it's the pay and perks they give their senior professors and presidents. Just as the furore over Polytechnic University president Poon Chung-kwong's (top) $350,000-plus monthly take-home pay is dying down, we learn this week that Baptist University head Ng Ching-fai (bottom) authorised spending $3.2 million on renovations last year before he moved into his 3,000 sq ft, three-storey residence in Kowloon Tong, owned by his institution. Yes, $3.2 million - that's enough to buy a decent 600 sq ft second-hand flat in a good neighbourhood, but that obviously is not big enough for our academic leader. Interestingly enough, our universities pay full professors an average of $100,000 a month, according to a recent survey by two labour unions, while their counterparts at Oxford and Cambridge universities make a meagre $52,000 to $67,700. Just imagine, Hong Kong's senior scholars are paid as a matter of course one third more than some of the greatest thinkers our age can boast - I mean intellectual giants like Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins, the Oxford biologist and science writer who has revolutionised our view on genes and behaviour. So where are Hong Kong's Newtons and Einsteins, Watsons and Cricks? But then who am I to ask? I don't have a PhD.