Comment at Global Program Farewell Party

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Dear colleagues and students: First of all, please do not think of me leaving you. After all, since we are constantly connected via the social media almost daily if not hourly, the word leaving no longer has any meaning. Having heard all the speeches by everyone, one would get the feeling that the credit of formation and operation of National Tsing Hua Universitys GLOBAL PROGRAM is completely mine, and mine alone. My friends, while I would not deflect all credits from myself, nothing could be further from the truth if the credit were all mine. In fact, if I did not have the hand-in-hand and mindset collaboration from many colleagues, such as those here today, Professor Cheng Chao-Ming, Tien-Sze Fang, Y. Chao and Chi Shin Chang, and the 20 or so bright eye bushy tail (and probably because ignorance is bliss) students willing to take the plunge, there would be no GLOBAL PROGRAM today, I am confident. So, instead of all of you saying such nice words of thanks to me, let me give you my heartfelt thanks for your participation. As an incurable teacher, today is a perfect opportunity to say a few words of advice to all the students. First, pay attention to humor! In my seven years of stay in Taiwan, I have noticed one glaring differences between West and the East, albeit academic, commercial and political and what have you. Of the many talks I heard in Asia, whether it be academic of otherwise and whether they are delivered in Chinese or English, seldom, if any, they were laced with humor. Also, in my opinion, humor is the best quid pro quo in any human interaction. By and large, I think I could conclude that humor is missing in action here. Any speeches without built in humor tend to be boring. Any quid pro quo without humor can be interpreted as unfriendly assault. Humor is an important people-to-people interaction, without which it is difficult to breakdown human barriers. I have a favorite example of quid pro quo humor which I like to share with you here. Two brilliant physicists, one American and the other Israeli, attended an international conference in Verona Italy. As good organizers of the conference, all the participants were treated to a musical feast, a glorious Italian opera Turandot, the night before the conference began. The next morning, the first speaker was the American who was known for his boisterous and aggressive form of presentation. Immediately after the American completely his speech, the Israeli physicist stood up and said listening to you is just like listening to the fantastic singing of Nessun Dorma last night. It is absolutely beautiful and I dont understand a word of it! To me, this incident has one hidden facet. By linking an Italian opera to a physics talk in a way that could be relevant is a highly non-linear extrapolation. By doing so, it manifested that the Israeli has an unusual intellectual bandwidth; something that all people engaging in intellectual pursues should aspire to. It is remarkable that few, if anyone remember what the American said during his speech, but this comment of the Israeli became one of the best lines in the physics community worldwide. I hope in evolving the Global Program you could include how to sharpen you humor skill as one of the primary goals. Second, I hope you would pay close attention to Taiwans position in the world. Having lived in Taiwan for seven years, I have come to the realization that young people in Taiwan are handicapped by virtue of being citizens of this beautiful island. In Real Politik terms, despite the fact that it was for a few decades one of the most important Asian tigers, Taiwan is increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. Here is an example of that isolation. I have often whimsically commented that the most important singular global leader President Ma Ying Jeou gets to meet is the Pope. While meeting the Pope could be a glorious event, it nevertheless lacks the global breadth and depth that a national leader needs to encounter to carry out the leadership job for a nation. Such political isolation is not just confined to President Ma, but to all political leaders in Taiwan. With that, it is truly a tragedy that all leaders in Taiwan were forced to myopically view the world at the bottom of a political well and unable to step out to smell the flowers. So my dear students, while it is beyond your capacity to alter the myopic views of Taiwans political leaders, there are things you can do in not fallen into the same trap. You need to view yourself as citizens of the world, you need to take advantage of being students of one of the best universities in Asia Pacific. Your peers have already done many exciting things in making their understanding of the world broader and deeper. For example, as interns, Alexa Lee went to the Brookings Institute, Ben Lew went to Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and so on and so forth. You could do that, and more! As you do more, I am convinced you will let your enthusiasm of having a global mindset to infect your fellow students. As you move around the world mentally and physically, gaining in wisdom and experiences, do look back and see how Taiwan needs to maneuver in this turbulent and exciting Asia Pacific. In a way, I hope you can be Tsing Huas Globalization Ebola! Let me end by saying that as a teacher, nothing can please me more to see the growth of students in their own manner, to see students develop independent thinking, and to see students gaining confidence. Rome is not built in a day. So friends, start hauling the bricks today. Da Hsuan Feng Senior Vice President, Global Strategy, Planning and Evaluation National Tsing Hua University 資深副校長 馮達旋 教授 (全球策略與企劃研考) 國立清華大學 Facebook URL (welcome to be my friend)

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