Taiwanese Students Need to Step Out Their Comfort Zone: Frederick Hsia
Tainan, Taiwan, July 28th, 2011 The younger generation in Taiwan today is too comfortable in their small world and must connect with the larger world, a scholar said. Frederick Hsia made his remarks in his article “Blue and Gray”, which was carried in a recent issue of Spring of Mind published by the Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School. According to Hsia, a visiting professor from the Department of Hydraulic and Ocean Engineering at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), Westerners seem to be more adventurous than their Oriental counterparts, as they have discovered the new world, traveled around the globe, conquered the South and North Poles, climbed the Everest, entered outer space and landed on the Moon in the past centuries. Taking the famed 15th-century Chinese explorer Zheng He for example -- he led 240 ships to the West in 1405 but never crossed the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean or the Atlantic, even though the number of his ships was far greater than the 3 ships led by Christopher Columbus, who discovered America in 1492. “Suspecting the world was flat, Zheng He feared the crew might sail to the end of the world and go down a waterfall,” Hsia pointed out. “The adventurous spirit is still lacking in Taiwan’s youth 600 years after Zheng He.” He has observed that the number of exchange students form mainland China in the United States is greater than those from Taiwan and the scholarship the Chinese students have received is also higher than that awarded to the Taiwanese students in the last 15 years. To broaden and strengthen their perspective and competitiveness, Hsia suggested that students in Taiwan choose their major and university based on career opportunities, personal interest, special talent, the industry’s impression of the university, the learning and living environment and development training, in whichever order that suits them best. “As I often say to my students, the greatest danger in life is not taking risks,” said Hsia, who left home at the age of 17 to study at NCKU. “Students should not sacrifice their future for something convenient and easy.” His article “Blue and Gray” has received enthusiastic responses from NCKU President Hwung-Hweng Hwung, NTHU President Lih-Juann Chen, NCTU President Yan-Hwa Wu as well as three students from Taiwan, mainland China and the United Kingdom, whose views are also published in the same issue of Spring of Mind.