In the online meeting on 4/13, Dine with Professions invited Taiwanese Ambassador to Singapore Francis K. Liang shared diplomatic career and his experiences, on the theme of "Do you really know the world? - Cross-cultural communication experience".
In his sharing, Ambassador Liang emphasized the importance of cross-cultural collaboration. Through his experience in Singapore, the Netherlands and Miami, he tailor participants to think about how to cope with the differences in values, as well in cultures.
For example, judicial caning is often considered an "inhumane" way of sanctioning human rights. However, in Singapore, the majority of their citizens suggested caning is an efficient way to deter the potential criminal. Another example Ambassador Liang shared with participants is in the Netherlands, by providing free needles and coffee to drug users, releasing the pressure on drug control and decreasing the overall social cost.
The ambassador also shared with us an interesting story of a diplomatic encounter: In terms of love values differences. It’s well known that a high proportion of Dutch people live together rather than marry. There were once Dutch ruling party members who visited Taiwan, one of the members requested to share a room with another member, but they are not in marriage status. Back at that time the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was struggling with how to deal with the unprecedented request.
Finally, to the students' curiosity about becoming a diplomat, whether it is necessary to specialize in a single field. Ambassador Liang suggested the students should develop more cross-disciplinary skills, rather than sticking to a single field/ Language; because more cross-domain/cross-language capabilities will provide more options and advantages for foreign services opportunities.On the other hand, if one only specialize in a single language or skill, the options will be limited, and for a diplomat, specialize too early sometimes set barrier for him/herself to cultivate a worldview through cross-cultural experience. Ambassador Liang also shared that through his experience in signing the Taiwan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement during his tenure in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, he became more familiar with Singapore's culture and national conditions, and was able to get on track easily right after his service.
*Dr. Francis K. Liang is the Taiwanese Ambassador to Singapore. Before his service, he was the chairman of Taiwan External Trade Development Council and Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan. He also has more than 20 years of economics negotiation experience, served as one of the representatives in the Taiwan negotiating team to ECFA and other economic partnership agreements.