Hotel tycoon says Taiwan needs more ‘doers’

Hotel tycoon says Taiwan needs more ‘doers’
Saturday, May 10, 2014
By John Liu ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — In a speech given at Academia Sinica yesterday, five-star hotel president Stanley Yen (嚴長壽) pointed out that Taiwan needs more “doers” and has a great need for public servants with international perspectives.

Stanley Yen, the president of five-star The Landis Taipei Hotel, was invited to Academia Sinica’s quarterly conference yesterday to give a keynote speech titled “leverage to change Taiwan.”

The speech was attended by Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and former President and 1986 Nobel Prize laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), among others.

Taiwan has unparalleled cultural heritage among Chinese-speaking countries, Yen said, adding that despite being isolated in the international community, Taiwan has created economic miracles and established a liberal democratic system.

With a population of a mere 23 million, Taiwan should not compare itself with big nations. Instead, Taiwan should model itself after Switzerland and Denmark and aim to enhance its cultural advantage, Yen said.

Taiwan does not Lack Critics

Many locals have recently lashed out against the government for ineffective governance, Yen said, adding that he himself has also been guilty of lashing out criticisms. Yen said that Taiwan does not lack critics or those who are able to see problems. What Taiwan lacks are those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and execute to achieve success in their fields, he said.

In regard to the recent student protests, Yen said that he understands students’ worries, but whether their means of expression was appropriate is debatable. He added that students should not take all the blame for resorting to violent means, for adults in Taiwan have done so themselves. Lawmakers set an example by forcibly occupying the speaker’s seat in the Legislative Yuan. Teaching respect is what Taiwan’s education system dearly needs, Yen said, adding that this requires efforts from teachers as well as parents.

Need People with Global Perspectives

Yen also expressed his concern for Taiwan’s lack of “global perspectives.” Some officials regard legislative sessions as more important than international meetings, Yen said, adding that “this just shows you where (their) priorities lie.” In another instance, when an ambassador receives his nationals more eagerly than local officials, “it tells you what kind of role he plays,” Yen said.

Many of Taiwan’s limited resources are expended on “internal affairs,” Yen said, adding that this is an incredulous phenomenon. Even when Taiwan has a deep pocket, it fails to recognize the most pressing danger, which is that Taiwan has not cultivated public servants with global perspectives. Taiwan must jump out of its traditional thinking, Yen said.

In his speech, Yen also referred to the highway system to illuminate Taiwan’s democracy. In Germany, there is no speed limit on highways, he said. This, however, is based on trust and “tacit agreement” where people are willing to follow the rules. And this is exactly what Taiwan’s politics lack. With the same system, without trust and tacit agreement, Taiwan’s democracy and society are bound to meet challenges, he said.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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