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[2019/07/29] Outstanding alumni Lian Jia En: Taiwan needs more talented individuals who act like pirates

Lian Jia En shares his unorthodox life experiences, motivating students to be have the courage to break through traditional boundaries


It is June, the month of graduation. National Yang Ming University International Health Program invited Lian Jia En, whom has spent many years practicing medicine in Africa, back to Taiwan. In his speech in front of all the students, he encouraged every student to become a “pirate”, because such a person is someone who is ready to break through the walls that have been formed by custom.


During Lian Jia En’s short visit back to Taiwan, not only was he invited to give a speech at National Yang Ming University, but also was invited by Principle Guan of National Taiwan University as this year’s National Taiwan University graduation commencement speaker. In his commencement speech, he ended with a quote from a Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard “Life can only be understood backwards but it must be live forward” as an encouragement for the graduates.


Lian Jia En is a graduate of the class of 2001 from National Yang Ming University. He was also Taiwan’s first diplomatic substitute military services recruit to go to Burkina Faso. During his service, he helped dig wells, built schools, and later went on to South Africa to help expand Taiwan’s foreign medical service. Lian and his wife Gao Li Ting, who graduated from National Yang Ming University Faculty of Nursing, have spent many years volunteering in Africa, which has become a story known to many. Lian has done volunteer work, been a family doctor, been a doctor in preventative medicine, and acted as a diplomat; he is now currently a doctoral student at Harvard University. Lian shared his unorthodox life experiences in the hope that they will motivate more students to breakthrough away from classical beliefs.



  Alumni Lian Jia En’s presentation attracted many students and teachers


Lian Jia En remarked: “I recall the choice I made to go to Africa. When I returned to Taiwan, I realized many of my fellow classmates were already Chief Residents and I had only just begun my residency training. On the same medical journey, I was already five years behind my classmates. However, my classmates told me if I had selected an ordinary life, it would not have been as fruitful as it is now.”


Lian Jia En remarked: “Life is like a journey that sometimes does not seem to be linear. However, because of this we must strive to develop five attributes. These are: the ability to change and adapt to diverse fields, the ability to carry out cross-field communication, the ability to present a story, the ability to solve difficult problems, and the ability to identify a clear goal. These five attributes all depend on the cultivation of a non linear career. Thus, I encourage all students to not be afraid of being different from others.”


Lian Jia En referred to the book, Rebel Talent, which he studied whilst attending Harvard Business School, and in which it is stated that rebelling is not always a negative; it can also be a synonym for innovation. He said: “Taiwan needs rebellious pirates, and not acquiescent guardians. Pirates have the characteristics of being a rebel against authority and of not being afraid of fighting against accepted customs; they are brave, challenge borders and open new doors to a brighter future.”


Lian Jia En alumni with teachers and students after the presentation