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Are you just killing time or making your moment?


Are you just killing time or making your moment?

The Department of Health Care Management invited Dr. Jia-en Lian to deliver a speech about his life and journey in Africa at the monthly meeting of the College of Management on the 16th of December 2013. Dr. Lian has resided in Africa for years on a humanitarian mission. Despite the fact that only the sophomore students of the College of Management were invited initially, this legendary speaker, whose story has been included in primary school textbooks, attracted an overwhelmingly number of fans to his speech. Students were keen to learn more about his life, stories and experiences. Dr. Lian led the audience through his journey by showing one photograph after another. His talk gave students an opportunity to hear about his courage and willingness to transform and re-invent himself.

Unlike most of his classmates who couldn’t wait to start their career to make money after they graduated in 2001, Dr. Lian made a decision to embark on a journey to Burkina Faso, a poor country with one of the lowest GDP per capita figures in the world: slightly over $100 back then. He also launched an activity called “Rubbish in Exchange of Second-hand Clothes” to help the poor. Years later, he set foot in Haiti by responding to appeals for humanitarian aid following the catastrophic earthquake in 2010. He has also been to Niger, a country with the second lowest ranking in the world according to the United Nations' Human Development Index, to help those in need. In addition, Dr. Lian also travelled to countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. Through his journey, he came across Taiwan’s medical students who were on an overseas practicum, and like-minded friends. After sharing each other’s stories and experiences, he became more certain than ever of his mission.

When asked about what he got after travelling to these poor countries, Dr. Lian shared with the audience his view of life based on three contrasting dimensions: price versus value, experience versus diploma, and killing time versus making moment. Do we place more importance on price or value when it comes to the quality of life? Is a well-paid job a guarantee to happiness? Are we after meaningfulness or materialism? Which is more important, experience or diploma? Dr. Lian asked the students if they had ever spent eight hours a day doing something for 14 days in a row, excluding their studies. Without taking into account money, possessions, physical comfort, or diploma, how many of us would be willing to do something that we have passion for?

The highlight of his speech came when he encouraged the students to make their moment to enrich their lives, rather than just killing time and living an aimless life. Students were also urged to be brave to try something which may appear foolish but meaningful, to listen to the inner voice coming from the bottom of the heart, and to do less calculation on how much they can get in return. In the years to come when we start to look back on life, these “foolish but meaningful” moments will become something like stars shinning bright in the sky. This is what he meant by making our moment!

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